If you have decided to divorce in the Midwest, you will need legal counsel. A competent Midwest divorce attorney will save you time, money, and stress during the process. They can also guide you to a more favorable result than you could have secured on your own. It’s vital to understand the value of the reliable legal representation as you approach your divorce. Attempting to handle it yourself or choosing the wrong attorney can compound the stress and frustration that the divorce process usually entails.
Some people make the mistake of believing that hiring a divorce attorney only matters in a high net worth divorce case or when their spouse is unwilling to compromise. Even if you and your spouse are perfectly reasonable and willing to negotiate, you still need legal representation to look out for your best interests throughout your divorce proceedings.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
You are more likely to secure a favorable result in your divorce when you have legal representation on your side. Your attorney will look out for your best interests through every phase of the process. They will help you make more informed decisions about the terms of your divorce. Many people approach a divorce with a “get it over with” mentality. This type of thinking can lead to revisiting the divorce in the future to adjust the terms.
An experienced attorney can streamline your divorce proceedings significantly, ultimately reducing the total cost of your divorce. Ending a marriage is typically very expensive and involves long-term financial implications, so hiring legal counsel at the outset can reduce the financial impact of your divorce.
Finally, an experienced Midwest divorce attorney will know the legal statutes likely to come into play as your divorce unfolds. They will assist with the preparation for these issues. Every divorce is unique, and having experienced legal counsel on your side who can accurately identify the challenges and opportunities you are likely to face is incredibly valuable for anyone in this situation.
Finding a Divorce Attorney
While you should not wait to secure legal counsel for your divorce, you should not rush the decision either. Talk to friends, coworkers, neighbors, and relatives and ask them for their personal recommendations if they have recently divorced. You can also research local lawyers in your area and find those with the best reviews from past clients. Be sure to look at testimonials published on attorneys’ websites as well as reviews on third-party sites. Look for patterns and trends from past clients to determine how easy it should be to work with an attorney. Then, try to develop a list of a few potential candidates for representation.
Once you have narrowed your options down to a few attorneys who inspire the most confidence, start arranging consultations. A consultation allows you to interview the attorneys personally. It is a low-cost meeting with an attorney that allows them to evaluate the merits of your case. Simultaneously, you can evaluate their suitability to represent you.
Questions to Ask During a Consultation
Remember to treat your consultation like an interview. Develop a list of questions to ask a potential lawyer to help you understand their legal philosophy and how they intend to approach your case. Consider a few examples of crucial questions you should ask a potential attorney before agreeing to their legal services:
- “How long have you practiced family law?” Experience is one of the most important factors to consider when hiring an attorney for any reason.
- “How much do you charge?” Find out how the attorney bills their time and services and how long they expect your case to take. This will give you an idea of how much your legal fees will cost.
- “Do you notice anything unique about my divorce case?” An experienced divorce attorney should be able to quickly identify the challenges and opportunities your case presents.
- “How will you approach my case?” Find out whether the attorney will help you pursue mediation or if they believe litigation offers the best chance of a positive outcome in your divorce.
- “What type of outcome do you expect from my divorce?” It’s not uncommon for people beginning the divorce process to hold unrealistic expectations about how their divorces will unfold.
These examples should help you start your list of questions. Be sure to add more questions that are specific to your unique situation. Once you have had consultations with your top divorce attorneys, you should be ready to decide which one you want to hire.
What to Expect From a Good Divorce Attorney
Once you hire a Midwest divorce attorney, they should begin working on your case right away. One of the most important early concerns of any divorce case is financial disclosure. You and your spouse need to provide complete and accurate financial records to reach a reasonably fair outcome. Your attorney will assist you with this process, and will likely uncover financial issues that were mistakenly overlooked.
Next, your attorney will help you determine the best approach to your divorce case. Some divorce lawyers encourage clients to pursue mediation because it offers significant advantages compared to litigation. Mediation is an opportunity to privately negotiate and retain a much greater level of control over the outcome than through litigation.
It is possible to mediate some aspects of your divorce and then move to litigation to handle the rest. This is common in high net worth divorce cases and other divorces with complex issues. A good Midwest divorce attorney will help you take advantage of mediation to the fullest extent possible. Then, if necessary, they can provide you with valuable legal guidance throughout the litigation process.
*Note: A version of this article was originally shared by the Midwest divorce attorneys at Stange Law Firm, PC on April 14, 2021*