Hiring the right attorney to represent you in your divorce or family law matter can make all the difference in the resolution of your case. Here are 4 tips to finding the right attorney:
1. Comfort level. Divorce is very personal. The resolution of your divorce case may mean discussing very sensitive personal and financial matters with your attorney. Your attorney has not lived your life, and so your attorney will only know what you tell him or her. The more information you give to your attorney the better representation he or she will be able to provide to you. Thus, when interviewing attorneys, consider whether you will feel comfortable sharing with him or her your sensitive personal and financial information.
2. Listen. Divorce affects YOUR life, not your attorney’s life, so it is important to hire an attorney who will actively listen to you, attentively and compassionately, and then give you legal advice based on what YOU decide is in your best interest. Your attorney should not “tell you” what is best for you, but should work with you to achieve goals that you decide are best for you and your family.
3. Experience. It is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in divorce and family law. Just as you would not see the foot doctor about your eye problem, you will not want to hire a bankruptcy attorney for your divorce. Thus, in interviewing attorneys, ask if they are exclusively divorce and family law attorneys, or if they practice a little bit of everything – a little divorce, a little bankruptcy, a little estate planning, etc. The Hawaii divorce and family law is complex, and you will be best-served hiring an attorney with extensive, and exclusive, divorce and family law experience.
4. Cost. How much, or how little, your divorce will cost is up to you and your spouse. Attorneys work on hourly rates, so your total cost will depend on how much work your attorney has to do to get you divorced. The “cheapest” divorce is one where the spouses reach an agreement on their legal issues (custody, support, division of assets and debts, etc.) without having to go to Family Court. Thus, when interviewing attorneys, look for attorneys who promote settlements as opposed to “battling” it out at court. Also, as discussed in a prior post, being candid with your attorney about personal information will enable the attorney to efficiently represent you, which will keep your litigation costs down.