Find A Cheap Divorce Lawyer

Featured

According to 50% of the U.S. married population, divorce is one thing they can do without. Divorce causes stress, anxiety, and can definitely deplete the bank account. As much as we would like to avoid going through a divorce, there comes a time when you just have to get out of a marriage to save your sanity. If your relationship is beyond saving, then it’s time for you to start looking for a cheap divorce lawyer. Cheap divorce lawyers may not be the best lawyers in town but they get the job done. Actually, there are several cheap divorce lawyers that are very good at their job and very loyal to their clients.

Finding a cheap divorce lawyer can be challenging, especially if you live in a busy city where the cost of living is extreme. Fortunately, the internet can help. Online advertising is very affordable, so more lawyers can now advertise their services in this manner. Just do an online search for cheap divorce lawyers in your area and you will get plenty of ads in a matter of seconds. Check out as many of these ads as possible, narrow your list to at least five cheap divorce lawyers within a certain radius from your home, and give them a call. Forget about getting a lawyer, who quotes prices that are beyond your budget. You want to save as much money as possible. It would be another good idea to stay close to home.

After narrowing your list of prospective lawyers, you need to do some research on the lawyers’ practices. You should not rely on what these lawyers say about themselves in their advertisements. Remember, these lawyers are trying to sell their services, so they will only say positive things about their practice. Find out if these lawyers are really as good as they claim to be. Complete independent research, and learn about their reputation through the local bar association. If a certain lawyer is not a member of good standing in the local bar association, there must be something wrong.

When is the right time to hire a Divorce Lawyer?

Hire a Divorce Lawyer

As a divorce lawyer for nearly 2 decades, some people often ask me “when is the right time to hire a divorce lawyer?” and I am often stumped by this question. Sure, this question puts me in the best position to market my services but the more emotional part of me prevents me from doing so. I have handled a lot of divorces and every single one of them was just brutal. But I am still going to answer your question. WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO HIRE A DIVORCE LAWYER?

The answer is when your soon-to-be partner has already lawyered up before you. Another situation is when there’s too much on the line, like a violation of the pre-nuptial agreements or the partner is already trying to gain custody of your children without proper proceedings. These two situations are the right time to hire a divorce lawyer because you don’t want things to get out of hand. Naturally, you’d want to make sure that your marriage is still salvageable but when these two situations present themselves, it’s a sign that your marriage is spiralling out of control and that the only way to prevent it from getting worse is to hire a divorce lawyer.

How to Find the Best Divorce Lawyer For Your Case

If you are in the market for a divorce lawyer, you would be wise to interview five to ten attorneys about your case. These interviews help educate you about different lawyering styles and will help avoid the unpleasant and costly problem of starting over with a new lawyer in the middle of your case.

Some domestic relations lawyers take a very aggressive and hard line approach, while others prefer negotiation, collaborative divorce or alternative dispute resolution. Some lawyers handle a few divorce cases a year and would not be the right choice if your spouse has hired an aggressive divorce litigator. Your goal, as the prospective client, is to find counsel whose approach and fee structure make sense to you.

As you meet with various lawyers about your case, recognize that you are being interviewed as well. You may find a lawyer who meets your criteria, only to discover that he does not want to accept you as a client because he perceives you to be a “problem client.” Here are some of the factors that make lawyers wary about accepting a new divorce client:

  • avoid bad-mouthing other lawyers you have met. Every attorney who has been in practice for even a few years recognizes that a certain percentage of clients will turn and attack the lawyer if things do not go well. Not every case goes exactly as planned and sometimes, a judge will make an unfavorable decision. The lawyer sees his job as creating reasonable and logical arguments on your behalf and presenting those arguments to a fact finder (judge or jury) clearly and forcefully. Clients who bad mouth other lawyers generally have unrealistic expectations or demands and good lawyers avoid taking on these clients.
  • avoid excessive focus on money. Assuming the lawyers that make your initial cut are reasonable, fair people, they recognize that you want to spend no more than necessary in pursuing your case. An ethical, competent lawyer will not run up time on your case to increase his fee. Along those same lines, good lawyers will not be offended if you ask for more detail about an entry on a bill. Most divorce lawyers end up spending time on your case that does not get billed at all. No one can predict exactly how divorce litigation will proceed or what your spouse’s lawyer will do. You should listen carefully when the lawyer you are interviewing discusses fees and payment requirements. You may find, for example, that during the course of your interviews, several lawyers suggest a similar fee range for your case. You may need to adjust your own expectations. If you come across as a penny pincher who will question every entry on every bill, you may find it difficult to find the right lawyer.
  • avoid blaming others for all of your problems. Your life will not be pleasant during your divorce proceedings. You will be under a great deal of stress and irritants that otherwise would not be a problem will bother you. Your lawyer’s job is not to make you happy, but to represent your interests in an organized and determined fashion. Since you will likely take the witness stand, a potential lawyer will look at you as a witness. Do you come across as reasonable, logical and likeable? Or will you turn off a judge or jury by whining, complaining and blaming your ex-spouse for all your problems. Your lawyer wants a good outcome in your case – if you are not a likeable witness, he will be less likely to take on your case.
  • recognize that there are no “winners” in a divorce case. If your express to a lawyer your desire to “win” your divorce case by getting your way with every issue, your lawyer will conclude that you live in a fantasyland. Experienced divorce lawyers recognize that a divorce trial necessarily involves two angry and bitter people, operating at an emotional low point of their lives who are asking a stranger to make far reaching decisions about money and parent child relationships based on limited and conflicting information. The best you can hope for is to come out with as little damage as possible. If the end result if even slightly fair and reasonable, you are ahead of the game. Clients who understand this reality are much more desirable than clients to are looking for a big win.

Experienced divorce lawyers appreciate and respect clients who bring to their office a realistic understanding about the divorce process. A good divorce lawyer can bring predictability, understanding and comfort to an unpleasant time in your life. If you need to work through your anger and feelings of betrayal, a good psychologist is the right choice. You can increase your chances at finding a divorce lawyer who will take your case if you present yourself as a reasonable and appreciative person in need of help.

10 Ways to Keep Divorce Lawyers From Ruining Your Life

Everyone has heard the story (from friends, co-workers, and family members) of the divorce from hell; the one that grinds on for years, costs untold thousands of dollars, and frustratingly plods its way through the court system. It costs people not only their marriage, but often their children, their savings, and their emotional well-being, as well. Unfortunately, many people going through a divorce end up hating their lawyer, and more commonly, hating their spouse’s lawyer. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get a divorce without letting lawyers ruin your life.

1. Don’t hire the wrong lawyer. The lawyer you hire makes a tremendous difference. Use common sense in the selection process. Be observant, ask questions, and don’t hire someone if you don’t feel good about your interaction with him or her. Here are some things to think about in an initial meeting with a lawyer: 1) does the lawyer have a direct dial phone number? You can assume that if you have to go through a secretary or paralegal to reach your lawyer, you will have a harder time reaching him or her; 2) watch out for a messy office; if the lawyer is disorganized you can assume your case will be disorganized. If you see other clients’ documents sitting out in public view, you can know that your documents will soon be sitting out in public the same way; 3) make sure the lawyer has a written client agreement that ensures that you understand your fees, rights and obligations.

2. Don’t let a judge decide for you. The minute you (or your spouse) go to court and ask a judge to decide your divorce for you, you give up nearly all of the control you have over the process. If you want to keep your money instead of giving it to a lawyer, and if you want to maintain control over your life, DO NOT LITIGATE. Go to court only as a last resort, only if all else fails. Try negotiation, try mediation, try collaborative divorce, try settlement conferences but do not litigate. You may win at trial, but at what cost? Will you be able to dance with your former spouse at your child’s wedding? Probably not.

3. Do hire a collaborative divorce lawyer (and get your spouse to do the same thing). Now you know you want to stay out of court. Do you want your situation to be resolved as efficiently, effectively, and successfully as possible? Of course. That’s the way collaborative divorce lawyers handle divorces. In a collaborative divorce, everyone involved (lawyers and clients) signs a written pledge to keep your case out of court. This keeps everyone involved truly focused on reaching a mutually beneficial agreement, without threatening costly and destructive litigation.

4. Don’t hire a mediator without getting legal advice first. Often, people think that hiring a mediator is a substitute for hiring a lawyer in trying to resolve their divorce. The critical mistake these people are making is this: mediators can not give legal advice. Their role is only to help people agree; the drawback is that they may help you agree to something that you would not have agreed to if you had sought legal advice first. Timing is everything here: using a mediator can be effective in resolving a divorce, you should never, ever hire a mediator without first obtaining legal advice from a lawyer whose only role is to represent your best interests.

5. Don’t sign a blank check. Signing an agreement with a lawyer that calls for hourly billing is like signing a blank check. Be careful. Let’s face facts – hourly billing encourages what? Billing! Find a lawyer who can tell you what your case will cost. The only way to be certain of your attorney fee is to get a firm commitment on a fixed fee. Short of a fixed fee you need frequent updates on the costs that you have incurred (if it were our money we would want daily, real-time, updates over the internet) and we would want the authority to accept or reject any action that would result in our paying more money.

6. Do a cost-benefit analysis. In divorce, it is easy to get caught up in the emotion and make all of your decisions from that vantage point. This can be a mistake though; spending some time analyzing your case from a logical, cost-benefit perspective can pay dividends. Keep your eye on the ball and stay focused on getting the divorce finished so you can move on with your life. It is not uncommon for divorcing people to do things like spend $500 to get a $100 microwave oven. Don’t do it. If you can’t see a clear connection between your actions and achieving a final resolution of your case, then don’t take that action.

7. Do know your priorities. Frequently people going through a divorce find that their priorities change throughout the process. The things that they thought were most important when they began the process are not necessarily the same things that are most important at the conclusion. It is important that you review your priorities regularly, with your lawyer or on your own, so that you are always mindful of things that matter to you most. Staying on top of your own priorities allows you to keep your lawyer informed and better use the divorce process to obtain the results that your care most passionately about.

8. Do remain flexible. One of the most common mistakes people make when they begin a divorce is to decide that they absolutely, positively must have A, B, and C, and nothing else will be sufficient. Remaining flexible in the divorce process allows you to critically and impartially analyze all of the issues as they arise. This is especially true for people who have reviewed their priorities throughout the process (see # 7 above). Knowing what you want, and being flexible in your approach to getting it, can often mean the difference between success and frustration.

9. Do stay involved. When you hire your lawyer, don’t simply hand control of your life over to him or her and walk away. Your divorce is critical to you, and it’s too important to be delegated away and ignored. Stay abreast of developments on a daily basis. Find a lawyer who wants you to be as involved as you do. Two things to look for in a lawyer who wants to keep clients involved: same day delivery to you of all documents that come in or go out of the lawyer’s office (email is a great option for this) and 24/7 access to your case file. Ideally, your file will be available on an extranet on your lawyer’s website.

10. Do educate yourself. Knowledge can be your greatest ally. Research the divorce laws of your state, whether through a local law library or the internet. NCdivorce.com is the most comprehensive divorce website in North Carolina. The site features a discussion forum with questions answered by lawyers, a child support calculator, the latest cases from the North Carolina Courts, numerous essays and information on all divorce issues, seminar videos, and lots more. Reading the information on this site will dramatically improve your effectiveness and efficiency in interacting with your lawyer and negotiating with your spouse.