If you’re facing a divorce, you likely know that you need a good divorce lawyer, but you may not have any idea how to find the right divorce lawyer for you. While your divorce will be utterly unique to you – and your legal needs will be similarly unique – there are certain qualities to look for when you’re in the market for a skilled divorce attorney.
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your parental and financial rights in a divorce is obtaining focused legal guidance, so you shouldn’t wait to consult with an experienced Austin divorce attorney.
What Does a Divorce Attorney Do?
Divorce amounts to the legal dissolution of your marriage contract, and in the process, you’ll need to resolve all the following basic divorce terms:
The division of your marital property, which refers to all those assets you came to own while you were married
Your child custody arrangements, which include both decision-making authority and parenting time
Child support, which is calculated according to careful state guidelines
Alimony, which applies only in those divorces that leave one ex unable to support themself financially while the other has the ability to provide financial assistance
The manner in which each of these divorce terms is resolved will directly affect your rights moving forward, which makes having trusted legal representation in your corner paramount.
Your accomplished Travis County divorce lawyer will ably take on all the following critical roles:
Helping you understand what a divorce is likely to mean for you and your parental and financial rights
Ensuring that you understand your parental and financial rights in relation to your divorce and how best to protect them
Helping you identify your divorce priorities and strategize negotiations around them
Helping you avoid common divorce foibles, which can help save you both time and money
Compiling all the necessary documentation to support your position on each divorce term
Actively pursuing documentation from the other side – your divorcing spouse and their divorce attorney – and carefully assessing all relevant financial information for any discrepancies
Engaging in effective and efficient negotiations with the other side
Being well prepared to take your case to court if the other side isn’t interested in fairly resolving each of the divorce terms that applies in your case
Knowing how to find the right divorce attorney can afford you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in good legal hands. Hiring a good divorce attorney early in the process helps to ensure that your case will proceed smoothly toward a favorable outcome that supports your and your children’s best future.
When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?
The matter of when to hire a divorce attorney often confuses people. You don't have to be ready to pull the trigger on a divorce to reach out for legal guidance. In fact, if you are considering divorce or are simply interested in knowing more about what a divorce may mean for you and your children, it’s a good time to set up a consultation.
If you have already been served with divorce papers or believe your spouse is gearing up to file, the right time to hire a divorce attorney is now.
What Kind of Lawyer Am I Looking For?
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of what makes a good divorce lawyer, it’s important to think about the attorney-client relationship. Divorce is a legal matter, but it’s an exceptionally personal and emotional legal matter, which means you need an attorney with whom you’re comfortable sharing private information about your marriage. It’s important to put in the time and effort to get it right.
Divorce attorneys are legal professionals, but they are also people. Regardless of their experience and credentials, they need to connect with their clients. As such, you’re looking for a compassionate attorney who doesn’t judge and makes you feel heard. Start your search for a good lawyer by scheduling a FREE consultation with an Austin divorce lawyer who comes well recommended.
All the following sources can help you narrow down the candidates to consider in your search:
Recommendations from trusted friends and family members
Online research that includes checking out a range of websites and their offerings
Once you find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable, it’s time to focus on what makes a good divorce lawyer.
Qualities to Look for in a Lawyer
When it comes to hiring a Travis County divorce attorney, there are several primary characteristics you should be on the lookout for.
You’re heading toward a divorce, and you need a divorce attorney with ample experience successfully guiding challenging cases toward advantageous outcomes. An attorney who dabbles in divorce isn’t likely to have the level of experience you’re looking for.
While amicable divorces generally involve fewer legal complications, the line between a friendly divorce and a hotly contested divorce can be razor-thin. Too many divorces that start out on the right foot devolve into something far more contentious with time. Without a divorce attorney who is up to the challenge, the results can be disastrous.
In your search for a good divorce lawyer, pay close attention to the level of experience each one has handling difficult divorces. The best way to keep your divorce moving smoothly forward is working with a practiced attorney who is well-versed in circumventing divorce obstacles in your corner.
Clear Communication Skills
Even the most straightforward divorce is legally complex. Resolving divorce terms while supporting your rights is a balancing act that requires clear and open communication between you and your divorce attorney. Regardless of your attorney’s skill level, you’re more vulnerable to unsatisfactory terms if his or her communication skills are lacking.
You and your divorce attorney are a team, and in order to prevail, teams require open, honest communication. Your attorney should meet the following basic requirements:
Your attorney should express relevant legal matters to you in a way that you understand.
Your attorney should act as your guide – ensuring that you are comfortable with each stage in the divorce process.
Your attorney should make you feel heard, provide comprehensive responses to all your questions, and encourage your full participation as your case progresses.
Your attorney should seek your opinion every step of the way and should honor your input.
In addition to being an effective communicator, your attorney must be an excellent negotiator, which requires solid communication skills. Never underestimate the importance of communication when it comes to your divorce attorney.
You’re going through a divorce, and you need a good lawyer with ample availability. Divorces often proceed jerkily, which means there may be a burst of activity followed by a considerable delay. The more challenging your divorce, the more likely it is to be long and drawn out.
Along the way, you’ll need to connect with your attorney, and in some instances, the matter may be urgent. It’s important to know that your attorney will be there for you when it's most important.
While expecting instant communication between you and your divorce attorney isn’t always realistic, your calls and emails shouldn’t go unreturned. Well-respected divorce lawyers are available to their clients, and they should set reasonable expectations and uphold them.
Good divorce lawyers balance their caseloads – often with the help of stellar support staff. An attorney who is spread too thin does their clients a disservice. Don’t neglect to discuss the matter of overall availability with prospective divorce attorneys.
Every court system has its own idiosyncrasies, and having a divorce attorney who knows the ropes in your jurisdiction can prove invaluable. Having close-up and personal knowledge of how Travis County divorce courts operate can give you a leg-up in getting a positive case outcome.
A divorce attorney who has built solid working relationships with local judges and court officials can serve you and your case well. In fact, the benefits can be difficult to overstate. This unique understanding of local practices ranks right up there with experience when it comes to what makes a good divorce lawyer.
Cool under Pressure
Nearly every divorce has the potential to become an emotional rollercoaster. If your divorce is heading in this direction, it may be difficult for you to keep your cool, so you need an attorney who can.
Your lawyer’s steady guidance will help to ensure that the situation doesn’t escalate, which supports your ability to make clear-headed decisions. Keeping fireworks out of your divorce is always to your advantage, and allowing cooler heads to prevail is one of the surest means of doing so.
The Initial Interview
In your quest to find an accomplished Travis County divorce attorney, it’s an excellent idea to ask questions and let the answers you receive guide your decision-making process.
How Long Have You Been Practicing as a Divorce Attorney?
The number of years your prospective divorce attorney has been practicing speaks to their level of experience, focus, and drive. While the number of years they’ve been skillfully representing divorce clients isn’t necessarily the most important factor, it is something you should take into careful consideration.
Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?
Whether you are facing a highly contentious divorce, a high-asset divorce, an uncontested divorce, or anything in between, you’re looking for a divorce attorney with a diverse range of experience successfully handling challenging cases.
While your divorce may begin amicably enough, there is no guarantee that it will continue in that vein. If your divorce is complicated right out of the gate, you need a divorce attorney who is well-versed in the kind of challenges involved.
What Is Your Approach to Divorce Cases?
Some divorce attorneys assume a take-no-prisoners approach for every case they take on, while others attempt to keep things amicable at all costs. The right attorney for you is likely somewhere in the middle.
While overt aggression can backfire spectacularly, failing to advocate for your rights fiercely throughout the divorce process can leave you at a disadvantage. Good divorce lawyers adopt a nuanced approach adapted to the unique case at hand.
Will You Be Handling My Case?
Too many law firms routinely set up initial consultations with their most charismatic divorce attorneys who know how to inspire confidence and establish bonds, but the clients may never actually work with these attorneys again. It’s a good idea to determine if you’ll be working with the consulting attorney throughout the divorce process.
The goal is establishing a professional connection with your legal representation, and that’s difficult to do if you’re bounced from attorney to attorney.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
The cost of your divorce is an important concern, but robust representation is critical. The idea is to find an affordable divorce attorney in Austin, Texas, but an affordable divorce attorney who is well positioned to provide you with the skilled legal guidance you need. The best divorce lawyers provide potential clients with transparent fee structures that allow them to make well-informed decisions.
Reach Out to an Experienced Austin Divorce Attorney for the Help You Need Today
If you’re facing a divorce or are considering filing for divorce, you need a savvy divorce attorney who has the experience and drive to fiercely protect your parental and financial rights and with whom you’re comfortable working. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is an esteemed divorce attorney in Austin who is committed to harnessing the full force of his impressive experience in focused pursuit of divorce terms that work for you.
Your case is important to your future, so please don’t delay contacting us online or calling us at (254) 781-4222 to schedule your FREE consultation and learn more about what we can do to help you today.