A divorce is stressful, finding the right attorney makes it easier.
First, decide wither you want a cooperative or an adversarial divorce. A collaborative divorce is cooperative, maintains family relationships, avoids serious damage to your children, saves money, gives you total confidentiality, allows client control and offers flexible scheduling to accommodate busy professionals. However, if you don’t trust your spouse or you can’t compromise, you may need to find a litigation attorney. This article won’t help you with that–it’s about finding a Collaborative Divorce lawyer.
Reliable Sources for Information.
The best practice is to ask family, friends, therapists, financial advisors and business associates for recommendations. Even if they don’t know a Collaborative Divorce attorney, they may know lawyers who can give you reliable recommendations. Another excellent source of information about divorce attorneys is the Collaborative Divorce Texas website because well trained collaborative divorce professionals committed to the process are members of this statewide organization. This matters because many attorneys offer collaborative divorces but they are not really committed to the process so they offer a collaborative divorce as a bait and switch tactic. Dealing with a Collaborative Divorce attorney is a deeply personal experience so you will want to interview at least three and find one who makes you feel personally and professionally comfortable.
Research the Lawyer’s Experience.
Go on line and search their websites. Enter “Collaborative Divorce Attorney San Antonio” and you will find websites for several trained and experienced Collaborative Divorce lawyers in the San Antonio area. Select the lawyers recommended to you and review their education, experience, and legal background. Make sure you find Collaborative Divorce attorneys who are properly trained, have extensive experience in the Collaborative Divorce process and prominently list Collaborative Divorce among their skills. If you find a divorce attorney who prefers to do litigation but dabbles in the collaborative process you may be steered toward the courtroom even though that’s not your preference. Best to avoid that outcome if you want to divorce with dignity.
Check for Complaints.
After reviewing the Collaborative Divorce attorney’s website, noting where they were educated, how long they have been licensed to practice in Texas and how experienced they are in doing Collaborative Divorces, check their professional background with the State and San Antonio Bar Associations to make certain they have not received complaints from former clients or had disciplinary actions filed against them. When you have found at least three Collaborative Divorce attorneys who are qualified and free of problems, call their offices and make appointments to personally interview them.
Before you show up at the Collaborative Divorce lawyer’s office, be prepared to tell your story clearly and succinctly. Bring copies of your financial records and an outline of significant events in your marital history to share with the lawyer. This will save time during the interview and help you cover important points of your marriage without omitting significant events.
Approach the meeting like a job interview because you are hiring the attorney to work for you. Ask questions to find out what the attorney thinks about your case and make certain you understand everything he is saying. Find out how much of the attorney’s practice is devoted to Collaborative Divorce. You don’t want to engage an attorney who claims to do Collaborative Divorce but is primarily a litigation lawyer. Note whether the attorney is organized, if he will return your phone calls in a timely manner and is a good listener.
Make certain you understand the attorney-client contract and fee arrangement. Ask yourself if the attorney seems competent, confident and answers you questions clearly and completely. Most important, do you feel comfortable and confident about his skills and personality? Compare the attorneys you interview and choose the attorney who makes you feel most comfortable. You will be spending a lot of time with him in difficult emotional situations and you must feel good about the relationship.
Select an Organized Attorney.
Consider cost in selecting an attorney. This does not mean you should select the attorney with the lowest hourly fee. A practical attorney with an organized approach will cost less than a cheaper lawyer with no plan. A Collaborative Divorce will cost less than a litigated divorce and an organized attorney will prepare and settle your case more quickly. Once you choose an attorney, let him know right away. Good attorneys are in high demand so don’t delay and miss out on hiring the lawyer who is right for you.
Understand the Attorney-Client Contract.
Make certain the details of the engagement contract are in writing and signed by both you and the attorney. Pay particular attention to the scope of work required, the fee arrangement, how the retainer works and understand how to communicate with your lawyer. If you follow these simple steps you will find the right San Antonio Collaborative Divorce lawyer and feel satisfied with the outcome when it’s over.