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How To Choose A Divorce Attorney You Can Trust

Published at April 1, 2019 by administrator.

A divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. You may have been living with your partner for years, or even decades. And just like people, every divorce is different.

In some cases, couples have refused to speak to each other, communicating only through their attorneys. In other cases, couples have hugged after the divorce became official.

When there are children involved in your divorce, you’ll have to work through custody arrangements, figure out child support and alimony, if it applies.

This will require a process of legal proceedings that will require you to submit the right forms to the right people by the assigned deadlines. Unless you’re prepared to make your divorce a full-time job, you’re going to need an attorney. Even if you have all the time in the world, an attorney can help you navigate some significant pitfalls and work through the process in the most efficient manner possible.

But how do you know which attorney is best?

Choosing an attorney is a process that is unique to everyone, but we can offer some general guidelines on how to choose a divorce attorney that is right for you.

What You Need To Know About Choosing A Divorce Attorney

There are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration before you get the ball rolling on your divorce. We’ve written this guide specifically for the state of Florida. That said, the information applies to the entire US, except for types of divorces that may vary depending on where you live.

Types of Divorces in Florida

The State of Florida recognizes three different kinds of divorce.

1. Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

The first and simplest type of divorce is a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The good news? This type of divorce is extremely easy. The bad news? It’s only allowed under three conditions:

    • Both partners must agree to the divorce.
    • There can be no children in the marriage.  
    • Both partners must have come to an agreement on splitting up debts and assets.

This is by far the lest expensive and simplest type of divorce as it simply requires filing the appropriate paperwork.

2. Contested Divorce

The second type of divorce is a Contested Divorce. This is the opposite of a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. There are a number of reasons a divorce can be contested.

    • You and your partner can’t agree on how to divide your debts or assets. Since money is the second highest cause of divorce after infidelity, it’s no surprise this is a common issue.
    • You and your partner can’t come to a custody agreement. This is another common reason for divorces to become contested. Often, children are at issue even when the couple agrees on finances.
    • One partner doesn’t want to get a divorce. In that case, the other partner will have to literally “sue for divorce”. In any of these cases, you’re definitely going to need an attorney you can trust.

3. Uncontested Divorce

The third type of divorce is an Uncontested Divorce. This is similar to a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. It does, however, require more court time and more paperwork.

Uncontested divorces can happen in a number of ways:

    • Between amicable couples who, because they have children, don’t qualify for a simple divorce.
    • From a previously contested divorce, where a couple comes to an agreement via mediation, or through their attorneys.

Based on your circumstances, your needs may vary. If the divorce is amicable, you shouldn’t have a hard time choosing an attorney that can meet your needs. If it was previously contested, your attorney will need to guide you through the process.

How To Choose A Divorce Attorney You Can Trust

How To Budget For Your Divorce

No matter what attorney you choose, you’ll have to pay for their services. The cost of your divorce is going to depend on the complexity of your case. A simple divorce can cost only a few hundred dollars for filing paperwork and showing up for your hearing.

A contested divorce can run into thousands of dollars if you and your partner are unable to come to an agreement. This isn’t because your attorney is gouging you, it’s simply an expensive process that can take time to resolve.

In some cases, there may be multiple rounds of negotiations, phone calls with your partner’s attorney, and tons of paperwork.

While you’re managing this, you’ll want to keep tabs on your household budget and expenses. This can be extremely important for making sure you get the right amount of child support or alimony.

How To Vet Your Divorce Attorney

Vetting an attorney can be challenging. After all, how do you know how competent they are? If you knew what they’re supposed to know, you wouldn’t need to hire them in the first place.

Online reviews can be useful, but keep an eye out for red flags, like floods of identical positive comments. These may indicate that an attorney is inflating their own ratings.

The best way to vet your attorney, though, is to watch how they behave while you’re interviewing. If they’re giving you their full attention, you can assume they’ll do the same while they’re working for you. If they keep getting distracted by other business or looking at the time, you may want to seek out other options.

When you’re looking for an attorney, remember that you’re interviewing them, and not the other way around. Treat them like a job applicant, and take this chance to ask any hard questions. Make sure you and your attorney are on the same page before you commit.

When filing for divorce, whether simple or complex, you’re going to need professional attorneys on your side. If you’re getting divorced in the state of Florida, consider The Stafford Firm. We’re a team of experienced attorneys who are committed to helping our clients, schedule a free consultation today.

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