By: Lindsey Moskowitz Medvin

Going through a divorce is an extremely personal process and not all divorce attorneys are created equal. What is a good fit for one person, often times is not a good fit for another. The attorney that guides you through your divorce will help to shape your life not just for the duration of your divorce, but often for years to follow. I have found that an adversarial approach during a divorce often times leads to an adversarial relationship after the divorce. Some attorneys are more settlement minded and others tend toward litigation. It is important that you think through which approach is best for you and your family and then choose an attorney who is similarly aligned to resolve the issues of your matter.

Ask Questions
It is a good idea to ask questions. This serves multiple purposes. The first is that you will get answers to your questions and another is that you will get to know the style of communication of your lawyer. Some topics to consider are the approach to the case, experience in the field, thoughts on a particular aspect of your case and a general idea of the costs you can expect.

Understand the Cost
Although no divorce lawyer can give you an exact calculation of all the fees, an experienced lawyer should be able to provide you with a range based upon the particular facts of your case. By nature, many of us will look for a bargain or a deal. However, be wary of a lawyer who will advertise a free consultation or a flat fee divorce. Sometimes it is true that “you get what you pay for.” Remember that you do not work for free and neither should a well-respected, hard-working lawyer.

Comfort is Key
You must be comfortable with your legal representative. You will spend a lot of time speaking with your attorney, sometimes regarding difficult decisions, intimate details of your relationship or about things that trigger an emotional response. You want to ensure that you are comfortable and those initial questions you ask will give you an idea of that level of comfort. Your lawyer should give you straightforward, honest answers so that you can feel confident in their legal knowledge, abilities, and style of communication. You must feel also comfortable being honest so that the attorney can best guide you.

In assessing the style of your prospective lawyer, you will want to consider whether he/she spent adequate time assessing your matter and explaining the issues of importance to you. You should also pay attention to whether the attorney’s approach is too aggressive or too passive or whether it seems consistent with your desires.

Often times when making a choice you will want to consider a local attorney. The reason for this is not only to reduce the billable hours associated with travel to the courthouse, but also for familiarity with the Judges and Court staff. It is helpful for your representative to know the Judges, law clerks, opposing counsel, and potential experts. If you are considering a lawyer that works for a firm, you will want to know which lawyer will be predominantly responsible for your case. You will want to meet with all of the lawyers who will be working on your matter and ensure that all of you are on the same page.

It is important to remember that not every lawyer is right for every client; nor is every client right for every lawyer. It must be a mutually good fit. Even though you may have been referred to an attorney by a friend, a co-worker or a relative, the lawyer you choose must be right for YOU. You are putting life-altering issues in the hands of this individual, so make sure that you feel confident in your choice.

Lindsey Moskowitz Medvin focuses her practice on family law matters including divorce, child custody, adoptions and name changes. To contact Lindsey please call (609) 275-0400 or email her directly at lmedvin@szaferman.com.