How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer
The process of separation and divorce is intensely personal and can be extremely emotional. Important decisions must be made, and critical issues must be dealt with. The outcome of your divorce will have a significant impact on the core aspects of your life, from finances to where you live and what will happen with your children. With so much at stake, it is essential that you have trusted legal advice and guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer. St. Catherines family lawyer J. Leigh Daboll prepared this list of things to look for when choosing legal counsel to protect your rights and help you navigate the complexities of divorce.
Choose wisely: Top things to look for in a divorce lawyer
There are many attributes that make a good divorce lawyer, but here are the top things to look for when choosing a divorce lawyer that is right for you:
- Experience. Does the lawyer have the right experience? Family law in Ontario is complex and before you can obtain a divorce order you must first deal with all other family law issues such as child custody and access, valuation and division of property and debt, and rights and obligations with respect to spousal support and child support. An inexperienced lawyer may overlook critical issues, fail to protect your rights, or cause delay in reaching a resolution. Find a lawyer who focusses on family law and who has handled cases similar to yours.
- Trustworthiness. Do you trust this lawyer and feel comfortable speaking with him or her? You will have to share personal information about yourself and your marriage with your divorce lawyer. Make sure the lawyer you choose is one you trust and who makes you feel comfortable so that you can freely discuss all issues and concerns.
- Patience and compassion. When you speak with the lawyer, do you feel listened to, or do you feel rushed? Finding a lawyer who takes the time to get to know what matters to you and understand your unique situation is one of our St. Catherines family lawyer’s top 10 tips for going through a divorce (see here for the rest of the top 10). It is less likely that you will find customized solutions and reach an equitable resolution if the lawyer does not know what is truly important to you and what you want to achieve through the process.
- Candidness. A divorce lawyer should be up-front with you about your options and explain the pros and cons of each. Ask the lawyer for a realistic estimate of how much it will cost to resolve your family law issues, how long the process should take, and what the probable outcomes will be. A good divorce lawyer should provide you with the details you need to make informed decisions about how to proceed.
- Cost. Consider your needs and goals and choose a lawyer who can meet those needs and goals while still being affordable. Is your matter complicated because you own a business with your spouse, for example, or are you anticipating that your spouse will resist the divorce? Contact a few prospective divorce lawyers to explain your situation and gather information such as their hourly rate, billing practices, and payment plan options. Consider if skills and experience can account for any differences in quoted fees, and when making the decision on which divorce lawyer to hire, keep in mind that quality legal advice is worth every penny and can save you time and money in the long run.
Consider this: Is your approach compatible with the approach of the divorce lawyer?
St. Catherines, Niagara Falls, and Welland area residents have been turning to J. Leigh Daboll Law Office for help with separation and divorce for decades because they appreciate our firm’s realistic and optimistic approach to family law matters. Our divorce lawyer’s goal is to give you trustworthy, knowledgeable advice, grounded in legal principles, that will not only resolve your family law issues but also help you create a plan for moving forward with confidence and independence. Some divorce lawyers are unnecessarily adversarial and antagonistic, which can needlessly drag out the process and drive up your legal costs. Consider the outcome you want and ensure that the divorce lawyer you choose has the right approach to help you achieve it. For example, does the lawyer offer unbundled legal services so you only pay for the services you need? Does the lawyer know family court procedure inside out but also offer mediation services or collaborative approaches to resolve your divorce with less animosity and more cooperation? In many situations, negotiated agreement or mediated settlement is achievable and spouses can get a divorce without ever setting foot in a courtroom.
Going through a separation or divorce? Contact an experienced St. Catherines family lawyer
Divorce raises serious issues such as child custody and access, division of family property, and responsibility for debt incurred during the marriage. How you deal with these issues will have significant implications for you and your family, both now and in the future. You should have trustworthy advice and confidential, professional legal assistance throughout the process. At J. Leigh Daboll's Law Office, that's exactly what you get. We deal with all aspects of family law and divorce law. Please contact us for more information about how we can help you or to schedule a consultation with our Niagara Falls, Welland, and St. Catherines family lawyer.