Pittsburgh Attorney Anthony Selbe discusses 5 pointers for picking a divorce attorney.
Your first priority should be identifying someone knowledgeable about divorce law in Pennsylvania. An attorney’s primary job is to know the law. Most importantly, your Pennsylvania family attorney should focus most if not all of their practice area on family law and divorce. For example, if you had a heart problem, you could see a general practitioner. But, wouldn’t it make more sense to see a cardiologist?
The Accountability Partner
Secondly, your attorney should be someone that will hold you accountable. Another role for an attorney is to keep his or her client out of trouble. Work with an attorney with whom you can communicate openly. And, communication is a two way street. So, work with an attorney that clearly communicates the plan for your separation or divorce with you. Your Pittsburgh divorce attorney should tell you his or her expectations for the proceedings and the court’s expectations of you. Work with an attorney that will communicate a 60 or 90-day litigation plan with you. This plan will set a timeline for litigation and what you should expect. Your attorney should be in contact with you at least every other week during the divorce to make sure you’re sticking to the plan.
The Bad Cop
Thirdly, your attorney should be someone that has your best interest at heart, even when you can’t see the forest for the trees. Your divorce attorney should be comfortable with telling you what you need to do and when you need to do it. Also, your attorney should be comfortable telling you when something is a bad idea and why. Additionally, it is easy to get bogged down in the emotions of a divorce. So, your divorce attorney should be comfortable motivating you to stick to your divorce plan.
Fourth, your attorney is not your therapist. But there should be a healthy relationship between you and your divorce attorney. Your attorney should be someone that can listen to your problems as they pertain to the divorce and provide sound legal guidance as to the next best step. Avoid the attorneys that treat you like a nuisance. If they treat you like a nuisance, they’re likely only concerned with your money. Work with the attorney that is willing to hear you out. They may set boundaries as to what they can and cannot discuss, but setting boundaries leads to a healthy relationship.
The Sounding Board
You should never work with an attorney that attempts to push their values on you as the client. The attorney-client relationship is sacred and limits an attorney to what they are able to discuss with you. But work with an attorney that you can openly discuss life with as it pertains to your divorce. For instance, are you considering a job change? Talk to your attorney about it. Your divorce attorney can’t give career advice, but they can give you advice as to how a job change could affect support payments if you’re still separated and haven’t filed for divorce.
Hiring the right Pittsburgh divorce lawyer is one of the most important steps to take during separation or divorce. You should put thought and effort into your decision. You aren’t just hiring another person to do another job. You’re looking for an advisor and confidant to guide you through the most difficult time of your life.
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