Don't hire an attorney who asks for a large non-refundable fee.
Don't rely just on friends or acquaintances for the names of prospective attorneys, utilize local bar associations, and internet sites like avvo.com and lawyers.com.
Don't obtain a courtroom heavy hitter in the belief that by doing so you will be able to overpower your spouse's counsel--the court can and will order the deep pocketed spouse to help pay for the attorney of the spouse who lacks funds or who has less.
Don't hire a lawyer who dabbles in divorce law; if he or she doesn't know what's up you're not going to obtain a fair settlement.
Don't Hire an Attorney Connected to a Divorce Mill
Divorce mills work like this--Your initial interview is with the owner or a name partner. Thereafter your papers are prepared by paralegals or associates. Experts are interviewed and employed by paralegals. Your interrogatory answers and questions are prepared by paralegals or associates. Your spouse may be deposed by an associate. The owner or partner appears only at the hearings. Even if Mr. Big is prepared for the hearing he is not familiar with your file and cannot discuss settlement in a cogent manner. He or she does not have time to review each file and engage in fruitful settlement discussions. In a divorce mill your file is treated like all the others. It is on a conveyor belt and that is not in your best interest. You need to hire a lawyer who will prepare the file with the help of one or two other attorneys and will be familiar with the status of your case at all times, and be willing and able to begin settlement discussions at reasonable intervals.
Interview more than one attorney.
Encourage your spouse to obtain competent counsel.
Ask questions at the initial interview to determine the attorney's familiarity with local practices of the court where your divorce is or will be filed.
Hire an attorney who will discuss settlement with opposing counsel early and at reasonable intervals.
Hire an attorney who will do the substantive work on your file alone or with one or two other lawyers or paralegals; he or she will understand your file, and can advise you what is in your best interest both from the standpoint of the case and your pocket book.
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