Legal Focus: How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

Legal Focus: How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

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The proper choice of a divorce lawyer can make a significant difference in how your divorce is handled. It is imperative that you find an attorney who you are comfortable with, and who will handle the case consistent with your goals.


Under Ohio law there are two basic proceedings, one is known as a divorce, and the other is known as a dissolution. A dissolution is simply a no-fault divorce in which the parties agree on every aspect of the divorce, from parenting time, to support, and property division. A dissolution from a legal perspective is a relatively simple process and requires the attorney to prepare the appropriate paperwork to incorporate the parties’ agreement. Most attorneys can handle a dissolution for you without significant cost.


A divorce, on the other hand, implies that the parties cannot agree on certain aspects of their separation. A complaint for divorce will be filed by one of the party’s attorney, and the unresolved issues will be litigated. As lawyers are paid for their time on any hourly basis, litigation can be very expensive.


Most individuals facing a divorce find themselves an emotional wreck which can lead to a less than rational response to the divorce process. If you let your emotions cloud your judgment you are liable to make decisions which result in needless litigation and substantial legal fees. As part of the process of selecting an attorney you will need to find someone who not only has good legal skills, but who understands the importance of counseling you through difficult times. When emotions take over, many individuals will choose an attorney the client perceives as being particularly aggressive. If that is your desire, there is nothing wrong with hiring such an attorney; however, it is important that you make the selection with the understanding of the cost involved. It is important that you learn as much as you can about an attorney you are considering hiring. You should feel free to consult with several attorneys as part of the process of choosing an attorney.


When parties initially believe they cannot reach an agreement on a number of issues, generally counsel for each party will meet with them to discuss the issues in detail and attempt to resolve them. It is well worth your time and money to explore a resolution of any contested matters simply due to the cost involved in litigating them, and due to the fact that if you and your spouse do not resolve the issues, a judge or magistrate will do so for you. As a result, both parties may be forced to live with the decision that neither are particularly happy with.


One word of caution. There are a number of attorneys who participate in a concept known as collaborative law in which the attorneys agree to meet with the parties and attempt to resolve all issues short of litigation. The concept is well intentioned, and this procedure can work well if the issues are ones which are resolvable, and both spouses refrain from emotionally based views that have unrealistic expectations. Pursuant to the rules of this group, if the parties are unable to reach a resolution of all issues neither attorney can represent the parties going forward if a divorce needs to be filed. As a result, if the negotiations fail, the parties are required to hire new attorneys to handle the case. This results in substantial expenditures with the first attorney, which are for naught, and the end result is a significant more expensive divorce process.


In summary, when choosing a divorce lawyer you need to fully understand the manner in which the attorney you are hiring practices law so that you receive the best representation possible consistent with your goals.


This article is for general informational purposes only, is not for the purpose of providing legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney to obtain advice as to your particular issue or circumstances.