Going through a divorce that involves claims for child custody, child support, spousal support, and/or division of marital property and debts involves making difficult decisions that can impact your life for years to come. One of the most important decisions that you make will be your choice of an attorney. The attorney you choose can make a big difference in the experience you have with the legal process, as well as the outcome of your case. Hiring an experienced and qualified attorney to represent you before or soon after separation can help to ensure that you make informed decisions and that your rights and interests are protected.
According to the North Carolina State Bar’s website that provides real-time information, as of October 24, 2016, there were 750 lawyers in Buncombe County who were active and licensed to practice law. With hundreds of lawyers in the Asheville area, how do you choose the attorney that is right for you?
The following suggestions can provide guidance to help you choose an attorney for your divorce or family related matter that you are compatible working with and who has the background and experience to effectively handle your legal matter:
- Choose an attorney who focuses their practice on family law – the area of the law in which you need assistance. Laws and legal procedures are always changing. Attorneys who devote their practice to family law are more likely to be up-to-date on changes in applicable laws, more familiar with local Family Court rules and procedures, and in general, more equipped to provide you with seasoned advice and guidance.
- Ask family and friends for referrals. However, remember that each case is unique. An attorney may be successful in helping a friend resolve a child custody dispute, but it does not mean that attorney is the best fit for representing you in a complex or high net worth divorce.
- Do your research. Check out a potential attorney’s background, education, certifications, and other qualifications.
- If you are relying on information on the Internet to find a divorce lawyer in the Asheville area, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of attorneys and law firms. Pay attention to websites that rely on “client review” or “peer review”, such as Martindale.com or AVVO.com to rate attorneys. Those websites provide reviews and ratings from other attorneys and clients, not just paid advertising.
- If your finances permit, have a consultation with two or three attorneys so that you have a baseline for comparison.
- Choose a family law attorney that you feel you can trust to give you good advice, guidance, and legal representation. Listen to your instincts.
- Be wary of an attorney who offers an unqualified assurance that he/she can get you a certain result. In North Carolina, it is unethical for an attorney to guarantee a client a specific outcome. No one can predict what a judge or jury will do or how a case will be resolved.
- Before you hire an attorney, make sure you clearly understand how you will be charged for services provided by the attorney, associates, paralegals, and other staff, as well as for any expenses for which you may be billed, such as postage, copies, and depositions. If you have concerns about how you will pay your attorney’s fees, talk to your attorney upfront to see if any special arrangements can be worked out.
Divorce is complicated. Choosing an attorney should not be. The attorneys at Siemens Family Law Group focus their practice exclusively on family related legal matters. Our team of experienced family law attorneys and trained support staff work hard to ensure that your needs are met throughout the legal process. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and experienced trial lawyers who are committed to helping you achieve fair and effective remedies to your family related legal problems. If you are in need of legal representation for a divorce or other family related matter, contact our office. We can help.
This article is intended for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. This article is based on North Carolina laws in effect at the time of posting.