If you are considering a divorce, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the first decisions you’ll make also may be one of the most important: Who will be your lawyer? If you make a good choice, it can save you time and money. A lousy attorney, on the other hand, can create unnecessary stress for you. The attorney also may do something that affects you for years to come. So here are nine tips for choosing the right Fort Worth divorce attorney.
1. Choose a Divorce Attorney with Experience
Some divorces can be simple. It’s possible to manage your Texas divorce yourself. But these cases are unusual, and it is certainly not looked upon as a good idea by family court judges in Texas. Most of the time, divorce cases are complicated. Some of the issues to be resolved include division of property/assets, child support, and retirement benefits.
It’s easy for a divorce lawyer to make a mistake on any of these issues. That’s why experience is so important. And at Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, our divorce attorneys have more than 20 combined years of experience serving Fort Worth, Texas, and Tarrant County.
2. Choose a Divorce Lawyer with Good, Independent Reviews
The Internet can be a big help in choosing a Fort Worth divorce attorney. The Texas State Bar Association can help you find a divorce lawyer and help with a complaint about a lawyer.
You can also read reviews of a law firm online. The Texas Better Business Bureau and Yelp can be excellent resources. You can read reviews about our law firm and others on Google My Business. These resources do not accept paid promotions.
3. Family Law Should Not Be A ‘Side Gig’
Once you’ve got a shortlist of two or three divorce lawyers in the Fort Worth area, we encourage you to visit their website. Find out what areas they specialize in and make sure they match what you need. For a divorce case, we think you will want an attorney for whom family law is not just a practice area but their primary focus.
Divorce, like marriage, is one of the most complicated and life-changing events you will face. More specifically, you’ll want to make sure the attorney has experience in your particular issues and can advise you about how best to solve them. You can also search their website for information about your specific concern. For example, here are just three of the issues we have recently discussed in our blog:
- What divorcing dads need to know about child custody
- How life insurance works in a Texas divorce
- 50/50 custody arrangement in Texas
Our Fort Worth, Texas, divorce lawyers have extensive experience in all of these areas of family law and more.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Request a Free Consultation
Of course, anyone can sound good on a website. Many lawyers can sound quite convincing on the phone as well. That’s why we suggest that you request a free consultation.
When you meet with the attorney in person (or via video conference), you will get a much better sense of whether the attorney is really right for you. The goal is for you to come away from the meeting being comfortable with the divorce attorney, and confident in his or her skills.
We think this initial interview should not cost a potential client. That’s why Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, offers a free consultation, no strings attached. To set up your interview, call us today at 817-335-9600.
5. When Choosing a Divorce Attorney, Watch for Red Flags
Even in an in-person meeting, it can be difficult to fully size up a lawyer. After all, you probably don’t have a great deal of experience in the law. So just be on the lookout for a few simple “red flags.:
For example, be leery of an attorney who makes a lot of bold promises. Generally speaking, you are not likely to get “everything you want” in the divorce. Your attorney should be honest about what can reasonably be accomplished when you go before the judge.
Also, be careful with any lawyer who is a name-dropper. It is inappropriate—and unethical—for an attorney to discuss the details of another client’s case. If the lawyer is sharing confidential information about someone else, he or she is likely to do it about you, too.
One other red flag: Watch how the lawyer treats others in the law office. If the attorney is cruel or condescending to the staff, it is not a good sign. An attorney who is involved in family law matters should treat the staff like family, too.
6. When the Stakes are High, the Expectations Should Be Equally High
Suppose you are fortunate enough to have substantial assets and investments. In that case, it will be essential to pick the right family law firm. Texas is a community property state. Community property means that you and your spouse equally won the property and earnings the spouses acquired during the marriage.
In a high net worth divorce, you may additionally have the right to claim a share of your spouse’s assets. On the other hand, you’ll also want to protect the wealth that is rightfully yours. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure the law firm you are working with has genuine expertise in this area. Read our recent blog about high net worth divorce.
7. But Have Realistic Expectations about the Divorce Process
One of the best things you can do when looking for a divorce lawyer is to have realistic expectations about the divorce process. The ending of a marriage is a legal procedure and can quickly get complicated. This is especially true if your case involves issues like child custody, spousal support, and division of assets. The process can move slowly. So look for an attorney who is upfront about the expected timeline.
Another thing you can do is be in tune with your emotions. When people are getting divorced, it is not unusual for them to get angry or sad. You should look for a divorce attorney who will be compassionate to your circumstances. At the same time, it is not his or her job to help you deal with your grief or anger. The lawyer’s mission is to represent you to the best of his or her ability and defend your rights to the fullest possible extent of the law. The more unreasonable you are with your emotions, the harder it may be to choose the right Fort Worth, Texas, divorce attorney. And ultimately, the more it may cost you.
8. During a Divorce, Friends and Family are Important
Divorce can be a little embarrassing. So if you are considering ending your marriage, you might be inclined not to talk about it with others. That’s usually a mistake. Divorce usually is a stressful time. If you’re going through a divorce, friends, and family can be very supportive. They can listen to you vent, encourage, or perhaps watch the kids for a while.
And there is one other way your friends and family can help you with your Texas divorce.
9. Word of Mouth is Still a Very Reliable Method for Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney
Another reason not to keep your plans to divorce a secret is that your friends and family may be able to provide you with a referral. If someone you trust has been through a divorce, don’t hesitate to ask them about their divorce lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas.
If you feel comfortable, you can also ask them if their case involved some of the issues you are expecting in your divorce. For example, maybe you anticipate a battle over child custody, spousal support, property division, or estate planning.
Of course, if they are willing to recommend a family law attorney, it’s is because they had a good experience. So if possible, try to explore this with them as well. What did they like about their divorce lawyer? How did the law firm make it a good experience for them?
Having the answers to these questions will make it easier for you to feel confident that you are choosing a team of divorce lawyers that is not just “okay,” but right for you.
We Can Make Choosing the Right Fort Worth Divorce Attorney Easy
There are a lot of divorce attorneys in Fort Worth, TX. But the level of experience and skill varies greatly. For 20 years, we have provided compassionate, effective legal representation in Fort Worth, Southlake, and throughout Tarrant County. And we have experience in the issues that matter most to you, including child support, spousal support, and property division. For a free consultation, contact our board-certified lawyers today at 817-335-9600.