Four tips for choosing the right California divorce attorney

Taking care when making their selection may help Californians choose the right divorce attorney for their needs and circumstances.

Unfortunately, not all California fairytales have the happily ever after endings that couples dream of. In fact, the Judicial Council of California reports there were 138,520 marriage dissolution and legal separation filings across the state in the fiscal year for 2015 to 2016 alone. When facing the prospect of a divorce, many turn to legal professionals to help them navigate the process and look out for their interests. To make the important decision of who will represent them, however, some simply pick a name from a list. Taking care when selecting a divorce attorney may help ensure people choose the right family lawyer for their situations and needs.

Research potential attorneys

While all divorce lawyers must meet the same qualifications to practice law, their individual experience and knowledge varies. Thus, while one attorney may be well-versed in dealing with the division of business assets during divorces, another may be more adept at handling delicate child custody issues. As people consider legal representatives to guide them through their divorces, they should take time to research prospective lawyers to ensure their strengths match up with their own needs.

Interview top prospects

Perhaps as important as the credentials of the divorce attorneys whom people choose to represent them is their level of comfort with them. A no-fault state, couples may list irreconcilable differences as the reason for their divorce. However, they still may have to discuss personal subjects and sensitive information, including details regarding their finances, with their family lawyers. Having a sit down or over-the-phone consultation with their top choices before making their decision may help people select a legal representative whose style and demeanor mesh with their own.

Watch for red flags

Eager to earn people's business, some lawyers may sugarcoat the situation or offer lofty guarantees. When going into negotiations, it is important for people to know what they want, but it is also helpful for them to have realistic expectations. Therefore, it may behoove those who are getting divorced to be wary of bold promises or claims by prospective attorneys. These may be signals that legal representatives are focused on their business, rather than on the lives and futures of their clients.

Consider the costs

Often overlooked, the cost of divorce attorneys is an important consideration when choosing a legal representative. There is no set fee schedule for family law attorneys, meaning the costs of finalizing a divorce case may vary significantly from one to the next. While charging higher fees does not necessarily mean a lawyer is more qualified or has a better success rate, it may affect whether a person can afford to hire him or her. Asking about attorneys' fees ahead of time may help people rule out those whose costs do not fit in their budgets.

Moving forward

The end of a marriage for California couples and families can be difficult for all involved; and the longer the process is drawn out, the more challenging it may become. Working with an experienced family attorney may help people settle their disputes and effectively resolve their cases. A divorce lawyer may explain their rights, as well as guide them through the process.