4 Qualities You Should Look for When Choosing a Divorce Attorney

When choosing a divorce attorney, spouses in Pennsylvania should consider how experienced, likeable, honest and pragmatic each candidate is.

The choices people make during divorce can have lasting effects on their finances, relationships and lifestyle. One highly influential decision that many Harrisburg residents may give relatively little thought to is selecting a divorce attorney. With an effective representative, spouses may avoid various legal missteps, but with the wrong attorney, they may face unnecessary adverse outcomes. To improve their odds of making a favorable choice, spouses should consider looking for these four qualities when picking an attorney.

1. Experience

The Huffington Post advises spouses to delve into each prospective attorney's background to determine whether he or she would make a suitable representative. Spouses should consider questioning each attorney about the following topics:

  • The areas of family law that the attorney focuses on and the types of cases that he or she typically accepts
  • The amount of time that the attorney has spent practicing family law in Pennsylvania
  • The attorney's record of reaching successful settlements or winning cases in court
  • The attorney's access to other experts, such as business valuation specialists, whose input may be needed during the divorce

Spouses should be wary of partnering with an attorney who has limited experience in family law or in specific issues, such as complex asset division, that may come up during the divorce. The Huffington Post also recommends that spouses consider at least three attorneys to evaluate which one is most qualified for the job.

2. Good rapport

If an attorney offers consultations, spouses may want to schedule a meeting to assess how well they get along with the attorney. According to CNBC, spouses should observe whether the attorney is easy to understand, ready to listen and generally likable. Spouses should avoid choosing an attorney who they don't feel comfortable working with or can't effectively communicate with.

3. Honesty

People who are looking for a divorce attorney should also assess how honest each attorney's expectations and assessment of the situation seem to be. During divorce, spouses can benefit from receiving grounded feedback about the feasibility of their goals and potential legal strategies. If one attorney promises results that the other attorneys cannot guarantee, he or she may not be evaluating the issue realistically, which could be problematic during divorce proceedings.

4. Pragmatism

Finally, spouses should look for an attorney who can identify and pursue pragmatic solutions when possible. An overly combative approach to the divorce may make the process more financially burdensome without offering spouses any significant gains. CNBC recommends that spouses focus on specific goals that they hope to achieve during the divorce, such as securing primary physical custody. Spouses should then work to find an attorney who will enable them to pursue those outcomes without getting sidetracked.

Reaching a final decision

When faced with divorce, many Pennsylvania residents may feel tempted to choose an attorney as quickly as possible. However, spouses should remember that a hasty decision might have lasting negative consequences. Taking time to find an attorney who offers a good fit may help a spouse navigate the divorce in a more efficient, cost-effective and advantageous manner.

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