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How should I prepare for interviewing lawyers??

CryingEyes posted 12/1/2020 09:45 AM

So long story short, he cheated again. And this time, he wants a divorce because well, we all know that I'm not blowing smoke up his a$$ telling him how great he is and all that. Which he rightfully deserves.

Any way, back to my question. I'm getting prepared to interview layers. Last time I did this was in 2006 and I was such an emotional mess that I don't remember. Please wise ones help me with this.


somanyyears posted 12/1/2020 10:54 AM

..many years ago, a member asked the same question and I've never forgotten one specific reply..

Ask the lawyer to let you look in their mouth.

If you see three rows of triangular teeth, that's the one you want!

If you want another good lawyer story, read my bio here.


barcher144 posted 12/1/2020 11:45 AM

I would put together a brief story of your marriage and your situation. I would then ask the attorneys how they would approach such a divorce.

In theory, divorces are easy... you take your assets and liabilities and you split them in half. In reality, folks play games with valuing their assets (my assets are worth nothing!) and liabilities (you get all of the liabilities!). In addition, child support and alimony can get controversial.

The sad thing about the legal system (or the good thing, if you want to go that direction) is that you can make someone else's life pretty damn miserable.

My advice would not be to find a shark. Get someone smart, get someone ethical, and get someone with boundaries.

My first attorney was ethical but not especially smart and she definitely let my STBXW's attorney walk all over her. My second attorney was smart but lazy and she almost literally ignored the case (she didn't show up to my temporary hearing, for example). My third attorney was amazing. She handled all of the smart details that a lawyer needs to handle. She negotiated with skill and knowledge. And, she politely told STBXW's attorney to "stick it" when appropriate.

I still don't have the judge's decision, but I am really happy with attorney#3.

Bleu posted 12/1/2020 21:40 PM

Ask about their experience in the relevant jurisdiction before the judge/master and with your tension areas.

Catwoman posted 12/2/2020 08:14 AM

I find one of the better barometers out there for family law attorneys is their activity within the local and state bar associations. Have they chaired the family law committee or held office in the state or local bar? Have they written articles about divorce in their jurisdiction? Judges tend to respect those who do these things, and they are also well-respected among their peers. For example, my attorney wrote the book (with significant collaboration from her peers) on all of the legal aspects of divorce in my state.

I also find that local metropolitan magazines and/or business journals who publish "best of the best" professionals are a good resource to start looking as well.

If you suspect this will be a high-conflict divorce or that you will be trying to divorce someone who isn't honest or who will hide income or assets, I would ensure that the attorney you select is well-versed in this and has several approaches that he/she will use in these sorts of cases.

It's best to be prepared with an attorney who can negotiate, but who can take it to trial if necessary. Most do NOT go to trial, but if you have any inkling that you're not going to be dealing with a cooperative STBX, get the best you can get.


skeetermooch posted 12/2/2020 09:54 AM

Referrals from former clients are the best. I had a mixed experience with my lawyers in my last divorce. What I learned is they all have a great dog and pony show when they are trying to sign you but their actual performance may be piss poor. So, if you know someone who got divorced ask them how they liked their attorney.

The other thing is if you expect high-conflict, you'll want to do consults with the top sharks in your city - this bars your ex from hiring them because it creates a conflict of interest.

I hope it's a smooth and easy divorce since he seems to be on board.

Ratpicker posted 12/2/2020 19:08 PM

I agree with Skeetermooch about referrals from former clients but... if you suspect yours will be high conflict, contested, adultery, etc - those are the kind of former clients you want referrals from. A bunch of referrals from people who had agreements ironed out / uncontested prior to seeking an attorney to file the papers won't be relevant for you. They may have a high opinion of an attorney who isn't familiar trying a case in court if that ends up being your type of case.

An often overlooked source of recommendations are clergy- they have heard a lot!

My X actually came home from his meeting with an attorney with a list of his recommendations of a attorneys I should consider instead of the shark I already signed with.

AnnieOakley posted 12/2/2020 21:54 PM

Do not use your attorney as a therapist—that is what your therapist is for. Plus they are a lot less expensive.

Go in with a typed timeline-2 copies to give to them-of your marital history. Be prepared to to be given quite a list of financial documents that you need to gather. Again, make the copies yourself and keep your cost down.

I agree that if you can get referrals that would be the best place to start.

Phoenix1 posted 12/3/2020 02:05 AM

I would also suggest preparing a written list of questions. Time is money with attorneys and you want to stay focused and on track. Having written questions allows you to do just that as well as write down notes as you go.

Bigger posted 12/3/2020 07:26 AM

Know anyone that constantly whines about having been taken to the cleaners in a divorce?
Get the name of their ex-spouse lawyer!

Joking aside – go prepared with as much info as you can; market value of family home, KBB value of vehicles, debt, credit-card statements… Be able to tell the attorney right away that your assets after debt are XXX or -XXX (to the nearest thousand or so). Know exactly the length of marriage. Have tax reports…
Get this condensed so you can in 2 minutes give the attorney a pretty accurate picture. Ask him how that should go in divorce. Avoid the ones that paint too rosy a picture, and the ones that are pessimistic.

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