Finding the right attorney

A guide to hiring the best attorney for you .

counsel to represent you are going to need to ask the right questions.

Here is an interesting fact. There are a lot of really good attorneys in Atlanta.
Here is another interesting fact. There are a lot of really sucky attorneys in Atlanta too.

How do you tell the difference before it is too late?

    What are the right questions to ask?

    Before you decide to enter into litigation, understand the consequences that such a decision may have on your future. (THIS ARTICLE NEEDS A REWRITE).
    You should know:

      How many cases of my type has the Atlanta Divorce Attorney handled?
      You want an attorney who has done a large enough number of cases exactly, or very similar to, your own. In other words, you don’t really want your attorney to be learning as he or she handles your case. If you are paying by the hour, for one, it would end up cost you more, and for another, a non-experienced attorney could miss things that a more experienced one will spot.
      How well does the Atlanta Divorce Attorney know your court?
      How well does your Atlanta Divorce Attorney and the Atlanta Divorce Attorney’s staff communicate with you?
      A good Atlanta Divorce Attorney knows how to communicate. Does the attorney and his staff write well? Are you easily able to understand they say in emails or other written communication to you? Chances are that this same style will be used in documents filed with the Divorce Court so pay attention to this.
      Are you comfortable in your dealings with the Atlanta Divorce Attorney and his or her staff?
      A good Atlanta Divorce Attorney is one who you are comfortable with. Does the attorney or the attorney’s staff, make you feel ill at ease? Do you feel like you’re not much of a priority when you interact with the attorney or staff? With the next chapter of your life at stake, you don’t have time to deal with additional emotional clutter brought on by feelings of lack of trust or insecurity when you deal with the attorney and the legal staff.

      You are getting divorce for a reason, so protect yourself and ask the right questions.
      Hiring the right lawyer is a critical step in the process to
      Can you ask and get a flat fee if your case is uncontested?
      Some lawyers will just charge a flat fee, based on certain tasks and court filings usually done for an uncontested divorce. You should ask for this if your spouse is not contesting your divorce. If you have a contested matter, ask how much the retainer is, but also ask if there is a difference between the hourly fee charged against the retainer when the attorney is working on your case outside court, and when the attorney is in court on your behalf. Ask for an estimated fee for the whole case, based on similar previous cases. Are there any refunds ever? Is there a payment plan available? How are payments broken down?
      Does the Atlanta Divorce Attorney have personal experience with the family law arena?
      Has the Atlanta Divorce Attorney been married and, or, divorced? Does the Atlanta Divorce Attorney have children? Lawyers are human beings too, breathing and bleeding like everyone else. A divorce lawyer with personal experience in the family law arena is likely to have more empathy for you than an attorney who has never had to deal with sensve family matters.
      Should you retain a male or female lawyer?
      A man or a woman lawyer does not make a difference. A good lawyer can represent either sex. Men’s attorneys or women’s attorneys tend to use this as a marketing gimmick more than actually doing a more effective job for their male or female clients. Ask whether the attorney is comfortable representing a man (or woman)? Ask if he or she can refer you to a good lawyer who is a man (woman)?
      In a contested divorce, you should ask if the attorney is friends with your spouse’s attorney.
      This isn t supposed to matter, but you will most likely feel more comfortable knowing that your Atlanta Divorce Attorney and your spouse’s attorney don’t hang out together after work hours. In all likelihood, it wouldn t affect your case, as attorneys are bound to represent you to the best of their ability and besides, the competitive instinct is sure to kick in when faced with an attorney friend in the courtroom, however, you might always wonder if the friendship had something to do with it if things don’t go your way completely. Yet one more additional thing you do not need on your emotional plate during your divorce.
      If you file for divorce can your divorce lawyer ethically represent both you and your spouse?
      The short answer is no. The long answer is no.
      How aggressive is the Atlanta Divorce Attorney?
      A skilled divorce lawyer, one who knows how to negotiate and mediate is often better than an aggressive trial lawyer. So, ask the attorney if he or she tries the negotiation route before aggressively attacking the other side, which only makes them want to become much more aggressive in return. Also, when you mediate, you come out of the divorce feeling less acrimonious towards your spouse and usually with more money left in your pocket.Ask as many questions as come to mind and do follow your instincts. Don’t hire an attorney who makes you feel uncomfortable just because you heard that he or she is a really good attorney. You want experience and talent, yes, but if you feel uncomfortable sharing your situation with the attorney, it will make an unpleasant situation (getting a divorce) worse; at the least, you should feel better having the attorney you retain on your side.

      Will moving out of my house reflect poorly on my case?

      Every case is different, staying in the marital residence alongside your spouse once a divorce has been filed is in my opinion an indicator of insanity. Ceding the temporary use of the house prior to an emergency hearing may demonstrate to the judge who is the responsible party, who has the children’s best interest at heart. I preach to my clients that long term benefits easily outweigh short term gains.

      As a last resort I will frequently advise that my client’s give their spouse as much rope as they need to hang themselves. If your husband cheated on your during the marriage he is unlikely to stop during the divorce. If your wife was a hopeless alcoholic while you were together a divorce action is unlikely to convince her to sober up. Documentation and proof are your best allies.

      However, if your children are at risk then all bets are off regarding generalized notions of what is the best strategy in how to proceed. Protect your children first ask questions later,

      When should I retain an attorney?

      Often we are retained several months prior to one of the parties actually filing for divorce. Although we are retained by one spouse the other party is completely unaware of our representation. There are several benefits to hiring an attorney well before you file for divorce. First and foremost we can help you document and investigate both your spouse’s finances and conduct. Prior to filing a divorce action we often call upon the services of private detectives, forensic computer experts and accountants to establish the evidence we need to present your case for maximum effect. Knowing what to do before you file for a divorce can be just as important as knowing what to do once the paperwork has been filed.

      If you feel that you could benefit from thoughtful experienced legal advice feel free to contact any of our divorce law offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta or Lilburn. Visit our guestbook.

      Law Office of Martin M. Del Mazo, Atlanta Divorce Attorney, 750 Hammond Drive Atlanta, Georgia 30328