When I first had an inkling that things in my marriage were going poorly and that I might be headed for a divorce, I panicked. What do I do next? And I’m a lawyer, so you would think I should know, but at the time I did not practice family/divorce law. So I called a friend of mine who is a family law attorney. And that’s my first piece of advice- if you think you are going to get divorced or separated, go see an attorney. I have several clients whom I talk to on more than one occasion to offer advice on what they should be doing or planning in case their marriage ends.
How do you find a good divorce/family law attorney? My best advice is through word of mouth. Talk to your friends- chances are they know an attorney, even if it’s not a family law attorney, and that person can put you in touch with someone who specializes in family law. I encourage my potential clients to talk to more than one attorney, and to remember that it’s not all about who charges what fee; it’s really about being comfortable with your attorney, feeling like you can talk to them about questions, concerns, and problems- no matter how embarrassing. You may find that you connect with an attorney whose hourly rate is higher than someone else’s; you might feel like an attorney whose fees are less won’t give you the personal attention you deserve- and should insist upon. Either way, find an attorney you like, you trust and who you think will give you the information and attention you deserve.