GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV)- When your life takes a turn and you need to find a lawyer to represent you in a possible divorce should you get referrals from friends and family who have gone through a divorce? Getting referrals from happy clients is probably the most common way that people find an attorney. Knowing that the attorney has done a good job for someone you know and that they were happy enough to recommend the firm to others says a lot. We have even had ex-spouses that have faced our attorneys in court recommend us to friends because they felt our firm did a great job against them! But is a recommendation enough?
Taking the next few steps to ensure a good fit is a wise move. There are a few things that you want to check out. First of all talk to the person who told you about the firm and find out if their circumstances were similar to yours. A simple divorce for a couple with no children who have not been married very long is completely different from a complex case involving child custody issues, spousal support due to a long marriage, and a long list of marital assets. Some attorneys are great at basic divorce cases, but have little experience in child custody issues. If you own a family business you want to be sure that the attorney is well versed in having businesses evaluated and dividing the assets and the tax implications that result..
Ask your contact why they recommend the attorney whose name they have given you. Their answer can clue you in to whether you value the same things in a professional relationship. For example, providing you with their personal cell number may be important to your friend, but not so much to you as long as you can reach them during business hours.
Talk to the attorney. Almost all firms offer a free consultation where you can sit down with the attorney and discuss the issues of your case and get their recommendations. Before you go to the consultation, have an idea of what your goals are for the outcome of your divorce and whether one of them is to negotiate the divorce as peacefully as possible or to fight for everything you can get. Some family law attorneys specialize in mediated divorces where you attempt to resolve differences through mediation and compromise. They likely have less experience in court because most of their cases settle. If you want to be sure you get your fair share, have been married for a long period of time, your spouse is threatening to get full custody, or you have any circumstances that may lead to your spouse digging in his heels, be sure the attorney you hire is experienced in litigation in the family court.
Recommending their services is a compliment to a professional. It means you have provided what the client wanted and served them well. It’s a great way to find an attorney as long as they fit your needs as well.
Nohing herein constitutes a legal opinion.