Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | March 31, 2023 | Divorce
The choices you make when hiring a divorce lawyer could affect the rest of your life. The terms of your divorce determine how often you see your children. They will impact the property you keep or receive in the divorce. They will even set up the conditions for when the spousal support you pay or receive will end.
With such monumental stakes, you want to pick a lawyer who will provide sound legal advice and aggressive representation. You need someone who can protect your right to fair divorce terms regardless of your situation.
Steps for Hiring a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
Most divorcing spouses have never hired a lawyer before. Some are taken by surprise by the divorce, and many need to hire a lawyer quickly to meet upcoming deadlines. With this level of pressure, individuals often need guidance in the process of choosing a lawyer.
Some steps you should take when hiring a divorce lawyer include:
Research Lawyers Before Meeting Them
You need to start your search by finding some law firms in your area that practice family law. As you research candidates, look for:
Most law firms have websites. A quick internet search can give you some law firms to begin your hiring process.
But you will build a more effective candidate pool by talking to people and gathering referrals. If you have family members, friends, or acquaintances who practice law, ask them to recommend a divorce lawyer.
Lawyers and judges have often seen colleagues in action who can handle your case. Even if they do not practice in the same field, they may know a good divorce attorney by reputation.
Another good source for referrals is former clients. If you know someone who has gone through a divorce, ask them about their lawyer and their ex-spouse’s lawyer.
A referral from a former client can carry a lot of weight because they worked directly with the lawyer. A non-referral also carries a lot of weight if someone recommends against hiring their lawyer.
Experience matters in legal cases. Look for a divorce lawyer with experience handling similar cases. For example, if you or your spouse is currently deployed with the armed forces, look for an attorney who handles military divorces.
Most lawyers never run afoul of the New Jersey court system. But the Office of Attorney Ethics can bring cases against lawyers who break the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct. You can search for lawyers who have been admonished, censured, suspended, or disbarred on the New Jersey Courts website.
As you prepare for your divorce, you will need to begin gathering important documents. These documents will help you get a full picture of your family’s financial situation.
Some documents that might play a role in your divorce include:
- Bank records
- Tax documents
- Income records
- Life insurance policies
- Credit card statements
- Retirement account statements
- Mortgage and other loan statements
These records will help you provide prospective attorneys with a full picture of your finances.
Schedule Free Consultations With Several Divorce Attorneys
Many divorce attorneys offer free consultations to new clients. These consultations happen without any obligation to hire the lawyer. You should schedule several consultations with different attorneys so that you have several options to choose from.
When you schedule your appointment, the receptionist or legal secretary will tell you how much time you will have. Most free consultations last either 30 or 60 minutes. Since you have limited time, you should make a list of the issues and questions you want to discuss. You should also bring the documents you have gathered.
Most divorce attorneys cannot predict exactly what will happen in your case. But a lawyer can give you a range of outcomes and outline your best arguments for getting what you want.
In addition to discussing your case, you should discuss the terms of your representation, such as how often you will receive case updates and how much you will pay for legal services.
Discuss Legal Fees
Divorce lawyers in New Jersey cannot charge a contingency fee. Instead, most divorce attorneys charge an hourly fee. Some charge a fixed fee for a simple, uncontested divorce.
However, you should plan to pay an hourly fee if you anticipate disputes over:
You should discuss the lawyer’s fees during the consultation. Make sure you find out the lawyer’s hourly rate or flat fee and the upfront fees required to retain the lawyer.
Assess the Lawyer’s Communication Skills
As you talk to the lawyer during your consultation, assess their communication skills. Many of the lawyer’s tasks during a divorce require a strong ability to communicate clearly and efficiently.
Your lawyer will need to:
- Negotiate with your spouse’s attorney
- Write persuasive motions
- Argue for your positions in court
- Present your arguments to a jury in some cases
If you have difficulty following the lawyer’s logic or understanding their explanations, you might want to look for someone different.
Pick a Divorce Lawyer To Hire
You will find many qualified lawyers during your search. Picking the right one often comes down to the lawyer with whom you can build the best working relationship.
If you and your spouse settle on terms for your divorce, you might finish your divorce in a matter of months. But a contested divorce can last over a year. You need a lawyer who can act as your legal advisor and advocate over the long term. Choose one who understands your goals and has the knowledge and skills to accomplish them.
Hire the Divorce Lawyer
Most lawyers will ask you to sign an engagement agreement, fee agreement, or retainer agreement. These names all refer to the terms and conditions for hiring the lawyer.
You should review the agreement carefully before signing. If any dispute arises between you and your lawyer, the agreement will determine each party’s rights and duties.
Getting Started on Your Search for a Hackensack Divorce Lawyer
It may feel intimidating to search for a Hackensack divorce attorney. But lawyers represent clients like you every day. Gather some names and schedule a few consultations to start the path of choosing the best divorce attorney in Hackensack for your case.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.