You have decided to get a divorce, now what? Your first step is to start looking for a divorce lawyer to help you through the divorce process. Many separating couples, in an attempt to cut costs, will proceed with a divorce without a lawyer. Still, divorce is a major life change, and it involves very big decisions about what your future will look like after your separation. Having a divorce lawyer present to walk you through the legal process will ensure your future is in safe hands.
However, it is important to do your research before choosing the first divorce lawyer you find in your Google search. Specifically, these are five things to consider before hiring the right divorce lawyer for your case.
1. Does your divorce lawyer have the right experience?
When hiring a divorce lawyer, you want to work with someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about divorce law in Ontario. Most lawyers know something about divorce but you need to find someone whose focus is solely on family law. You would not go to a family doctor for heart surgery. You would want a specialist. This is true in family law. It is critical so that you receive the best legal advice throughout the entire divorce process.
Experience with cases similar to yours is also very important. For example, if you have children, you will want to work with a divorce lawyer with experience working with child support or child custody/ parenting time cases. Do not be afraid to ask your lawyer questions about their experience to get a better idea of who they are and how they will be able to handle and help your case.
2. What firm does your divorce lawyer work for?
It can be easy to be swept up by the biggest law firms in town, but the size of a law firm has nothing to do with how effective the lawyers are at their job. Big law firms are likely to charge you a higher fee and may find a way to rack up any billable hours possible.
The more upfront a divorce law firm is about their pricing and the services they provide, the better. Big law firms will often sneak charges in wherever they can and bill you on anything they can. If they have associates working for them, they may charge for their services, their associate’s services, all the way to the secretary’s services. That is why the more transparent a law firm is about its pricing, the better.
Also, be mindful of a divorce law firm’s messaging. If a firm advertises, that they will do anything and everything so you can ‘win’ your case, you may want to keep looking for a divorce lawyer. Law firms that are concerned about ‘winning’ are usually more worried about getting as much money out of their clients as possible. The right divorce lawyer will not care about winning or losing. Instead, they will find the right resolution for your case in the most cost-effective way while keeping your best interests at heart.
3. What will be your lawyers’ approach to your case?
When interviewing different lawyers, one important question to ask is how they will approach and settle your case. As mentioned above, a lawyer concerned with winning a case at all costs usually is not too concerned about their clients’ best interests. Divorces are not about winning or losing. Divorce is about finding a way for both parties to successfully lead independent lives in a way that works best for everyone while dividing assets and making a plan for child care. If your divorce lawyer plans on putting up a fight and throwing fuel on the fire, instead of helping eliminate certain struggles, this is not the right divorce lawyer for you.
Instead, look for a lawyer who seeks a calm resolution to your case. If there is an existing conflict between you and your spouse, your lawyer should have options for you to resolve those issues calmly. Work with a lawyer who recommends collaborative practice or mediation to resolve family conflict. A lawyer who recommends mediation is committed to keeping the peace and keeping you out of the courtroom.
4. Is your lawyer more assertive or more aggressive?
There are many divorce lawyers who will guarantee to fight for you in court like an admirable warrior going off to battle. Although these lawyers attract a lot of attention, they should be avoided. Warrior-type lawyers may promise you the world and more from your divorce settlement, but they could lead to trouble.
Assertive divorce lawyers are always better than overly aggressive lawyers. You do not want a lawyer who will cave in on every decision, but you also do not want a lawyer who is going to stir the pot and create more conflict. You need an assertive lawyer who will stand their ground, while also doing everything they can to find a peaceful resolution to your issues.
5. Does your lawyer have time for you?
With smaller firms focusing on family law, you can guarantee that fees will be lower and the lawyers working on your case will be more attentive. Big law firms that do all types of law will typically have one or two main divorce lawyers with multiple associates working for them. You may only get to meet with your lawyer a couple of times and throughout the rest of your divorce, you consult with their associates instead. You want a divorce lawyer who actually has the time to work with you. Someone you can sit down with and talk to about your case.
There is nothing worse than working with a divorce lawyer who does not have time to work on your case or answer your questions or concerns. If your lawyer is from a reputable firm, they should have the right amount of time to work with you. But if your lawyer is constantly missing phone calls and important meetings, you should find a new lawyer. Communication is key to a successful result.
Work with us at Galbraith Family Law
If you are looking for a lawyer who can meet these five requirements, you have come to the right place. At Galbraith Family Law, we are committed to providing only the best services for our clients. We always work with the best interests of our clients in mind and we strive to resolve any family law issue with the heart. We are here to represent you proudly and to find the best method of resolution for your case. Our divorce lawyers have a variety of experiences in different areas of divorce law, so we can match you with the best lawyer for your case specifically. If you have any questions for us and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, give us a call at one of our five locations across Ontario. For our Toronto offices call 647-370-8965, for our Newmarket office call 289-210-4692 or you can reach us at our Barrie office at 705-230-2734. At Galbraith Family Law, we understand that divorces are hard, and we are here to help each step of the way to ease the process as much as possible.