Picking your representative in a divorce is an important decision that will impact the outcome of your case. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best family law attorney for your Connecticut case:
1. Start shopping: Speak to friends and colleagues who have gone through a divorce and get referrals. Look at divorce attorney websites. Make sure that your attorney focuses on divorce and family law as it is a very specialized area of practice.
2. Ask about fees. Inquire as to the divorce attorney’s hourly rate, and the rate for other divorce lawyers who might be working on your case. Also, some firms bill for paralegal and secretarial time. Have these fees spelled out in your retainer agreement. Ask about other fees you will incur, such as filing fees to start the divorce process, a process server to serve divorce papers, and the additional costs for experts who might be required, such as appraisers, accountants, or psychologists.
3. Come prepared to discuss your case at your initial meeting with the attorney: Bring copies of pertinent financial documents, such as your recent tax return and pay stub, and be prepared to discuss your specific financial circumstances. If there are children involved, be prepared to discuss any special medical, educational, or other issues that may impact custody or child support considerations.
4. Make sure your attorney is technologically savvy: Ask if your divorce attorney uses financial software to evaluate the tax ramifications of support and property settlements. Will your attorney scan and e-mail documents when he or she receives them? This can save you time and money and keep you well informed as to the progress in your case.
5. Make sure your attorney is financially savvy: If your matter involves business interests, trusts, or other complex valuation matters, ask your divorce attorney if he or she has experience in reviewing tax returns and financial statements, is willing to speak with your accountant, and has experience in undertaking matters which involve the valuation and distribution of these types of assets.
6. Evaluate and assess whether this is someone with whom you can communicate: A successful attorney-client relationship is largely dependent upon your divorce attorney understanding your issues and goals, and advocating those goals on your behalf in a timely and effective manner. Ask your attorney if he or she will provide regular updates, will be available to you on a weekend if necessary, and will operate as a “team” so you feel that you are in control of your case and understand where you stand at all times.
7. Make sure your attorney is experienced in custody matters: If you anticipate a custody dispute, it is important that your attorney not only has experience in custody, visitation and child support matters, but will be an effective advocate for you. Assess whether your attorney understands the nuances of raising children when parents are divorced, such as visitation schedules which make sense, child support orders which take into consideration the true needs of the children, and realistic guidelines for decision making in high-conflict situation
Dori- Ellen S. Feltman is a Divoce Lawyer in Fairfield County, Connecticut and represents clients from Westport, Fairfield, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Greenwich, Danbury, Monroe, Ridgefield and surrounding towns.