Just about anyone who's gone through a divorce will tell you that it's in your best interest to hire an attorney. Finding the right divorce lawyer, however, seems like a daunting task. It doesn't help that the state's divorce laws are so confusing, and that there are numerous options for divorce, for which you may or may not need an attorney.
Regardless of your situation, choosing an experienced, trust-worthy attorney is essential to resolving your divorce in the most civil and efficient way possible. It's also the best way to ensure that your rights, as well as those of your children, are protected long into the future. While there's no perfect formula for how to choose an attorney, there are some time-proven tips that can help you in your search.
- Be wary of "too-good-to-be-true" sales pitches.
Because divorce cases are determined by the unique circumstances in each marriage, there are many things that can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. You should be wary of any lawyer that uses words like "promise" or "guarantee" when it comes to a divorce settlement. A good attorney will also encourage you to pursue non-litigation options such as mediation, which is usually faster and cheaper than going to court.
- Check the attorney's credentials and certifications.
Highly experienced divorce attorneys will be involved in various state bar associations such as the Family Law Committee and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). You may also want to consider an attorney with the matrimonial law certification, a designation given by the New Jersey Supreme Court to attorneys who have demonstrated the highest level of knowledge and experience.
- Make sure the attorney has extensive trial experience in the NJ courts.
A long history of trial experience in the NJ family courts is essential, since each state has their own set of divorce laws and court procedures. This level of knowledge and experience is critical to ensuring that you receive sound advice on your rights and options. Your attorney should also have a good reputation with the judges and fellow attorneys in the New Jersey superior courts system.
- Select an attorney with whom you have a good rapport.
This sounds obvious, but many people choose lawyers solely based on their fees, or how aggressive they are in court. While these are important qualities, keep in mind that you will need to work very closely with your attorney, possibly for many months depending on your case. Furthermore, you will need to disclose extremely personal information throughout the divorce process, which is difficult to do with a person you don't like or trust.
Remember, the right attorney should make you feel like an individual, not just a case or a retainer fee. Experienced lawyers, like the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. will offer you a free initial consultation so that you can judge for yourself whether an attorney is right for you.