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Tips for selecting a divorce attorney

One of the most confusing and emotionally-draining experiences a person may ever have is a divorce. Divorce is a major life change, especially for spouses who did not sense the end of a marriage was near.

Choosing a divorce attorney in Brooklyn, or elsewhere in the state, may come at a time when trust is difficult to give. Experts agree that the integrity of a lawyer-client relationship during a divorce action is essential. The correct choice for legal representation comes down to personal preference.

Selection of a divorce lawyer frequently starts with a referral from a friend, colleague or family member. In the absence of a personal referral, an attorney directory or a local Bar Association can suggest lawyer options.

A divorcing spouse who asks for suggestions from a trusted circle has a basis from which to work. Divorce advisors recommend following up the referrals with an attorney meeting. The interview is an opportunity to gauge the level of a client's legal needs against an attorney's experience and expertise.

A consultation determines a comfort level, which starts at the point of contact. If an individual feels accommodated after calling an attorney's office, the legal relationship is off to a good start. A voicemail trail and limited lawyer availability are signs a case may not receive adequate attention.

A spouse should develop an outline of known issues that may affect the divorce before entering a consultation. Some documents, like court orders and prenuptial contracts, are useful at a first meeting. Initial discussions include a spouse's goals prior to divorce and an after-marriage plan that can address child custody, support or asset division issues.

Attorneys are bound to keep information a client provides private. The assurance of confidentiality invites openness. A divorce lawyer's advice is dependent on a client's truthfulness and full disclosure.

Hiding or obscuring facts does not help. Attorneys are not judges. They develop legal strategies for all types of divorce scenarios. Neglecting to share awkward marital details can weaken a case.

Inquiring about an attorney's credentials, experience and pay structure is recommended. Responsive divorce lawyers who suggest realistic outcomes and maintain regular client contact are preferable to attorneys who exaggerate results.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "How To Interview A Divorce Lawyer," Lloyd C. Rosen, Mar. 3, 2012

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