If you've just begun the process of searching for an attorney to help you through your divorce, you may be overwhelmed by the choices. There's no shortage of family law attorneys here in Southern California. So how do you select the one who's right for you?
Remember that you'll be going through a highly personal, emotional experience with your attorney. Therefore, you want to find one with whom you feel comfortable, who understands your goals and, of course, who has a deep knowledge of California family law. That's why it's wise to choose an attorney who specializes in that field instead of one who divides their practice among many different areas of the law.
You likely have at least a few friends, family members, colleagues and others in your circle who have gone through a divorce. Start there to get some referrals for attorneys to meet with and "interview" for the job. Pay close attention to the recommendations of people who were seeking the same things from their divorce as you are.
Avoid being influenced by online reviews. Yelp may be fine if you're looking for someone to put in new flooring, but it's probably best not to rely on that site or similar ones when choosing an attorney. One online site you should check, though, is calbar.ca.gov. It provides information on attorneys' licensing and any disciplinary issues.
Be prepared to talk to more than one attorney. A consultation (which attorneys often provide at no charge) will help you get a feel for whether the two of you will get along and how they will approach your divorce. You can also ask about their process for communicating with clients, whether they offer flexible hours and what their fee structure is.
While fees are certainly a consideration, don't just look for the least expensive attorney. As with just about everything, you generally get what you pay for when you hire an attorney. An attorney who can work to get you a fair settlement with a minimum of delays, court battles and additional filings may cost you less in the end than one who is less experienced.