Three considerations for hiring a Washington divorce lawyer

Due to the sensitive nature of divorce and the impact the outcomes may have on people’s futures, it is important they use care when hiring their attorneys.

In 2014, the divorce rate was 3.6 for every 1,000 residents in Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After making the difficult decision to split, many people obtain legal counsel to assist them. The legal representatives whom they choose may affect the outcomes of their cases, and thus, their futures. Therefore, those who are getting divorced should consider several factors when making their choice to make sure they hire the lawyer best suited for their families and needs.

The costs

When it comes to the expense of legal representation, there is no set or standard fee schedule. Consequently, the costs may vary greatly from one divorce lawyer to another. It is common for people's funds to be tied up in their dissolution proceedings or settlement negotiations, which may affect their budgets. Thus, it is important for people to ask about the fees when getting referrals and researching potential attorneys.

Credentials and qualifications

Just as they would if they were hiring someone to work for them in a professional setting, people should look into the qualifications of the divorce lawyers they are considering. This includes checking their education information, certifications, areas of focus or specialty, and professional affiliations. Certain credentials or experience may set one lawyer apart from the others as a better fit.

For example, custody is a significantly contested issue in a couple's divorce. The divorcing spouses may seek legal representatives who primarily handle child custody matters over ones who focus on domestic violence or hidden assets.

Comfort level

The issues people must delve into when getting divorced are often of a highly personal nature. Since alternative dispute resolution is mandatory for contested divorces, except under certain circumstances, people may have to openly discuss sensitive issues. Therefore, it is essential that their personalities mesh with their legal representatives.

Those who are divorcing may consider interviewing potential attorneys before making their selection. During such consultations, people may ask questions about their own situations, as well as the lawyers' backgrounds and styles. Additionally, they may watch how the attorneys interact with others, including their staff. This may help people determine whether they feel comfortable with the lawyers who they hire to represent them.

Looking to the future

Making the decision to split may be difficult enough for married couples in Washington and elsewhere. It may be even more challenging, however, to navigate the legal process and agree on terms with their partners after their relationships have broken down. As such, it may benefit those who are getting divorced to work with an attorney. A lawyer may look out for their interests and negotiate on their behalf, which may help alleviate some of their stresses.