Going through a divorce can be traumatic, chaotic, and just plain stressful (emotionally and financially). You have to decide how to divide up your property, from your home to your music collection—that’s before you even start thinking about child support.
You have to fight for equal custody if you have children and you might even be put in the position to fight for custody over your shared dog.
You want to make this hectic time in your life as less stressful as you can. That’s why it’s so imperative to hire an affordable but tough divorce attorney.
But you don’t want to hire the first divorce lawyer you come across. You want to make sure they are credible, have an excellent background, and have the qualities you need for a less painful divorce.
This guide is to help you pick the best lawyer to have you on your side as well as some of the factors you need to consider before you hire a divorce lawyer/divorce attorney.
What to Look for in a Divorce Lawyer
1. A Contested Divorce vs. an Uncontested Divorce
Whether you have a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce can help you decide what lawyer you need and how affordable your divorce will be in the long run.
An uncontested divorce is when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on everything, such as child support and spousal support down to the last detail. These are peaceful divorces where you only have to deal with the hurt of your separation with your loved one.
You don’t have to battle tooth and nail over everything you’ve accumulated during the marriage. With an uncontested divorce, you usually pay a flat and cheaper fee than if you have to deal with a contested divorce. Since you don’t have to deal with settlements or arguing, the process is much faster.
A contested divorce is a longer and more painful process. This means you and your spouse are having disagreements on child custody, alimony, debt, or splitting up the property. You may even be arguing about getting the divorce.
A contested divorce is going to be more costly and take a long time to complete. In most cases, both of your lawyers will try to settle out of court. This will take both you and your spouse to give in to each other’s demands or come to a compromise on different subjects.
In the worse case scenario, you will end up in court in front of a judge.
For a contested divorce, you’re going to need a lawyer with a superb background for settlements.
Your divorce lawyer should have separate legal fees for contested divorces versus uncontested divorces.
Check their history. See if they’re able to get through an agreeable mediation so you don’t have to end up in court.
2. The Lawyer’s Specialty
You can’t hire just anyone with a law degree to assist you during your divorce. You need a lawyer who specializes in what you’re looking for, someone with expansive knowledge in divorce.
You need a lawyer who specializes in divorce no matter what you’re told. If you’re dealing with a contested divorce, you need someone with intimate knowledge in family law—especially if you’re in the unfortunate position of fighting for custody of your children.
There are law firms out there that will send you a lawyer who specializes in something entirely different, like bankruptcy. These lawyers may be great in their fields but they don’t have the intense knowledge of family and divorce law that you’re going to need.
More and more lawyers are offering free consultations for divorces. Your consultations is not only a meeting to find out what they can do for you but also a time to interview them.
You don’t want to hire the first lawyer you speak to. You want to look around for a lawyer to fit your needs. This is why consultations can be so important. Use your consultation to interview the lawyer. Make a list of your questions and any concerns you may have before the meeting.
Don’t be afraid to take a close friend or family member with you so there’s an outsider analyzing the lawyer as well.
Make sure the lawyer you’re dealing with answers your questions thoroughly. They should also explain the situation and the strategy they have for you in terms you can understand, not in legal jargon. Confirm the legal fees and confirm that you will have one lawyer dedicated to your divorce. You don’t want a firm that will pass you from lawyer to lawyer so no one knows the details of your situation.
How the lawyer answers your questions will determine how hard your divorce lawyer will work for you. If they dismiss your questions, you’re going to want to move on to a different person.
The Top Affordable Texas Divorce Lawyers
Law Office of Marx, Altman, and Johnson
Dallas (469) 518-3357
Fort Worth (817) 886-4479
- They practice divorce law in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.
- They offer free consultations, payment plans, and affordable flat fees.
- Rodrick D. Marx started his practice in 1992, specializing in divorce and family law only.
- Marx has expanded his office to include divorce lawyers Aaron Benter, Richard Johnson, Max Lisle, and Victoria Weaver.
- They stick to values and fight for the best outcomes for their clients.
Arlington (817) 522-4451
Dallas (972) 362-6848
Fort Worth (817) 764-1375
- Kohm works in the Arlington, Dallas, and Fort Worth areas.
- He offers a free consultation.
- He has lawyers who speak Spanish if Spanish is your first language.
- He knows each case has different needs and is there to help you along the way.
Dallas (214) 340-8515
- This law office runs and practices law in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, and Tarrant County.
- She provides phone consultations.
- Schutz specializes in family law and knows the ins and outs of divorce law.
- She’s been practicing law since 1998.
- She works with you as a team to fight for your rights.
The Bottom Line
Make the stress of a divorce more bearable. Take the time to find an affordable, decent lawyer who has your best interest in mind.