Divorce proceedings can be stressful, emotionally draining and expensive. The decision to divorce is likely one of the bigger decisions you will make in your life, so taking the time to avoid costly mistakes is always recommended. When hiring a divorce lawyer, there are certain mistakes that are bigger than others and thus should be avoided whenever possible. The following list are some of the more common and yet biggest mistakes to avoid when considering which Fairfax divorce attorney to hire.
- Not hiring a specialist. Your divorce lawyer should be just that; a divorce lawyer, not an estate lawyer or a contract lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer. Hiring a lawyer in general practice is not a good idea, either. The attorney you hire should be specialized in family law and divorce law. While you may have complete faith in an attorney who has handled your estate issues or drawn up your will, he or she is not necessarily the best choice to handle your divorce.
- Not discussing fees and payment schedule in advance. Ideally, you are better off financially if you choose an attorney that charges a flat fee to handle your divorce case, rather than charging you by the hour. In this way, you can plan financially for the payment of that fee and feel relatively secure that there will be no financial surprises. If at all possible, avoid hiring an attorney who bills by the hour, as this makes it very nearly impossible to predict the final total and can also be an incentive for a less than scrupulous lawyer to have your case take longer than it should in order to inflate his or her fee.
- Hiring a Fairfax divorce lawyer solely because of his or her reputation as the meanest lawyer in town. You run the risk in this case of finding an attorney who may not act with your best interests in mind, but rather with the interest of maintaining his or her reputation. While your divorce lawyer should be assertive enough to represent your interests in the courtroom should it become necessary, he or she should also be able to recognize when a settlement would be more in keeping with your best interests.
- Along the same lines as the last item, hiring a lawyer simply because he or she is sympathetic to your plight is also a bad idea. While you may be an emotional wreck during a divorce, you need an attorney who can balance this with rational business sense and work toward an end that will be beneficial for you in the long term. While an attorney that sympathizes with you is nice, it should not cloud your judgment for finding the attorney most competent for the job.
- Whatever your reason for seeking a divorce in the first place, ensuring that you find the best divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia for the job is essential to your surviving the divorce process with the least possible damage. By avoiding some of these common mistakes, you can hopefully also avoid long term financial damage once you have left the marriage behind.