Having the right divorce lawyer for you is really, really important. I’m not saying that different lawyers aren’t good, as different styles or ways of pursuing a case might be effective. However, you need to have somebody that you feel comfortable with, and knowing how they’re going to go forward with your case gives you a comfort level.
I always say you need to look for someone who’s willing to partner with you. What does that mean? That means that it’s someone who’s not going to take the case over so completely that you have nothing to say about your case. That’s not wise – you need to be responsible and accountable for your choices in a case.
But at the same time, you don’t want someone who just does whatever you say, and doesn’t think about what the consequences of that are. You want a true partner. Someone who you can say, “Here’s what I want, here’s what I’m committed to. What’s the best case scenario? What’s the worst case scenario?”
That gives you a great place to start: “Give me my best case scenario, both what could happen, and how much it will cost, and give me my worst case scenario, what could happen, and how much it would cost,” so you aren’t just reactive and going down the case, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s a very important question. When you ask that question, you’re going to understand whether you’ve got a partnership-based attorney or not. Because if it’s not a partnership-based attorney, they’re not going to want to answer that question.
You’ve got to know what kind of lawyer you’re looking for, so I have pet names for different kinds of lawyers. As you know, my preference is the partnership-based attorney. That’s what you could expect from me and from this firm.
There are bulldog attorneys. They’re attorneys that are going to be contentious no matter what. They’re going to look for reasons to fight. Why would that be? Well, personality of the attorney. And certainly, it’s a costlier case if you’re arguing over every little thing. For some, it simply makes people feel good. Certain people want someone who’s just going to fight over everything because they’re angry. My opinion is, that’s not a very smart move, because, especially if you have children, you’ve got a long term relationship as being co-parents. Not the best thing to just try to punish someone. You’ve got to look at your long-term consequences. But there are people that that’s really what they want, so there are attorneys out there like that.
Then there’s the “stick your head in the sand” attorney. You know, the attorney that really doesn’t want to go to court, and doesn’t want contention at all. They’re not comfortable with court, and those attorneys will push you to settle. Sometimes it’s appropriate to settle, sometimes it’s not. It really depends on the case.
So that’s why I always come back to the advice that you should really look for a partner. Look for someone that wants you to be part of the case, and wants to be in communication with you, and wants to talk to you about each step of the process and how it’s going to look. That’s your best case scenario for an attorney.