Articles

Choosing a Divorce Attorney

By: Attorney Kristen J. Vidas

Nearly every person in New Jersey will need to hire an attorney at some point during his or her lifetime. For many of you, the first time you hire an attorney will be in connection with the dissolution of your marriage. So what should you look for when choosing a divorce attorney?

First and foremost, choose a divorce attorney with whom you feel comfortable. You are going to have to confide in this person the details of your relationship with your spouse as well as the details of your finances and lifestyle together. So choose someone with whom you can communicate easily.

Second, choose an attorney that is capable of taking your case to trial. Even though an overwhelming percentage of divorce cases do settle before trial, you want to have someone on your side that can try your case if necessary. If you choose an attorney who is not equipped with trial skills and trial experience, then your spouse’s attorney can - and most likely will - take advantage of your attorney’s lack of courtroom prowess and use that advantage to force a settlement in your divorce that is more advantageous to your spouse and less advantageous to you.

Third, especially if you or your spouse owns a business, choose an attorney who has some background in business, either by way of education or experience. The attorney you choose should be able to analyze business and personal tax returns, balance sheets, and other basic financial information. Such analysis will be crucial in identifying issues in your divorce relative to marital income, lifestyle and support.

Finally, consider choosing a divorce attorney from a New Jersey law firm that offers diversified services to its clients. Oftentimes, attorneys specialize in one or two practice areas and have limited general knowledge in other areas. A diversified firm can offer you specialized knowledge in 5 or 6 practice areas, depending on the firm’s size. Not only will a diversified law firm provide your divorce attorney with legal resources in the event a novel or complex issue arises in your case, but such a firm will provide you with legal resources for other concerns that either arise out of your divorce, such as the need for a Will or a Power of Attorney, or occur during your lifetime, such as a workplace injury, automobile accident or municipal court matter.

About the Author

Kristen Vidas is a partner specializing in family law with the New Jersey law firm of Pellettieri, Rabstein & Altman.
 

Learn more about Family & Divorce Law

Legal Resources:
Articles Blogs Video Center Glossary

1-800-432-LAWS