Regardless of your situation, divorce is a stressful experience. However, with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, you can navigate the turbulent waters of divorce with a calm and steady hand to guide you. Unfortunately, you have to be careful when you look for a divorce lawyer. There are no shortage of family lawyers out there, but not all of them execute their jobs to the standard we’d like to see. Here’s how to find one that does.
Ask a Divorce Lawyer: 5 Things You Should Expect From Great Representation
1. Speedy Responses
Even though your lawyer will have other clients, you should feel that you’re the only one. A great indicator of a lawyer’s dedication and workload is how quickly they respond to you when you need something. From the moment you call the law firm for your first consultation, you should get a quick response and have an appointment scheduled right away. Once you’ve agreed to use their services, you should expect the same treatment.
Some may think that a busy law firm is a good one, so your lawyer taking a few days to get back to you is actually a good sign. There are certainly some lawyers that use this argument, but in reality, delayed communications mean one of two things. Either your lawyer is overburdened with too many cases to dedicate enough time to yours, or they’re not working hard enough. Neither situation is ideal.
2. Expert Advice
While this might seem to be an obvious thing to expect, you would be surprised at how many mistakes lesser lawyers can make. A recent case from Galveston reveals just how problematic things can become when lawyers don’t do their jobs well. In this case, a couple hired a Texas lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement before getting married. The husband, however, found mistakes in this agreement and filed for divorce. Nevertheless, both spouses died before the divorce could be finalized.
The person charged with executing the couple’s will consulted another lawyer to determine how to proceed. This second lawyer claimed that the executor had to resolve the issues with the prenup agreement to determine how to distribute the family assets. It turns out that one mistake led to another, as the prenup couldn’t be challenged posthumously. Bad advice on both ends frustrated the executor, who filed suit against both law firms. Choose a lawyer that won’t let you down.
3. Careful Planning
Many divorce cases are resolved out of court. However, when child custody cases arise, courts often have to hear both sides in a trial. These cases are notoriously contentious and Texas law does not make it any easier. While there is a bill floating around the Texas state legislature to change how child custody is handled, currently it stands at a 75-25 split by default. This means that one spouse, typically the mother, will automatically be given majority custody.
To even reach a 50-50 agreement, one side is going to have to put forward excellent arguments. This is where the top divorce lawyer in Houston would thrive. Having lots of experience with these cases, expert divorce attorneys know how to persuade a court to accept a more favorable custody division. Great lawyers can help you construct a solid argument through careful planning and legal evidence gathering. Don’t settle for anything less.
4. Deep Knowledge of Texas Law
Every year we see cases where judges make mistakes. However, these mistakes can often be attributed to poor legal representation the client received. Judges listen to arguments put forth by lawyers. If a judge applies the law poorly, odds are it’s because a lawyer didn’t know better. A great example comes from Collin County, where a woman who wanted a divorce was refused and ordered to submit to a Sharia law trial because of a prenuptial agreement.
A smart lawyer would have recognized right away that Sharia law is unenforceable in the United States and is in direct conflict with several constitutional standards. The prenup was never legal from the beginning. However, the woman’s attorneys didn’t use this argument, and the court ruled in favor of the husband. Upon appeal, the case was sorted out and the woman was granted justice. Nonetheless, this case could have been closed in minutes with better legal representation.
5. A Winning Record
A successful law firm has the track record to prove its worth. They should be able to point to news articles and public records to provide evidence of their victories in court. Since most divorce cases in Texas are kept open to the public, you should have no problem getting access to proof. If a law firm is hesitant to brag about their success, perhaps they don’t have any to begin with.
Now that you know what to look for and what red flags to beware of, choose the best divorce attorney instead of settling for one that might make your divorce even worse.