17 Mar Top 3 Qualities the Best Divorce Attorneys Possess
Why should you care about getting the best divorce attorney? For starters, getting a divorce is rarely easy. Even if both separating partners agree on all of the nitty-gritty details of marital dissolution, the technical and legal aspects of the process can take a huge amount of time and effort. And in the likely and unfortunate situation that the details of marital dissolution are not agreed upon by both parties, it will be even more important for you to have the best divorce attorney in your corner to protect your interests. But the best divorce attorney usually isn’t about a price tag, a nice suit, or anything else that you can figure out without doing your research. When looking for the best divorce attorney, what do you need to keep in mind? But what exactly makes for a good divorce attorney? Here are the top 3 qualities the best divorce attorneys possess.
1. Regionally Specific Knowledge
If you want the best divorce attorney, you need an attorney who knows what they are doing. Divorce is often a very legally intensive process, and deep knowledge of all of the requirements of executing a divorce from a technical perspective is absolutely necessary. If your divorce attorney isn’t confident about what paperwork needs to be completed, what practices need to be followed, what details need to be confronted, and what professional actions need to be taken, you can be sure you aren’t getting the best divorce attorney for your case.
But a working general or national knowledge of divorce law and practice isn’t always good enough when you need the best divorce lawyer to represent you well. And a quick look at the wide variation in divorce law from state to state paints a vivid picture of why this is the case.
In New York, assets acquired after a couple files for divorce are no longer considered “communal,” but in Connecticut, all assets accumulated up until a divorce is finalized are considered “marital” and are fair game for divorce hearings. In Illinois, child support payments are based on a fixed percentage of the non-residential parent’s net income without taking much else into account, but in nearby Michigan non-residential parents will pay less child support if they spend more time with their children. I California, if one partner earns more, the court can order the higher grossing party to help pay the legal fees of the lower grossing party. In Nebraska, inheritances can be considered separate property rather than a communal asset, even no prenuptial agreement is signed specifying this designation.
The point here is obvious: if your divorce attorney doesn’t know the specific knowledge of separation law in your state and region, you can’t expect things to go well. And there can be much more variation by divorce law than just those that occur between states. Local divorce courts might have certain filing expectations, norms revolving around professional courtesy, and other hyper-regional particulars that can have a huge impact on how divorce proceedings play out.
The best divorce attorneys are incredibly knowledgeable about all of the intricacies of divorce law as they apply to the geographic area where divorce is filed, and take into account all of the needs of their clients as they relate to the larger legal framework in their relevant locations. By remaining highly knowledgeable about all of the specifics of divorce law in the region where they practice, the best divorce attorneys assure a higher quality of service and a level of competency that you won’t find in an attorney not familiar with regionally specific divorce proceedings.
Divorce can be one of the most emotionally taxing and complicated experiences in a person’s life. The presumably once rewarding and steadfast bonds of matrimony are cast aside, families are rearranged and new expectations around such emotionally charged issues as child rearing are set in legal language, and all of this change and the challenges that come in tow makes it almost impossible to conduct divorce proceedings without feelings getting hurt.
With the emotional realities of divorce being defined by stress and hardship, do you want a lawyer who remains removed from the emotional struggles you face? Or do you want a lawyer who takes your feelings into consideration, treats the emotional impact of divorce delicately, and conducts their legal responsibilities with care for your emotional state? Empathy, or the ability to recognize and react to the feelings of others with delicacy and consideration, encompasses all of the desirable qualities of the second lawyer above and is one of the most important things that the best divorce lawyers bring to the table.
An empathetic divorce lawyer will be in tune with your feelings and emotional state throughout the entire divorce process, and will adjust their interactions with you accordingly. An empathetic divorce lawyer will be creative about finding legal solutions that cause you the least emotional harm, and will treat their professional capacity as a calling to provide a needed service rather than a lucrative set of technical operations. And most importantly, an empathetic divorce lawyer will see you and others as people with feelings and needs rather than only pieces in a legal puzzle.
Besides making professional interactions much more pleasant for clients, empathetic divorce attorneys are ultimately more effective in their roles. By understanding your emotional needs and factoring them into their legal processes, an empathetic divorce attorney is more likely to produce results that will make you happy. By approaching divorce court with care for emotions and how they affect separations, an empathetic divorce attorney is more likely to work to put your children first, and help minimize the emotional damage that divorce can inflict on those caught in the crossfire. By being accustomed to recognizing the feelings of others, an empathetic divorce attorney will be more effective in handling interactions with judges and other lawyers as well, as a touch of empathy goes a long way in handling potentially precarious divorce proceedings.
To re-illustrate how important empathy is in defining the best divorce attorneys, think about what a lawyer without empathy looks like. When attorneys aren’t accustomed to paying attention to their client’s emotional needs, it can be hard or impossible to resolve divorces in a fashion that leaves clients truly happy. With a divorce attorney without empathy, you may get competent legal service, but you won’t get the attention to detail, consideration, and care that makes the best divorce attorneys carry out their divorce practices with an empathetic touch.
3. Well Maintained Support Network
With divorce being an emotionally taxing endeavor, and the individuals involved in a divorce relying so heavily on the professional knowledge and technical expertise of their legal representation, it is very likely that emergencies will arise where you need to get in touch with your attorney immediately. But attorneys are people too, and even the best divorce attorneys need time off and may be unreachable when you need them most. So what’s the answer?
The best divorce attorneys are able to meet their client’s needs around the clock by maintaining a support network for you to utilize. The first example of this kind of support network often manifests itself in additional staff: if your attorney has trained paralegals, clerical assistants, or in-office support attorneys knowledgeable about the details of your case, you are much less likely to be hung out to dry in times of crisis. When your attorney maintains this kind of network in the form of professional staff, you always have someone to call when things get tense and you need counsel.
But this is not the only way that the best divorce attorneys can maintain support networks. Your lawyer might be the best divorce attorney around without maintaining any kind of additional staff at all, as long as they have still put together a network that you can rely on in times of need. For example, single lawyer practices may refer you to an allied colleague that can help manage your concerns when your attorney is unavailable. Or your lawyer may have close relationships with nearby legal clinics, law school professors, or even emotional support services, all of which can be very useful to you in an emergency if your attorney can’t respond to your needs immediately. Whatever form your attorney’s network takes, as long as your divorce lawyer maintains a robust support network and provides you access to this network, you can trust that your needs will be met consistently.
Additionally, through maintaining a support network, your divorce attorney proves to you that they can reliably communicate with colleagues and/or staff on a professional level, which can be vitally important to your case. The kinds of attorneys that maintain support networks for their clients demonstrate excellence by meeting your needs for consultation and demonstrate an ability to interact and communicate with these networks, both vitally important reasons why the best divorce attorneys will provide their clients with networks of support during divorce proceedings.