The process of a divorce is one unlike anything else you will ever go through. It is intimate and personal to you, but also has a huge financial component that can affect your life in a huge way. It is imperative that you are comfortable with your legal representation. That being said, the divorce attorney who represented your best friend or your boss, or your Aunt, may not be the attorney who will best represent you. So, how do you know if you hired the right divorce attorney?
Answer These Questions to Evaluate Your Lawyer
There are certain things that you must pay close attention to when interviewing your divorce attorney, but also when working with your attorney, to ensure that you are in the best hands. Consider these questions to evaluate your attorney.
1. Does my attorney listen to me?
Having an attorney who does not listen to what you are saying is a huge red flag. Whether they are forgetting things that you already told them, or disregarding your instructions, it should not happen, either way. Occasionally, someone may forget a detail about something or need to be reminded. No one is perfect. However, having to re-tell your attorney something important numerous times is a sign that they either are not paying attention or are not organized, both of which can lead to larger problems.
2. Is my attorney aggressive enough or too aggressive?
This is going to depend on you and how you want your case handled. If you want an aggressive attorney because you have thought through your case and believe that is what is in your best interests, that is your prerogative. However, an attorney who is only aggressive and has no ability or desire to try and negotiate will be expensive. It also has to depend on what type of attorney you are up against. If your spouse hired an attorney who is extremely aggressive, it is important to select someone who has the ability to be equally as aggressive, or who can manage an aggressive attorney properly, to ensure you are not stomped all over. Additionally, if you are hoping to have an uncontested matter and your spouse is not hiring an attorney, an extremely aggressive attorney could turn them off of the process of doing this as an uncontested cause. This is a decision that has to be well thought out, with your end goal in mind. The answer for everyone is different.
3. Is my client file being handled properly?
Are you receiving copies of your case file and communications as they come in, or do you never hear a thing? Is your spouse telling you that your attorney never responds, or that you missed a court date? Are there other red flags, such as court dates being missed, phone calls not being returned, and the like? It is best to have a conversation with your lawyer about these things immediately as they happen. If these are repeated occurrences, that is a huge red flag.
4. Does my attorney communicate the details of my divorce case to me?
Do you know when your next court date is? Do you hear from your lawyer after a court date in a timely manner to find out what happened in Court? Do you receive copies of court orders? Do you understand the process of the case and where you are at in the process? If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, your attorney may not be communicating your case details to you in a proper fashion. Perhaps you are comfortable with that and you trust your lawyer. More often than not, though, clients want to be in the “loop” regarding what is going on in their case. This is something to be wary of.
So, should I switch divorce attorneys?
That, also, depends. Switching divorce attorneys is not an easy thing to do. You have to obtain your case file and then find a new lawyer, who then needs to come up to speed on your case file. Having a revolving door of attorneys in a short period of time is a red flag to potential attorneys you’d want to hire as well as the Court. It might make you look as if you are difficult to work with. Perhaps you have just been plagued with bad attorneys, and in that case, you need to do more research before hiring someone else. Look up the attorney on the Illinois state bar website, read reviews, read about their accomplishments. Make sure they are a good fit for you before retaining them.
Switching attorneys should not be taken lightly. However, don’t be discouraged from switching because you are afraid it will make you look bad. If you have a bad attorney, they will make you look bad and switching is your only option. The choice is personal, but it is fairly common for a party to hire the “wrong” divorce attorney for their case and need to do a switch. It isn’t something you should be afraid to do if it will benefit you in the long run.
Searching for the Right Divorce Attorney? Call Anderson & Boback
When you are searching for a Chicago divorce attorney that is right for you, you can count on Anderson and Boback Family Law Attorneys. For more than 20 years, our divorce attorneys have been representing Chicago clients with a wide range of family law and divorce issues, including helping clients that come agree on everything and just need guidance to finalize their divorce. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.