So, you have decided to hire a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma. Smart move. There are hundreds of lawyers out there; how do you choose? Better question: how do you select the best divorce lawyer for you? In this article, I will share my opinions about what you should look for, and what you should avoid when choosing the right attorney for you.
While this article is written in the context of a divorce case, you can use this same strategy in any child custody, child support, divorce, or paternity case. The same considerations would also apply to both mothers and fathers in any case.
Search for an Attorney With Extensive Experience Helping People Like You
I think the best starting point should be to search for an attorney with extensive experience with your exact type of case. A common theme in my articles is my belief that you don’t have to make things harder than necessary. Here is a perfect example.
- Grandparents with guardianship or visitation issues should look for an attorney who focuses on representing grandparents.
- Mothers in a divorce or custody cases should look for an attorney who focuses on representing mothers in divorce and custody cases.
- Fathers in a divorce or custody case should look for an attorney who focuses on representing fathers in divorce and custody cases.
Pretty straightforward. Now that we have established that you should meet with an attorney dedicated to helping people in the same circumstance, we are ready to move on to the next step.
Find and Attorney Who Understands You
Just as important as any of these other considerations is finding an attorney who understands you and you feel comfortable dealing with. An attorney/client relationship is just that – an interpersonal relationship. At its core are the same principles as in any relationship. You must understand each other, communicate, and get along. This does not mean that you are looking for your new best friend in your attorney. However, it does mean that the basics of any relationship must be there, or as with any other relationship, it won’t work.
Find an Attorney Who Will be Straight With You.
There is nothing that I hate more than having to tell people news that I know they don’t want to hear. Without question, this is the worst part of the job, at least for me. I would rather be the guy delivering lottery checks where there is always a happy ending.
While that is the part I hate the most, I also understand that it is the most important part of my job. You can’t make informed decisions about your case if you are not informed. If you don’t know what’s realistic, it’s impossible to know when to settle or take it to trial.
You have to find an attorney that will be straight with you. If someone promises you nothing but sunshine and rainbows, that should be a warning sign. The best attorneys will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. They will take the best approach to your case based on their experience of what works and what does not. There is a big difference between fighting for a client and walking them off a cliff.
There Is No Such Thing As A Win/Loss Record in Family Court.
There is no scoreboard and no such thing as a win/loss record in family court. Any family lawyer who tries to tell you, “I have a record of 47 wins and two losses in custody cases,” is just plain yanking your chain. Unfortunately, there is NEVER a winner in family court. When your family is divided by a divorce or a custody case, EVERYONE loses. The trick is to get the best result possible.
For argument’s sake, let’s pretend there was such a thing as a win/loss record. Think about this example:
- First there is Attorney #1. They will only represent people with uncontested cases. This guy never loses. He gets what his client wants every single time. Attorney #1 is 100 – 0. That is a hell of a record! In fact, this attorney has never lost a case, ever!
- Then there is Attorney #2 who takes cases no other attorney in town will even look at because they are hopeless. His clients have no chance, absolutely zero. Other attorneys feel bad for the guy because he loses and loses big all the time. However, by some miracle, this attorney has managed to get what the client wanted in 2 out of 10 cases. No lawyer in town could have pulled that off. The record of Attorney #2 is a dismal 2 – 10. He loses 80% of the time!
So, who’s the better attorney? Attorney #1 who wins 100% of the time, or Attorney #2 who wins 20% of the time. You tell me.
I use this example to illustrate that even if there were such a thing as win/lose record in family court, statistics would mean nothing.
The Best Divorce Lawyer in Oklahoma For You: Follow You Gut
Asking friends and family for referrals can be a good place to start. Reading reviews can also be helpful. Reading the attorney’s bio to learn more about them as a person is a good idea. However, just because an attorney happened to be the best divorce lawyer for your buddy, does not always mean that person will be the best divorce lawyer for you. Everyone is different.
When the attorney you meet just doesn’t feel right, that is probably not the right attorney for you. You will have to trust your attorney because you are going to be making life-changing decisions in a divorce or paternity case. If it does not feel right, that will make you hesitate when it comes to decision time. That hesitation could cost you. If you don’t feel a sense of trust, move on and find someone else.
The secret to finding the right divorce lawyer for you is really not so much a secret as it is common sense. My advice for picking the right lawyer is always to follow your gut. Pick the person you connect with. If the first lawyer you meet feels right, ignore all of the internet B.S. about you should first meet with five attorneys before you hire one. If the attorney you meet feels right, is qualified, good at what they do, and you feel like you will be able to work well together and communicate effectively, hire them!
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Copyright 2021. Pete D. Louden. All Rights Reserved.