If you are going through a divorce or custody battle, it’s extremely important that you find a top divorce attorney to fight for you. In addition to being your advocate, your divorce attorney will also be your counselor or advisor. Listed below are some essential factors to consider when choosing your family law attorney in and around the greater Lansing area. Whether that be in Ingham County, Clinton County, Jackson County, Livingston County or in Eaton County, the list doesn’t change.
Past Client Success
When deciding on a divorce attorney, a good indicator of a skilled advocate is how satisfied they have left their previous clients. The divorce process is never a joyful one, but some clients are left a lot more satisfied than others. Even if you don’t personally know anyone who has worked with a particular law firm, you can simply ask the law firm if they have any client testimonials. This way, you can learn what kind of experiences others have had with these lawyers.
Today, there are client reviews all over the internet. Look for sites like Avvo.com or Birdeye.com to see how others felt about the law firms in your area. You will find many five-star reviews from our firm’s clients during the last 25 years.
Our firm has had a lot of success serving people across all professions: other lawyers, police officers, teachers, engineers, psychologists, professors, prison guards, and physicians. In addition, we have served many factory workers, government employees, stay-at-home parents, single parents, various blue collar workers, and students. We are proud to receive so many referrals from our past clients from around Mid-Michigan and across the country.
When clients become dissatisfied with their lawyer, it’s most often due to poor communication. When going through a divorce, you need a lawyer who is responsive, prompt, and available. Your family law lawyer needs to be ready to answer any questions you may have, so you can make informed decisions throughout the divorce or custody process.
Of course, you can ask the lawyer about their communication methods, but this is another area where it’s best to ask about the experiences of previous clients. You’ll also want to take note of the lawyer’s physical accessibility. Examples may include:
- Does the lawyer have an office or work from home?
- Is the lawyer’s office professional-looking?
- Is there a support staff to assist with your case?
- Are there other lawyers in the office that can help with your case when your lawyer is unavailable due to vacation, illness, or other professional commitments?
Only lawyers with extensive experience and numerous clients have lots of online reviews. Even then, you need a lawyer that has not just any kind of experience, but Michigan divorce and custody law experience. You are looking for an attorney that has dealt with all the local courts (this should be more specific than just the same state) and that knows the local judges and Friend of the Court offices.
Once your lawyer gets to know the local judges firsthand, he or she can establish their competence and credibility in a way that can help you. In sum, your lawyer needs to know the local rules and know how your judge’s courtroom runs.
Right from the start, you should have an honest conversation with your lawyer about costs and fees. A top Lansing attorney will typically charge a retainer up front billed against hourly fees.
Although it is always a bad idea to hire any professional based on price alone, some things to consider when asking about fees are:
- What is the hourly rate?
- How much of the retainer is refundable (if not exhausted)?
- How often will the lawyer send you an invoice?
- How much detail each invoice will contain?
Again, you can get more information through testimonials from previous clients. As with many other things in life, you usually get what you pay for with attorneys. Top-level attorneys often charge more than attorneys with only a few years of experience.
In the end, most people learn that paying for a highly experienced divorce lawyer is well worth the money. In fact, it could actually save them money in the long run.
Most importantly, you have to meet your divorce lawyer and decide from there how comfortable you feel with him or her. Does your lawyer seem trustworthy and honest? Do you believe in your lawyer’s skills and abilities? If you have any doubts at all about your lawyer, then you need to move on to the next one.
A divorce is too big a decision to leave in the hands of a questionable lawyer. Look for a family law attorney with decades of experience, good online reviews, a staff of other attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants, and law clerks.
Also look for references to referrals given to other professionals like accountants, private investigators and psychologists, and a strong reputation in the legal community for competence and integrity.
You can reach our family law attorneys by calling (517) 886-1000.