Selecting the right divorce law firm may be one of the most important decisions you will make in your life, if you have the unfortunate circumstance of going through a divorce. This guide is intended to provide in-depth instructions for locating, interviewing, and ultimately hiring the right divorce lawyer for your case. There are thousands of lawyers in Massachusetts that practice in the field of family law, and reading this guide will push you in the right direction for this important choice.
Top 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer
These six pointers are applicable to anyone looking to hire a divorce and family law attorney in Massachusetts:
1. Do your research.
There are many ways to research divorce attorneys. Different review sites, such as Avvo and Yelp, and Google provide avenues for an attorney’s former clients to provide reviews about the attorney. Additionally, groups like Super Lawyers provide information about peer-reviewed attorneys. Finally, groups like the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) provide an extensive accreditation process for divorce lawyers.
2. Interview more than one divorce lawyer
Most divorce lawyers provide a free consultation, and the only thing you have to lose by not interviewing more than one attorney is time. Would you buy a car without test driving a couple different options? Because choosing a divorce attorney for your Massachusetts case will be one of the most important decisions of your life, take the time to interview several options. Different attorneys take different approaches to divorce, have different levels of experience, offer different pricing structures and so on.
3. Watch out for false promises
During an initial interview, get to know your attorney. Ask for examples of their experience. When the divorce lawyer describes the process, ask them for realistic projections for the resolution of your case. Attorneys are not permitted to guarantee results. However, experienced divorce lawyers in Dartmouth, New Bedford, Mattapoisett, and in Boston should be able to project results based on the facts of your case. If the divorce lawyer is not able to provide you with realistic outcome projections, beware.
4. Look for impartial accreditations
Although Massachusetts does not provide certification as a specialist in divorce as some other states do, you can still research whether the attorney is accredited in other ways. Some attorneys are designated as Super Lawyers, which comes from a peer review. Others are certified as trial lawyers by various organizations. Martindale Hubbell offers a rating. And the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) is a great place to find a divorce lawyer – these lawyers are the best in Massachusetts. Click here for the attorneys that are listed in the Massachusetts chapter of the AAML.
5. Find a divorce lawyer that is geographically convenient
Divorce attorney offices can be found throughout the Commonwealth. Finding a divorce lawyer that is geographically convenient to your home or work is important. What is more important is to find a divorce lawyer that is geographically convenient to the Probate and Family Court where your case is going to be. Different counties require divorce hearings to occur at certain locations, and it is important to understand which courthouse your case will be heard. The less time it takes your divorce attorney to travel to and from hearings, the more money you will save in attorney fees. Here are a list of some of the main Probate and Family Court locations:
- Suffolk County (Boston) – The hearings are held in Boston, so consider hiring a Boston divorce lawyer
- Middlesex County – The hearings are held in Cambridge, so consider hiring a Boston divorce lawyer
- Norfolk County – The hearings are held in Canton, so consider hiring a Boston divorce lawyer, Canton divorce lawyer, or Brookline divorce lawyer
- Plymouth County – The hearings are held in Plymouth or Brockton, so consider hiring a New Bedford divorce lawyer, or Plymouth divorce lawyer
- Essex County – The hearings are held in Salem, so consider hiring a North Shore divorce lawyer or Boston divorce lawyer
- Bristol County – The hearings are held in Taunton, New Bedford, or Fall River, so consider hiring a Taunton divorce lawyer, New Bedford divorce lawyer, a Dartmouth divorce lawyer, or Fall River divorce lawyer
Keep in mind that saving money on travel time is just one consideration. Paying a top-notch divorce attorney to travel to and from hearings may be worth every penny.
6. Check the BBO listing for each attorney you plan on interviewing
The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) provides a search to review the information for every licensed divorce attorney in the Commonwealth. The BBO listing for each attorney provides information on whether that attorney has ever been disciplined. The BBO attorney search website can be found here.
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