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Vetting a divorce attorney before making a selection

Lots of things in life are not user-friendly.

Like the fine-print assembly instructions that come with toys and put-it-together-yourself furniture. Like IRS tax forms. Like convoluted freeway systems that weave through select metropolitan areas.

And like understanding without help the intricacies and ins and outs of family law rules and processes.

That is a prominent point made in a recent article by a legal writer who offers up a number of suggestions for individuals trying to select an attorney to handle their divorce.

Here's one tip that is immediately stressed by columnist Henry Gornbein: Make sure that a lawyer you are considering has been around the proverbial block a few times.

Ensuring that a prospective advocate you are assessing commands the requisite experience to handle your divorce seems a most obvious duty to attend to, of course, but Gornbein underscores its importance, anyway, noting that it can take up to a decade "before an attorney really knows what he or she is doing."

Another stressed point is this: All else being equal, it might be the better move for prospective clients in most cases to select a lawyer/firm that represents both sexes in divorce matters rather than one that merely advocates on behalf of one gender.

And Gornbein makes this tandem observation, which might be fundamentally relevant to many persons scouting for family law representation.

First, he notes that it serves clients well when their attorney has proven trial experience even when going to court might not be necessary, because much that is gained in divorce representation owes to an attorney's perceived willingness to litigate a matter and pursue it to a successful conclusion.

Related to that, though, is the importance of a seasoned advocate's knowledge that litigation often should be a last resort and that other forms of dispute resolution -- like mediation, for example -- might confer an optimal result.

Persons seeking information about the family law process and trying to secure the right fit with an advocate to represent their interests should always feel emboldened to directly pose queries to an attorney they are considering retaining.

Indeed, having a candid conversation with a lawyer is the only way to gain confidence and assurances going forward regarding the appropriateness of a legal retainer.

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