HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD DIVORCE LAWYER IN ORLANDO
Choosing a divorce lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Going through a divorce is the second most stressful life-event anyone will experience. Only the death of a loved one ranks higher on the stress scale than divorce.
Here are some things you should consider when choosing a divorce lawyer:
Are their legal services affordable?
It just does not make sense to hire a lawyer you cannot afford. Would you buy a car with monthly payments you could not afford? Probably not! Would you buy a house with a monthly mortgage payment you could not afford? Most people would not do this. Would you intentionally have children knowing that you could not afford to feed them? Heck no! So why would you hire a lawyer with legal services you could not afford? It just does not make sense.
So what do you do?
Search for a divorce lawyer who offers a wide variety of divorce services and a lot of options to pay for the services you need.
Most divorce lawyers offer one option to pay for your divorce. It is called a retainer plus hourly billing. Here's how it works.
You pay the lawyer a large sum of money up front, typically somewhere between $3000 and $10,000. The lawyer will then bill you by the hour for everything they do for you, including reading and sending Emails, reading documents, researching the law, talking to other professionals, etc. So, you are writing the lawyer a blank check and have no idea how much your divorce will cost. There is no incentive for the lawyer to work efficiently for you. In fact, the longer your case takes, the more money they make.
What else to buy in this way? Don't you think it might be better to know how much something is going to cost before you buy it? That is how we buy most things isn't it?
There are other options that many divorce lawyers don't typically offer because of the risk involved. At Leap Frog Divorce, we offer a lot of options. Does the divorce lawyer you plan to hire for your divorce offer these options? Probably not. Leap Frog Divorce offers a wide variety of options for our legal services. Here are some of the options you get with Leap Frog Divorce:
FLAT FEE/FIXED FEE
You can hire a Leap Frog Divorce lawyer to handle your entire case, from start to finish, or you can hire us for just a part of your case. For example, maybe you want a lawyer to prepare all of your initial documents that you have to file with the court. And you will handle the rest of your divorce on your own. We do that!
Maybe you want to hire a divorce lawyer for each part of your divorce, one part at a time. That way, if you don't want your lawyer to handle the next part of your case, you don't have to. For example, Leap Frog Divorce offers a “pay as you go” plan. Does your divorce lawyer do that?
Maybe you've heard that most divorce cases don't go to trial, and you want to hire a divorce lawyer who will handle your case up to but not including a trial. We do that! And, we can do that for a flat fee. That way, you will know exactly how much your divorce will cost up to needing a trial. Doesn't this make more sense than writing a blank check to your lawyer and not knowing how much your legal services are going to cost you?
UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES
Maybe you want to pick and choose how your lawyer helps you. Or, maybe you want to hire a divorce lawyer to be your divorce coach or consultant. We do that!
Most people have a challenging time affording legal help for their divorce. And, unfortunately, most divorce lawyers do not offer payment plans. We do that!
At Leap Frog Divorce, we know that you need legal help and you need it to be affordable. So, we have implemented systems, software, and technology, to help us deliver affordable legal services to you with options.
Do you like the lawyer?
Most people don't think about this, just like they don't think that liking their medical doctor is important. It is! It really is!!
Most divorces last an average of 18 months. Some are shorter, some are longer, and some can take years to finish. This means you might be in a working relationship with your lawyer for a long time.
Do you want to work with someone you don't like? Probably not. Do you have to work with a lawyer you don't like? Absolutely not.
Most people like to deal with and work with people they like; people who are similar to themselves. When you had your first consultation with your divorce lawyer, how did it go? Did they listen to you? Truly listen to you? Did you feel heard and understood? Did you finished the consultation with a feeling that the divorce lawyer really got you? If not, keep looking!
How did the lawyer treat you during your first consultation?
Let's talk more about this one.
If you are planning to have consultations with divorce lawyers, the following are some things to consider. If you have had consultations with divorce lawyers already, think about how your consultations went regarding the following.
Did the lawyer seem happy and interested in talking with you?
Were you greeted with a smile? In today's pandemic world due to Covid-19, many lawyers are not meeting with people in person. And some are having consultations using ZOOM or FaceTime or with some other online meeting tool. And some have phone consultations.
A smile can bee seen in person or over a virtual/online meeting. A smile can even come through on a phone call.
The main takeaway here is did the lawyer seem sincerely interested in you or did it seem like you were just another number or an interruption to their day?
Did the lawyer empathize with you and your situation?
A lawyer will empathize with you when they communicate to you that they heard you and can imagine how difficult or challenging your situation must be for you. A lawyer who just asks you for the facts of your situation and does not acknowledge or recognize how challenging, tough, or frustrating your situation must be for you is not empathizing with you. Why is this important? Because the number one complaint about lawyers is that we are too cold and emotionless. The perception is that we don't really care. A lawyer who empathizes with you during your initial consultation is likely a lawyer who sincerely cares and wants to help.
Did the lawyer ask you important questions about you?
For example, did the lawyer ask you any of the following questions:
- What is most important to you in your divorce?
- What are you most concerned about?
- What are your fears?
- What do you have anxiety about?
- What would your ideal divorce look like?
- What are your short-term goals during your divorce and right after?
- What are your long-term goals after your divorce is finished?
- How have you dealt with conflict in your past? In your current relationship?
- What have you and your spouse argued about during your marriage and how did each of you handle the arguments?
Did the lawyer follow up with you after your initial consultation?
Some lawyers will conduct an initial consultation and then forget about you. Did you receive a follow-up email after your consultation? Did they help you understand what the next steps might be? Did they continue to send you free, helpful information? Probably not.
What this all boils down to is answering the question, did the lawyer I spoke with put me first and talk about what is most important to me or did they talk about themselves and how great and awesome they or their firm are?
Was the process to contact the lawyer and schedule a consultation easy?
Was it easy to schedule a consultation with the divorce lawyer? Was it easy to conduct business with his office?
The way you are treated and your interactions with the lawyer and their office that you have, leading up to, during, and after an initial consultation is probably a good indication of what it will be like working with them if you hire them. Was it a bad experience? A mediocre experience? Or a GREAT experience?
Do they have the knowledge and experience you need?
Here are some questions to think about:
- Has the lawyer been practicing for a while? How long?
- Do they focus their practice on family law cases, like divorce, or do they also practice other areas of law like criminal law, personal injury, immigration, bankruptcy, etc.?
- Do they know or have experience with your spouse's hired lawyer?
- What has been the outcome of cases they've handled with facts similar to your situation?
- What do they think is a reasonable result to expect based upon other divorce cases they have worked on?
Do they have good reviews and a great reputation?
We are all social and like to know what other people have done or think. For example, if 10 other people have had a positive experience working with a lawyer, doctor, or plumber, then chances are you will have a good experience as well.
Read a lawyer's reviews. Do any of the reviews include anything that is important to you?
There are a lot of lawyer review sites. The big ones are Google and AVVO.
Do they have a helpful website with a lot of free information?
Does your lawyer give away helpful information for free? Or do they only give information when they are paid for it?
Websites matter! Social media presence matters! Blogs matter! Video matters!
A lawyer who gives away free information to help people is likely a lawyer who is dedicated and committed to helping others. It might also be a good indication that a particular lawyer is more interesting in helping people than making a lot of money.
Websites today should be more than an online brochure about how great a law firm and their lawyer are. A law firm or lawyer's website should include a lot of free, helpful information that is focused on you, the consumer, not the lawyer.
The world has changed. And lawyers and law firms who change with it are in the best position to help you. Today's world demands a client-centered, client-focused lawyer and law practice. You, the customer, is what matters most. Serving you in the best way possible and giving you the best customer experience should be the focus. The lawyer should never be the focus.
I would love to welcome you as a new Leap Frog Divorce client! I look forward to meeting you and learning how my legal team can best help you solve your legal problem.