Going through a divorce or other family law matter is difficult enough. The Portland, Oregon divorce and family law firm of Brittle & Brittle P.C. provides the following common-sense advice when searching for an attorney to assist you. Your attorney should be there to help resolve issues, not make them worse. With this in mind, here are the top ten things that you might wish to keep in mind when interviewing lawyers for your family law matter.
1. A Good Fit for You
First and foremost, you should feel comfortable with your lawyer. You are trusting your lawyer to give you solid and unemotional legal advice about the most important crisis in your life. You should always discuss with your lawyer what type of divorce you envision having — Do you want a knock-down, drag-out battle? Do you want it to be amicable? Do you want to resolve things via the collaborative divorce process? It is very important that you and your lawyer are on the same page of how the case will progress and the tone you will take in your case.
2. Puts Your Children First
We believe that children are the primary priority in any family law case. Children should never be involved in litigation and should never be used as pawns to achieve a parent’s goals. In cases of high conflict or older children who need a voice in court, our lawyers may recommend that a separate lawyer be hired on behalf of the children.
3. Is Trustworthy
If your entire experience with lawyers consists of watching TV, you may believe that the “best” lawyer is the sneakiest one or the one that skates the closest to the line of legality. Resist the temptation to find such a lawyer. Ultimately, judges will be unimpressed with such a lawyer’s behavior, and opposing counsel will be much more difficult to deal with (meaning more expensive for you). Ultimately you will have a more costly and contentious divorce, with little gain to you. Our lawyers are all in good standing with the Oregon State Bar and strive to embody our motto: Advocacy with Integrity.
4. Open to Questions
Your lawyer should answer your questions, both about the law and the strategy being employed in your case. If you are feeling confused, you should email your lawyer and follow up on any issues you may not understand. The lawyers at Brittle & Brittle believe in educating our clients throughout the process. We consider you part of the team, and clearly you know your own situation better than anyone else. However, remember that your lawyer cannot predict the future, and the area of family law is very fact-specific. We can give you educated information about what you can anticipate, but we cannot guarantee outcomes.
5. Presents Well to You
We consider our first consultation to be an interview — both for our firm to decide if we will take on a prospective client, and also for the client to decide if they will hire us. Remember that your lawyer will be presenting you in court. Make sure they project the image you desire.
6. A Problem Solver
Many lawyers get tunnel vision and focus on “winning” at any cost, to the detriment to a client’s wallet and family. Our lawyers listen to your goals and focus on coming up with cost-effective and creative ways to resolve problems. Most cases settle without ever stepping foot in a courtroom, and those that do not often settle at least in part. Rather than hiring a lawyer who will attack opposing counsel and drag the parties through the mud, hire one of our lawyers and find resolutions.
7. Up-to-date on Technological Tools
Property division, child support issues, and many other family law matters involve online or software tools to assist lawyers in making intelligent and educated recommendations to their clients. Lawyers who are not up to date with their technology may have also failed to stay up to date on the law. In addition, your lawyer should also be proficient in using email and backing up your records electronically. At Brittle & Brittle, every document that comes in or goes out of our office is digitally scanned and stored securely. This allows us to provide documents to clients quickly via email, or provide a full digital copy of your file at any time.
8. Offers a Variety of Process Options
Our lawyers educate clients on the various methods of resolving your family law dispute. From traditional litigation to collaborative divorce to mediation, we make sure you know all of the options available to you before we begin down any one path.
9. Conscious of Your Budget
At Brittle & Brittle, we are aware that clients have specific financial limitations. We advise clients on ways to minimize their legal expenses (both in our office and in the process as a whole). In addition to traditional representation, we offer “coaching” behind the scenes on an as-needed basis.
The lawyers at Brittle & Brittle have strong legal backgrounds. We all offer a great deal of experience in both the courtroom and in negotiation situations. Having and experienced and professional Oregon divorce lawyer on your side can make the difference in outcome for your case. Our experience allows us to better advise our clients of what they can expect if they take their case to court.