Three Best Rated® sits down with three award-winning divorce lawyers to get advice on how to pick a great divorce lawyer.
CALGARY, Alberta, April 1, 2019 /CNW/ -- Divorce is already a really stressful time for everyone involved. There's a thousand and one different things that have to be discussed, separated, and settled – all while dealing with the pain of losing a marriage. It can especially be stressful when two parties cannot reach an agreement on the divorce terms. This stress can be doubled, or even tripled, if children are involved. Three Best Rated® sits down with three award-winning divorce lawyers to help alleviate this stress and get advice on how to pick the best divorce lawyer for any situation.
1. Hire a lawyer that focuses on family/divorce law
When looking for any type of lawyer, the client will be told to search for a lawyer that specializes in their case. This isn't just a scheme lawyers have to get more money, but extremely important advice. "[Family law] is a complex area of law and you want someone who has practice committed to it," says Fraser MacLean of MacLean Law Firm. Each field of law has different procedure and stipulations, so hiring a lawyer that specializes in divorce and family law will have intimate knowledge on that particular subject. "When you are divorcing it is not the time to hire a family friend who practices in real estate law... You need a lawyer who not only knows the law, but knows how to work through the court system to resolve your conflict," Aubrey J. Sherman of Sherman Law LLP explains. A divorce has the potential to change the client's, ex-spouse's, and children's lives forever; therefore, it is very important for them to hire the best lawyer for the client's needs. "The terms of a divorce include child support, spousal support, parenting arrangements and property division," says Cyndy Morin of Resolve Legal Group. That's a lot of a client's life to simply gamble with a lawyer that doesn't specialize in family law. Clients also need to think about the area of expertise the lawyer has; for example, a lawyer that regularly deals with cases that go to trial. "Before a client can even think of hiring a divorce lawyer, they should know what kind of separation and divorce process they want to use," Sherman explains. "If they want to settle their case amicably, but they hire the biggest most aggressive shark in town, chances are they may end up fighting in court for no reason."
2. Hire a lawyer with the technical expertise
Clients should hire a lawyer that is familiar with the workings of their case and has a proven success record with dealing with similar cases. "Hire a family lawyer who has experience and success in the exact type of family law case you are involved in," MacLean explains. "You wouldn't hire a realtor who specialized in selling $100,000 condominiums when you are trying to sell your $10 million mansion. Similarly, if your case is a high-stakes divorce, make sure you hire a lawyer who is familiar with high net worth divorce and separation issues." The client risks having an unfavorable outcome if the lawyer is unfamiliar with the intricacies of their particular situation. High net-worth marriages and couples are a perfect example of the importance of hiring a lawyer with the correct level of technical expertise. "When spouses with high net-worth, high-value and complex assets are going through a separation and divorce, the standard rules and obligations do not always apply," Sherman explains. "The manner in which high net-worth spouses manage their financial affairs does not fit well into the system of family law." Similarly, if a client has children, hiring a lawyer that is used to dealing with childless couples may not be the best choice for them. "When there are children of the marriage/relationship, there are many decisions to be made as to where the children will live, who will make the major decisions for the child and what parenting arrangements need to be made to accommodate the child's needs," Morin explains. If a lawyer is unfamiliar with dealing with child custody and access, they may not be able to give the client the best advice on how to move forward with the divorce.
3. Trust your gut feeling
The client should feel comfortable and confident in their lawyer, and trust them. "[If] your gut is telling you to run, you need to listen," says Sherman. Even if the lawyer sounds perfect on paper, there will be a reason why the client's gut is telling them to run. The last thing a client wants is to get divorced and then several years later regret their choice of lawyer, because they didn't feel comfortable enough to clearly communicate their thoughts to the lawyer. Some "red flags" to look for include pushing the client to make decisions they aren't comfortable with, being unprepared, and simply agreeing with everything the client says. In the end, the person who has to live with the outcome of the divorce is the client – not the lawyer. "The lawyer works for them. This is the client's life," MacLean says, "The client has a right to choose the process for resolution after being educated as to their choices and informed as to the lawyer's opinion." While the client should respect and listen to the lawyer's advice, in the end, it should be the client's decision on how to move forward. If a lawyer suggests otherwise, it might be a sign to find a different lawyer. If the lawyer is unprepared and has the client's files in disarray, this is a huge sign to how the lawyer views the case – and a huge sign it might be time to look for a different lawyer. Finally, the purpose of a lawyer isn't to simply agree with the client's every idea. It's to represent the client in the court of law, and give them advice on the best course of action to take. "You need [a lawyer] who will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear," MacLean explains. In the end, part of trusting the gut feeling is making sure the lawyer fits right with the clients needs and wants, and respects them. "It is important to retain the services of a professional with whom you have a 'good fit' as you need to be able to rely on and trust that professional to guide you through what is often one of the most difficult processes that an individual can experience," Morin adds. This will ensure the whole process goes smoothly and increases the client's chance for success.
About Fraser MacLean
Fraser MacLean is an articled student with MacLean Law and son of Lorene MacLean Q.C., the founder of MacLean Law. At MacLean Law they are committed to helping their clients move to a better future through resolving their legal matter fully and completely. They offer a unique combination of progressive, practical legal strategies, with emotional intelligence and compassion. They pride themselves on their impressive track record and solid credentials. With a combined 200+ years of legal experience, a client can rest assured that their case is in skilled hands. Lorne N. MacLean Q.C. has been recognized for his excellence and was named one of the top three divorce lawyers in Surrey and Vancouver, BC for 2019 by Three Best Rated®.
About Aubrey J. Sherman
Aubrey J. Sherman is the managing partner at Sherman Law LLP. They first opened 40 years ago, and since then they have built a culture of professional excellence and excellent client service. They are committed to providing a creative approach for their clients, all while giving them knowledgeable and skilled representation. Their lawyers work as a team to think outside the box for creative solutions to their client's problems. Sherman Law always takes the time to explain their client's rights and obligations to make each client comfortable and ready to make the next step. Aubrey Sherman personally believes in helping their clients move forward with their separation and divorce to allow them to open the next chapter of their life. Sherman Law LLP was recognized for their excellence and was named one of the top three divorce lawyers in Kitchener, ON for 2019 by Three Best Rated®.
About Cyndy Morin
Cyndy Morin is a lawyer for Resolve Legal Group. Before becoming a lawyer Cyndy was an experience counselor focusing on families and youth. This experience allowed her to understand the effects of divorce on children and families, and how to approach the situation compassionately. She is also a certified Family Mediator and Private Investigator which adds value to her clients by allowing her to understand the dynamics of family relationships. She believes legal representation should be available to all which led to Resolve Legal Group establishing the seminar series Saturday Legal Coffee Breaks. She is also the talk show house of "Your Family Matters" which airs every Wednesday at noon. Resolve Legal Group has been recognized for their excellence and was named one of the top three divorce lawyers in Calgary, AB for 2019 by Three Best Rated®.
MacLean Law Firm
Aubrey J. Sherman
Aubrey J. Sherman is the managing partner of Sherman Law LLP
Cyndy Morin is a lawyer for Resolve Legal Group
SOURCE Three Best Rated