First, copy all financial documents. Copy all tax returns for the last five years. Make copies of all investments. Copy all mutual fund account totals, bond fund totals, IRA accounts and 401K totals.
Then, begin to call friends who have gotten divorced or who have known someone who has been divorced. Ask them for referrals. Then, you will be able to begin calling attorneys and setting up appointments.
If calling friends does not get you anywhere. Do not look in the yellow pages! Great lawyers are known and don’t need to advertise.
Instead, go visit the courthouse where your divorce decree will be finalized. ( If you live in a big city this doesn’t apply to you)
Those who live in smaller cities, go to the court house and ask security what divorce lawyer they would use if they were going through a divorce. Security is at the courthouse all the time. They are like nurses in a hospital. Nurses know who the good doctors are because they work with them all the time etc..
Security in courthouses are the same. They are there day in and day out. These people see and know the lawyers who are respected by the judges.
Once you have some names, start making calls and set up appointments. If you call lawyers office and are treated poorly by the staff. This is a bad sign! Scratch that attorney off your list. A good lawyer hires good staff. The staff should treat you with a good attitude.
When you’re at the first appointment, check out the office. It does not need to be posh. But, it should be nice. The waiting room should be clean and nicely decorated. The lobby should say success.
While you wait, you’ll be given the paperwork to fill out. Fill the paper work out honestly. Don’t faint when you see the retainer amount. Great lawyers charge a lot.
The retainer for a great divorce lawyer can range from $4,000.00-$6000.00. But, the good news is that great lawyers will use your money wisely. You should expect an accounting statement each month. One that is itemized with every charge from your retainer fee.