So you think you may be heading down the path of a divorce. Or maybe it hit you like a ton of bricks – you just got served with papers from your spouse. Your spouse has an attorney, so you probably need one too, but who?

Selecting your attorney is an important choice, and one that should not be taken lightly. Your attorney is going to be the person helping to guide you through one of the most painful transitions you may face. He or she needs to know what they’re doing and be able to advise you of all your options, rights and responsibilities.

First, ask your friends and family. The very best referrals are often firsthand from someone who has been through what you’re going through. After you have some options, check them out online to ensure that the attorneys you are considering practice family law exclusively, or at least as one-half of their practice.

Next, you need to decide what kind of case you want to have. Do you actually want to go to court? Then it’s important to look at the attorney’s website and speak with him or her about their trial experience. If they have never been in the courtroom, they may not be the best choice for you. If you want to try to avoid court at all costs but the attorney’s website is filled with words and themes about fighting for their clients, winning at all costs, or how “tough” he or she may be, then that may not be the best choice for you either. Do you have a specific desire to mediate or divorce using Collaborative Law? Be sure that the attorney you choose is trained to offer you those practice options and has the credentials to prove it.

Finally, you need to meet with your attorney and see if your personalities mesh. Consider it an interview for a legal expert that you want to hire. Your attorney should be like a good friend – someone who is not afraid to give you hard news and play devil’s advocate with you. Your attorney’s job is not to tell you yes, but to inform you of what your very best and very worst outcomes may be, and then to guide you toward a conclusion that works for your family. If he or she doesn’t warn you of the worst thing that could happen if you go to court, for example, keep looking.

If you are looking for an attorney to handle your case and are not sure where to start, set up a consultation with one of the family law attorneys at Wanzer Edwards.