how to find the best divorce lawyer

You should always be suspicious of any attorney who describes themselves as the best lawyer in their practice area. From a legal representation standpoint, “best” is a subjective term. The best divorce lawyer for a parent with children might not be the best divorce attorney for a person with no children but a lot of complicated assets.  Some attorneys specialize in collaborative law which is an approach to divorce designed to reduce conflict but can be inappropriate for some divorcing spouses.  Other attorneys may consider working on your case on an “Unbundled” or “Limited Scope” basis which generally saves money but requires you to do a substantial amount of the case work yourself.

How do you find the right attorney for your individual circumstances?  You might find that talking to someone familiar with local divorce lawyers is the best way to get answers.

Speaking with a local lawyer referral service, like the Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service (MNLRIS), is one of the most reliable ways to find the right attorney for your needs. Although the referral counselor you talk to won’t give you legal advice on your divorce, they can help you find an attorney with family law experience that fits your situation.

MNLRIS referral counselors are familiar with hundreds of Hennepin and Ramsey County attorneys in most areas of the law, including family law, child custody and divorce. They can identify local lawyers with the right type of experience for your divorce and schedule a consultation with one who is more likely to be a good fit.

The first lawyer you consult with might not always be the perfect match, which is why you can get a second referral at no additional charge.

Different Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) used in Family Law Cases in Minnesota

If you and your spouse do not agree on the terms of your divorce, you may want to consider ADR.  Divorcing couples who utilize ADR may avoid the emotional and financial costs of trial.  There are many types of ADR that may be available to you including:

  • Arbitration with a Parenting Consultant or Parenting Time Expeditor
  • Collaborative Law
  • Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE)
  • Mediation
  • Moderated Settlement Conference
  • Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE)

Many people in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area aren’t aware of these options, or the pros and cons of utilizing these tools, until they speak with a divorce lawyer. If you’re thinking about divorce, it may be in your best interest to speak with a MNLRIS referral counselor to schedule a consultation with a local divorce lawyer.

Uncontested Versus Contested Divorce in Minnesota

Divorce, which is technically called “Dissolution of Marriage” in Minnesota law, can be either contested or uncontested.

Uncontested divorces are almost always preferable because they’re faster, less expensive and often less emotionally challenging. Whether you and your spouse can have an uncontested divorce really depends on the level of agreement on the big marriage dissolution issues.

It helps if both spouses are on the same page about how they will:

  • Divide marital assets and debts
  • Handle child custody and parenting time
  • Divvy up child support, insurance, child tax credits, etc.
  • Arrange alimony, legally known as “Spousal Maintenance.”

When spouses do to not see eye to eye, various forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be used to help facilitate an agreement allowing you to avoid trial.   Speaking with an experienced family law attorney will help you analyze the pros and cons of each form of mediation or arbitration.   Some form of ADR is often ordered by the court prior to trial.

If ADR is unsuccessful, you will need to proceed to court and have the unresolved issues decided by a judge in a divorce trial. The cost of your divorce will depend on the number of hours your family law attorney will need to invest in your case.  Be prepared.  In order to promote your interests, attorneys must spend a great deal of time preparing for and attending your trial.

Get Help Finding the Best Divorce Lawyer for Your Situation

Our referral counselors at the Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service will strive to connect you with a family law attorney who is local, licensed, and experienced.

MNLRIS takes a lot of the legwork and guesswork out of finding the right divorce lawyer for your situation. Call us at (612) 752-6699 or fill out our online form to request your appointment with a referral counselor.