Red Bank Divorce Attorney, Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., provides insights into choosing a divorce attorney. Tips you don't want to miss.

Why is it important for you to retain the right family law attorney? For starters, you will be investing time and money into your case. Moreover, who you retain to represent you in your divorce will likely impact the outcome. Since it takes one to know one, here are my top three tips to look for in a family law attorney:

  • All Aboard? The hard truth is that some of us care and some of us simply think of the practice of family law as a job. The ones that do not care should be relatively easy to spot but sometimes they hide it well or you are too upset to notice. If you get the feeling that the attorney is insincere, unsympathetic, or just plain uninterested in your case, then I suggest you exit stage left. Divorce is devastating and emotionally draining on everyone, including your attorney, who must and should feel vested in the outcome of your case from the very start. The connection between attorney and client is a relationship of its own, and you need to feel a certain level of trust, comfort and confidence in the person who will represent you. When clients come in to see me, I take the time to learn what brought them to my office in the first place. I want to know who they are as a parent and spouse, why their marriage is ending, and where they see themselves in five years. Although I am not a marriage counselor, I need to understand my client if I am going to be an effective advocate for them.

  • Avoid the “Dabbler”. Let’s just say that if a surgeon handed me a scalpel and said “cut,” I would have no clue where to begin and shudder at the thought of the ill-fated patient under my hand. The same is true for the attorney who practices in other areas of law and decides to take on a divorce case or two (hopefully not for fun). By choice, I immerse myself exclusively in the practice of family law. Why? Because truly understanding family law and being an effective advocate does not come from a rule book or law treatise. It simply cannot be learned by taking on a few divorce cases and throwing oneself into the ring at family court. Rather, it comes from devoting oneself so completely to it, that on a daily basis you absorb the nuances unique to family law like a sponge. I am talking about the “system” that is family law -- rules, cases, laws, judges, litigants, attorneys, each one more different than the other, but alike in so many ways. You do not get that kind of exposure by dabbling in family law.

  • Look for the “Chameleon.” Some clients might say, “My spouse’s attorney is really aggressive and I want you to equal that.” Some might say the opposite. Truthfully speaking, I am what I need to be in any given case to try and get the result that my client is looking for. It is important to know who I am dealing with on the other side, both client and attorney, so that I can temper my personality accordingly. Most family law attorneys in a given area know one another. You start to get a feel for what makes the other attorneys tick, what their game is, and how you will play your hand. It is all in the strategy and negotiation. So yes, I am a bit of a chameleon when it comes to practicing divorce law. When you examine it from that angle, so much becomes possible. In sum, look for the divorce attorney who does not appear to be one-dimensional, can adapt to any situation, and change gears (or colors) in an instant. Then you will spot who is a “chameleon” and who is not.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not to construed as legal advice. Be sure to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter that you may have.

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