Step One – Retain a Fair Minded Attorney - How To Find the Right Divorce Attorney
If you live in Atlanta, or in the greater Atlanta area, and are dealing with a divorce or any type of family law problem, please contact Russell Hippe. (Mr. Hippe commonly handles divorce cases in Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Douglas, Paulding, and other surrounding counties.) However, Mr. Hippe has designed this website to help anyone in the United States find the right divorce lawyer. So no matter where you live, please review the Roadmap Steps and the below links carefully. The tips and information can help, no matter where you live in the U.S.
For an uncontested divorce, even if you and your spouse are in agreement on all terms, the drafting of the legal documents must still be handled with care. The Settlement Agreement will likely be the most important document you will ever sign. And every settlement agreement is unique. Mr. Hippe commonly handles uncontested divorces, is skilled at drafting settlement agreements and parenting plans, and offers an attractive discount from his standard hourly rate. If you are outside the greater Atlanta area, you should contact several local attorneys in your area and see who can provide you with the best value. You should not choose an attorney on price alone and be wary of cheap "flat fees". In these situations, the attorney often provides only boilerplate forms and minimal assistance.
If you and your spouse are not yet agreed on terms, you need to search carefully for the right lawyer. You want someone "fair minded" - somebody who will do his or her best to get you settled, who will help you follow these Roadmap Steps, who will agree to the Pledge, and who is competent to win at trial if you can't settle.
If it appears you are heading for an expensive contested divorce (if you have a combative or angry spouse, are dealing with significant marital misconduct, and/or there are marital resources to burn on lawyers), it would be best if you and your spouse, working thorough "fair minded" attorneys, could agree to formal, pre-filing plan, similar to a collaborative law participation agreement, tailored to your specific situation, that provides for settlement structure prior to the expense getting out of hand. The traditional collaborative participation agreement is a contract - like any other. There is no reason it cannot be improved to fit your situation. At a minimum, both attorneys should accept the Pledge or something similar.
And, although you may expect your divorce will be settled quickly, you can't count on this. Therefore, you should negotiate with your attorney assuming the matter will be fully contested. Accordingly, you should review the Managing the Expense link below carefully before you sign any engagement agreement.
In order to find someone "fair minded" like Mr. Hippe here are some tips:
1. Ask the attorney to review the Roadmap Steps and get his or her comments. Ask if he or she will agree to the Pledge or some variation. As the client, you have the right and power to instruct your attorney to agree to the Pledge or something similar.
2. As a precaution in case your case goes contested, you want someone with good experience, who knows the judges, who can win in court, but who also has a fair hourly rate. Mr. Hippe has significant trial wins in both domestic and business cases - see Results - and a fair hourly rate. (His standard requested hourly rate for domestic cases is $325/hour.)
3. Ask what percentage of his or her divorce cases settle. Mr. Hippe seeks to settle all of his domestic cases on reasonable terms, as early as possible.
4. If your case goes contested, ask what is the average cost of a contested divorce (complaint to final order) on a per file basis through his or her practice.
5. Ask for what his or her specific strategy would be to settle your case early.
6. Make it clear that you are looking for someone who will set aside excessive advocacy and focus on efficiency. If your attorney will agree to the Pledge, you are covered.
7. As noted in the "Managing the Expense" link below, ask if he or she will discount his or her rate based on your ability to pay and/or offer a fee cap. Mr. Hippe seeks to make his services affordable and fair.