Contrary to popular belief, affordable divorce attorneys are not extinct in Georgia. You can find an affordable divorce lawyer in Georgia without costing a fortune but you may be surprised to discover where to begin.
To begin with, don't feel fooled by a low initial “retainer.” A retainer is nothing more than a deposit or down payment. If you were buying a car and had the option of paying a $1,000 initial down payment on a Chevrolet or a $950 initial down payment on a Mercedes, the fact that the retainer is less for the Mercedes wont change the fact that you will end up paying 3 or 4 or more times than thee cost to buy the Mercedes. A retainer can be any amount and is nothing more than a deposit for future services to be provided.
In reality, initial retainers have very little correlation to the actual attorney's fees you may end up paying in a divorce. The total amount of the attorney's fees will be based upon (i) the hourly rate charged by the lawyer and (ii) the total number of hours the lawyer bills for his or her services.
So be sure to look for a lawyer who charges a reasonable hourly fee based upon his or her years of experience and a lawyer who has a reputation for resolving cases in a cost efficient and timely manner. Check the lawyer's reputation and crosscheck that reputation with a background check of any prospective lawyer. In many Atlanta counties, you can easily research a lawyer's case history to get a tremendous history on the lawyer. For example, any one can look up a lawyer on the Cobb County Superior Court website and not only see the cases they currently have but see past cases as well. Looking up a lawyer and doing your own background check can provide a lot of useful information, including the lawyer's level of experience, history of successes and losses, prior case outcomes and average length of time the cases are open. In most instances, the longer a case is open, the more the lawyer is billing the client for his or her services. Lawyers who resolve cases quickly typically are doing so for a lot less money than lawyers who take several months or even years to resolve cases.
Also, online shopping may be great for sweaters and shoes but has limited usefulness when it comes to finding an affordable divorce lawyer in Georgia. Talking to prospective lawyers one-on-one before you make a decision is far more valuable. Ask the lawyers who you interview what kind of approach they take for resolving cases. Will he or she prepare a settlement proposal early on in the case or wait months or possibly years before pushing to settle a case? Is the lawyer likely to advocate lots of legal maneuvering that will only run up the fees in your case or is there a well-defined strategy that is utilized? Make sure the lawyer's approach to divorces is consistent with your needs.
After taking to a prospective lawyer on the phone, be sure to meet the lawyer in person. Make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer, can envision as close working relationship with him or her and don't have any nagging concerns about the lawyer's abilities. You not only need to feel like you are in good hands but you need to make sure you are comfortable confiding in the lawyer about everything and taking his or her advice to heart.
Finally, if you want an affordable divorce attorney in Georgia, do what you can to reduce unnecessary fees and expenses in your case. Don't call the attorney ten times a week if you don't want to pay ten separate billing entries for phone calls. Don't email the lawyer every time your spouse upsets you unless you are prepared to pay for your lawyer's time in reading and responding to the emails. And don't make your lawyer, or his or her office staff, contact you repeatedly for documents or information. In order words, if you want an affordable divorce in Georgia, you not only need to hire the right lawyer from the start but you need to respond to your lawyer's requests for information or documents in a timely and efficient manner.
It takes teamwork to get a great outcome in your case without breaking the bank. Divorce can be affordable in Georgia as long as you understand that it takes work to find the right lawyer to hire, commitment to being a good team player with your lawyer and discipline to ensure that both you and your lawyer are held accountable for timely and efficient results.