“Love is grand, divorce is a hundred grand.” Truer words have never been spoken. Divorce drains- emotionally, physically and when it comes right down to it, financially! And to ensure the legal separation isn’t any tougher than it needs to be, one has to be excruciatingly careful while choosing a divorce attorney. So is there a blueprint or finding a great lawyer is merely a matter of luck? Let’s find out.
Anshika, 33, works for a large multinational company in Mumbai. As the year changed from 2018 to 2019, so did Anshika’s marital status from married to divorced which she achieved after a 4-year long battle in court.
About divorce lawyers, she says: “My lawyer is not only someone who bills me for attending my court proceedings, but also someone who represents my thoughts and ideas on the case. It is therefore essential to have someone you trust; someone you have confidence in. I would possibly not be at ease with a lawyer I do not have faith in.
When asked about the best way to find a divorce lawyer, she says: “It does not matter if the lawyer is hired through a recommendation or just by an accidental search. What is important is the conviction that the lawyer will represent me fairly. I know of people who have switched lawyers between ongoing divorce proceeding, thanks to a flawed choice of the first lawyer.”
She continues and says: “It goes without saying that the lawyer needs to be fully abreast with the facts of the matter as well as with the ever-changing laws of the country. Trust me, an already intricate divorce matter could get really tricky if your advocate goofs up.”
Anurag, on the other hand, takes an unequivocal stand. Anurag, 32, like most of us, was really looking forward to a blissful marriage. He decided to tie the knot in New Delhi in 2015, but within 6 months of the marriage, his wife left her marital home. He woke up one morning to hear that she had filed multiple cases against him and his family with the Women’s Cell in New Delhi.
Anurag, who is presently fighting it out in the court of law with his wife, picks the other extreme and very sternly says: “My only input is that the lawyer should be known or through a reference. Because these lawyers dupe you for money. They are very selfish and money minded. I have had a couple of really terrible experiences.”
Geetika Jain, 30, Advocate High Court, Mumbai, who has represented about 45 divorce cases in her 10-year career, has this to say about a ‘choice of divorce lawyers’:
“Recommendation is the key. Without goodwill in the market, it is very difficult to get new clients. Of course, a lawyer has to be a good listener and must be poised enough to file for divorce only after understanding the facts of the matter.”
Speaking about mutual consent divorce cases, she says: “In some cases, a common lawyer is hired for a mutual consent divorce. The requirement of both the parties is then to have a lawyer who is not biased and keeps in mind the interest of both the parties involved.”
Speaking about tech-savvy and informed clients of today, she says: “Some clients are very bright. They do their research before hiring a lawyer. They not only take into consideration the years of experience and the background of the lawyer but also fetch information about the number of cases that a particular lawyer has taken to a settlement.”
She explains to us the concept of hiring a need-based lawyer with some examples: “A lawyer can also be hired specifically to the requirement of the party. For example, if a lady is hiring a lawyer for a contested divorce and wants to ensure she gets the custody of her child, she will look for a lawyer who has a good track record of custody related cases.”
Advocate Nirmala Menghrajani, 65, Advocate Family Court, Bandra, Mumbai, who is a specialist for mutual consent divorces, says, “In mutual consent cases, usually, the divorce lawyer is common to both the parties. Since the husband and wife have decided to part ways amicably and respectfully, largely there is no war of words in the courtroom. Therefore, a collective lawyer eases out the communication channel with the court. It also avoids any difference of opinion that may arise between lawyers in a pretty simple and straightforward divorce.”
She highlights the cost factor and continues to say: “The lawyer fees in terms of the cost becomes half since both the parties have to pay the same lawyer. So generally, one of the parties finalizes the lawyer, and the other one contributes exactly half towards the lawyer fees. We cannot ignore the fact that a couple undergoing a divorce may have a financial budget.”
While a large number of people prefer hiring a lawyer through a trusted reference or a strong recommendation, some do not mind experimenting with their attorneys, as long as there is a connect. In most cases, the idea is to have someone who eases out the fatiguing process of going through a divorce.