How to Choose a Divorce Attorney
Deciding to pursue a divorce or separation is certainly a difficult decision, but it can be only the first of many. You now need to hire a divorce attorney to ensure that someone fights for your rights and the best interests of your children. With issues as contentious as child custody and support, alimony, property division, and division of debts and assets on the line, the last thing you want to do is try to represent yourself. Even so, finding a divorce attorney whose experience and personal attributes line up with your expectations isn’t always easy.
Consider Experience and Exclusivity First
At many law firms, representing clients in divorce cases is just one of many services the law firm offers. The lawyers also work with people filing personal injury claims, workers’ compensation cases, business lawsuits, and much more. Although the attorneys may have significant legal experience, the frequent jump between different practice areas means they don’t necessarily specialize in any of them. In contrast, at The Cate Law Firm we’re devoted exclusively to the practice of family law, and our firm has been serving family law clients around the upstate since 1995.
Ruth Cate, our founding partner, has practiced law since 1977. Additionally, she has worked and lived in Spartanburg that entire time. Besides representing clients facing a divorce, Ruth Cate’s other areas of focus in family law include high asset divorces/ complex asset distribution, alimony and modifications, and various child-related issues.
Similarly, Rachel Brough has 15 years of legal experience, starting with her position representing domestic abuse victims for the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s office. She now enjoys working to ensure the rights of children and parents as a family law attorney in private practice at Cate Law Firm. Her practice also extends to representing parents involved in actions brought by the S.C. Department of Social Services.
Margaret Nowell grew up in Spartanburg and returned to her roots in 2011 after earning her law degree. She has worked with Cate Law Firm ever since, and focuses her practice on an array of family law issues, including adoption, child custody and support, divorce and asset division, and a wide range of other family law areas.
Together, our three attorneys have more than 60 years of experience in divorce and other family law issues. We encourage you to inquire about experience, education, and professional memberships when you interview divorce attorneys. It’s also good to gauge your comfort level with any attorney you meet with, and ensure your expectations regarding communication and representation will be met.
A Clear Communication Policy
When clients fire their divorce lawyers, it’s often because they felt the lawyer was not available enough to answer questions or provide updates about the case. Their calls went to assistants or voice mail and they had little to no follow-up with their own attorneys.
Facing a divorce is stressful enough on its own. You don’t want to deal with someone who evades your phone calls, doesn’t respond to your emails, or continually puts off your requests for an in-person meeting. When you’re paying for the time and expertise of a divorce attorney, you expect accessibility and professional communication. You will receive both as a client of Cate Law Firm.
Your Own Comfort Level with the Attorney
This one is perhaps the most important of all. You may find someone with extensive experience in divorce cases and who charges a fee you can afford. However, these reasons may not be enough to follow through with hiring the attorney if you don’t feel comfortable with him or her. As you interview potential divorce lawyers, pay attention to whether you feel heard and respected. Does this person seem like he or she wants to advocate for you and your children? You will know this by the expression of genuine concern with your situation.
If you feel uncomfortable during an initial consultation, trust your gut and keep looking until you find the person you can visualize representing you. A relationship this important should never bring anxiety, fear, or mistrust.
Learn More About the Divorce Attorneys at Cate Law Firm
Ruth Cate, Rachel Brough, and Margaret Nowell all love the satisfaction of helping clients through difficult life transitions such as divorce. We invite you to contact our Spartanburg, South Carolina office at 864-585-4226 to request a confidential consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We are happy to answer any questions you have and provide references upon request.