3 factors to consider when choosing a divorce attorney in Maryland

Divorcing adults in Maryland should consider several factors when hiring a lawyer, including personal temperament and approach, legal credentials and costs.

Divorce is a process that thousands of people in Baltimore and other parts of Maryland navigate every year. Just in 2012, over 16,000 people in the state completed divorces or annulments, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. During this difficult time, the assistance of an attorney is often invaluable, which is why most divorcing adults can benefit from knowing what to look for in a divorce lawyer.

1. Relevant experience

First, divorcing spouses should consider whether an attorney has local experience handling divorce cases that are similar to theirs. Maryland's laws on property division, fault grounds, child custody arrangements and child or spousal support vary from those in other states, which makes a strong understanding of local laws essential. Divorcing spouses should also confirm that an attorney dedicates a significant amount of his or her time to practicing family law.

Spouses may also want to factor in an attorney's record of success and approach to divorce litigation. For example, people who are completing amicable separations may benefit from working with an attorney who is skilled at negotiating settlements and eliminating unnecessary conflict. If a divorce is likely to be contested, spouses may want to hire an attorney who can provide aggressive representation in court.

2. Likely working relationship

CNBC advises spouses to take time to assess how well their own views and goals mesh with an attorney's personality and methods. It's important that spouses pick an attorney who they feel comfortable sharing potentially sensitive information with and working closely with. Spouses should also consider how they feel about working with an attorney's support staff, as spouses might have many interactions with these professionals as the divorce progresses.

3. Expected costs

When hiring a divorce lawyer, spouses also should evaluate the likely expenses of working with a given attorney. As CNBC observes, divorce costs can vary from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The total cost may depend on the attorney, the complexity of the case and other factors. Spouses should carefully evaluate these costs while remembering that the expenses associated with different approaches to divorce may be markedly different.

Choosing the best candidate

Finally, anyone who is getting divorced in Maryland should consider speaking to a few potential attorneys before making a final decision. By meeting in-person and researching an attorney's credentials and track record, spouses can better gauge which attorney offers the right fit. This, in turn, can improve the likelihood that a spouse will identify a suitable legal strategy and ultimately secure a favorable settlement.