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When to Get a Second Lawyer's Opinion for Your Divorce

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Getting a divorce is stressful. Regardless of what state you're in, the process involves a careful analysis of your finances, assets, holdings, debts and other obligations, as well as potentially an analysis of your fitness to be a parent. Frequently, divorce can have a severe financial and/or emotional impact on one or both parties. In the context of this, sometimes getting a second opinion could be the smartest decision you make.

The decision to get a second legal opinion in your divorce case can either resolve your concerns or confirm your fears. If your concerns are resolved and you are able to get some peace of mind, you can consider the money well spent. On the other hand, if you confirm your fears, you should consider the money even more well spent, as you can now work on either changing attorneys or having your current attorney change strategies.

How to Get a Second Opinion From a Lawyer

Getting a second opinion is as simple as calling or emailing another lawyer and asking for one. While you likely won't get a free consultation that covers anything of substance, you might get enough of a free consult that you can find out how much it will cost to get a second opinion. When getting a second opinion, you want to provide the reviewing attorney with your entire case file, or as much of it as is requested, before the actual consultation. Also, be prepared to pay either a flat fee or hourly rate.

If paying for a second opinion is not readily achievable, you can try to seek out help at free legal clinics, if available in your area. While free legal clinics tend to provide limited consultations, that may be all you need to settle your concerns, or convince you that you need to find a new attorney. When seeking a second opinion, do it as soon as possible so that way you have time to change gears if necessary.

Common Concerns With Getting a Second Opinion

Many clients become concerned that getting a second opinion from a different lawyer is a slap in the face to their current lawyer. While attorneys appreciate loyal clients, it is unlikely that your attorney will be offended. Attorneys are trained in law school to understand the perspective of the reasonably prudent person, and as such, recognize that getting a second opinion from any professional, be it legal or medical, is simply a prudent action for a person to take. If you tell your attorney that you want a second opinion and they try to dissuade you, that should be a red flag that you really should get a second opinion.

Lastly, don't be surprised if the second-opinion lawyer advises you that your current attorney is doing just fine. While the second-opinion attorney may suggest a new approach, or advise you of the strategy they would have taken, frequently, lawyers will avoid criticizing the work or strategy of other lawyers as there are numerous different paths that can all reach the same result.

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