Tampa residents thinking about separating from a spouse need a divorce lawyer who specializes in family law. A good divorce attorney helps you reach a reasonable and equitable resolution during an otherwise emotional time. ConsumerAffairs researched the best divorce lawyers in Tampa to guide your search for an advocate you can trust.
According to the Florida Department of Public Health, Floridians get married at a higher rate than the general U.S. population. They also get divorced at a higher rate — the U.S. Census Bureau reported that from 2010 through 2017, Florida had the seventh-highest divorce rate in the country. Many of those divorced or divorcing couples are in Tampa, where there are hundreds of legal professionals specializing in divorce.
Choosing a Tampa divorce attorney
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recommends asking for referrals when choosing a divorce attorney. Tampa residents may get suggestions from other professionals, such as an accountant, therapist or member of the clergy. If you know someone who recently went through a divorce, ask about their legal representation.
Referrals are an excellent place to start, but you should also research attorneys before hiring one. Things to consider include:
Cost: Many family law attorneys offer a free consultation. Take advantage of this service by meeting with different attorneys. Ask how much the divorce proceeding will cost and how you will be expected to make payments.
Areas of expertise: Many divorce attorneys work within larger firms that practice law in many areas. Other law firms specialize in specific fields. You want an attorney who is experienced in divorce and family law but can handle other topics if necessary.
Special circumstances: If you have children, you need a lawyer who specializes in custody agreements and child support orders. If your divorce requires complex financial negotiations because of multiple homes, assets or debt, work with an attorney or law firm with financial experience.
Divorce attorneys are required to have many skills and talents, so choose one with experience in the areas you need. If your divorce is uncontested and you and partner hope to avoid court, you probably want an attorney who is skilled at mediation instead of one who has built a career out of high-profile courtroom performances.
Tampa divorce costs
Most divorce attorneys charge by the hour, meaning the price of divorce depends on whether it is contested or involves going to court. The average cost for a divorce attorney is around $250 an hour but can range from $100 to $650 an hour or more, depending on the attorney’s experience. Many attorneys in Tampa offer a free consultation.
Some attorneys ask for a retainer, which is a lump sum payment made upfront. Others may have you submit a payment every month. It’s possible your attorney will ask for a contingency fee based on the outcome of your case. If you’re seeking a large alimony payment, for example, attorney fees might be included in the ultimate financial settlement.
Transparency is essential, so make sure you understand exactly when you’ll be charged and how you’ll be billed before you hire an attorney.
Interviewing a Tampa divorce attorney
Before hiring a lawyer in Tampa, schedule a consultation and ask a few key questions. Information such as the number of attorneys at the firm and the office’s location can be found on a lawyer’s website. When you meet, try to get a feel for whether you’re comfortable working with the lawyer. Questions you might ask include:
What will your strategy be for my divorce?
Are there other attorneys or support staff who will work with you on my case?
Will you write a separation agreement?
Do you have experience with mediation or court?
Can you estimate how much my divorce will cost?
What are the best and worst case scenarios in terms of property, custody, alimony and child support?
Avoid any attorney who isn’t willing to thoroughly answer your questions. Because of the cost, importance and stress that comes with a divorce, it’s crucial to hire an attorney that represents your interests and provides the advocacy and support you need.
All Family Law Group, P.A.
All Family Law Group focuses on family law and achieving positive results in divorce and custody proceedings. The firm has served Tampa since 1997 and was rated as one of the best firms for client satisfaction by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Tampa customers recommend the firm for its friendly, accessible lawyers.
Tampa Family & Divorce Lawyer Mindi Lasley
Tampa Family & Divorce Lawyer Mindi Lasley offers divorce representation as well as help with custody, child support, prenuptial agreements and alimony. Lasley focuses on a compassionate, hands-on approach and promises to help you navigate the complex legal system. Tampa customers appreciate the firm’s professionalism and advocacy.
Ayo & Iken, PLC
Ayo & Iken is a statewide firm with an office in Tampa. The firm’s attorneys have helped more than 5,000 clients and are available 24/7. The firm prides itself on giving clients the personal attention of a small firm with the resources of a large firm. Tampa clients praise the firm’s knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys.