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How to Choose a Good Divorce Lawyer: 4 Simple Steps

How to choose a divorce lawyer

What makes a good divorce lawyer? The answer to this question depends upon who you are and what your needs are. Here, we answer some of the most common questions about how to choose a divorce attorney.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer – Step 1: Make a List of Your Needs

Begin the process of choosing a divorce lawyer by making a detailed list of your needs. What is it that you want the attorney to do for you? Yes, most lawyers will do what’s necessary to handle your case, but the process will go much more smoothly if you select someone who is willing to develop a relationship with you. Consider the following points as you determine what you need from your divorce lawyer:

  • Do you want a lawyer who will run the case and consult you as needed, or do you desire more involvement?
  • Which issue concerns you most: protecting your financial interests, or maintaining a close relationship with any children you may have?
  • Do you foresee a major battle during your impending divorce, or do you believe that it will be amicable?
  • Is the cost of hiring a divorce attorney a major consideration, or is money of little concern?

Research divorce lawyers in your area, and you’ll quickly find out what each one specializes in, focusing on those who are most likely to meet your needs. If you live in a metropolitan area, you’ll be able to find several potential candidates. Read client testimonials to find out what others have to say about the attorneys you are considering.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer – Step 2: Narrow the Field

Once you’ve made a list of attorneys who you believe will meet your needs, it’s time to narrow the field of potential attorneys down to a few you can interview. If you live in the United States, you can use the American Bar Association website for help with this part of the process. This service sets up free initial consultations, allowing you to make a well-informed choice.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer – Step 3: Questions for a Divorce Lawyer

Knowing what to ask a divorce lawyer during the initial meeting lets you make the most of the time you have available. Pay close attention to how he or she answers, remembering that it is vital that you have good dynamics.

  • How many divorce cases have you handled?
  • Do you have a heavy caseload?
  • Are you familiar with local Family Court judges?
  • Are you willing to work with a mediator?
  • What percentage of cases have you settled out of court?
  • Do you know my spouse or his / her attorney?
  • Will you be handling my case personally, or will someone else associated with the firm be taking care of me?
  • Will you ask my opinion as you plan strategy?
  • Will I be kept informed of developments as they occur?
  • Are you available to answer questions as they come up?
  • What is your retainer fee?
  • What is your hourly billing rate?
  • Do the fees I pay include the services of any of your associates?
  • Will there be additional fees if my case goes to court?
  • Are there fees for letters and phone calls?
  • Does your contract outline the fee arrangement?
  • Are bills itemized?
  • Will you petition the court to have my spouse pay your fees?

Using some of these sample questions can make the issue of how to choose a divorce lawyer simpler. Many attorneys have websites that strive to answer many common questions. Read them if they are available, as this may reduce the number of questions you have to ask in person.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer – Step 4: Make your Choice

Once you have interviewed the attorneys on your short list, determine which one you want to hire and have that divorce lawyer draw up a fee contract. No money should be exchanged until both you and the attorney have signed it. Last but not least, be sure that you feel comfortable with the attorney and are confident in his or her abilities. Your divorce is much too important to entrust to a divorce attorney who fails to inspire your confidence.

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  1. Jeff Curtis says:

    Thanks for this helpful post on finding a good divorce lawyer. I like the questions you included for making a list of your needs. I also really like the questions you have listed to actually ask the lawyer. I think it is really important to ask the attorney how many divorce cases they have handled. It is really important to have an experienced lawyer. Thanks for the help!

  2. Bob Lowe says:

    Thanks for the post. These are some really great tips to consider. I agree that you really need to ask all your questions. I also agree that you and the attorney need to have a great relationship. I think that can be key for communication.

  3. I think asking questions is very important, but it’s also important to consider how well you communicate and get along. If a lawyer is hard for you to talk to, the case may suffer. If they meet your qualifications and you can speak freely with them, you’ve found a good lawyer.

  4. Kate Hansen says:

    I can’t imagine the stress and pain that can come with going through a divorce. I imagine having someone to help you do all the confusing paperwork and stuff through the courts would make it a lot less painful and stressful. I like the tip of asking a potential divorce lawyer how heavy their caseload is because I would want someone who can focus a lot of their attention on my needs.

  5. Jade Brunet says:

    I appreciate this information about how to choose a good divorce lawyer. It is good to know that asking questions is appropriate. Finding how many divorce cases the attorney has done would be beneficial. It would also be nice to find someone local to make meetings more convenient and to decrease the commute time.

  6. I love the first tip you gave about making a detailed list of the exact needs I want. I’ve heard that a big reason why cases are lost is because exact, specific needs aren’t made known to the attorney. Seems like a silly mistake to make! I’ll have to keep this great choosing advice in mind if I’m ever in need of a divorce attorney!

  7. I like how you suggested narrowing the field down to a few divorce attorneys you can interview. My husband and I are going to be separating, and I need to find a good lawyer to guide me through this situation and make sure things are split fairly. I imagine that meeting with a few attorneys would be a good way to get a feel for who I’d be most comfortable working with, so I’ll make sure to do that before I make a decision.

  8. I like that you listed a set of questions to ask the lawyer. You really do have to be sure that you are taking necessary steps in finding someone good to help you with your divorce case. The best way to do that is to ask proper questions in the hiring process. Do you have any other tips about finding a good divorce lawyer?

  9. These are some great ideas for hiring a good divorce lawyer. My cousin is wanting to go through a divorce, so I know he would like to read this. I’ll make sure he at least makes a list of all the needs he has in this battle.

  10. Gloria Durst says:

    I agree that you want to check how many cases a divorce lawyer has handled. It would seem that knowing how much experience they have would help you know if they are right for you. My sister is looking for a divorce lawyer so she’ll have to find someone who has handled plenty of cases.

  11. Thanks for the interesting read. I particularly liked what you said about asking the lawyer exactly how many divorce cases they have handled in the past. With plenty of experience, they are likely to have learned how the cases usually go and what to look out for. Especially with how much is on the line during some divorce cases, having that experience could make the world of a difference.

  12. Amanda Drew says:

    My husband and I have been growing apart for a little while, and we have both decided to get a divorce. So I like how you suggest researching lawyers and finding out what they specialize in so that they will meet your needs. I’ll keep your tips in mind as I find a good attorney.

  13. I appreciate your tips for hiring a good divorce lawyer. My brother is about to go through a tough divorce, so I thought I’d do this research for him. I’ll be sure to tell him to make a nice, detailed list of the needs he has.

  14. Jeff Evans says:

    My parents got divorced about 13 years ago and it’s interesting to hear my dad talk about it now. At the time he didn’t worry about getting a good divorce attorney and he paid the price for it – literally. He had to pay a fortune, and he lost the home as well as custody of his children. Being raised without a father around really took its toll on us, his children. I greatly appreciate this article because choosing a divorce attorney isn’t just about you, it’s about your family. You should take great care when looking for an attorney. http://www.bayerjergerunderwood.com/services/

  15. Amanda Drew says:

    Thanks for pointing out that you should find just a few that you can interview after you make a list of lawyers who you think will meet your needs. I came home early from some errands, and I was surprised to find that my husband had brought some girl home and was cheating on me. I’m not going to stay with a man like that. Thanks for your tips; they should help me find the right divorce attorney for me.

  16. I couldn’t agree more with what you said about the importance of choosing a divorce attorney that you will feel comfortable dealing with. It also makes sense to make sure that you’re confident enough with your attorney’s abilities to help you. My best friend and her husband decided to end their marriage, so she’s looking to find a good divorce lawyer. It’s important for her to make sure that she’ll be granted the primary control of their son’s custody. For me, it’s necessary to find a lawyer that you can share personal information with that can help the case and someone you can trust to fight for your right to have the primary control of the custody of your child. I will make sure to consider all your tips.

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