How do I Choose the Best Divorce Attorney?

Ken Black

Choosing the best divorce attorney is often a matter of finding a lawyer that is skilled and experienced in the practice of family law. In larger cities, this may be easier because attorneys tend to specialize more than they do in smaller towns and rural areas. Still, no matter where you may live, choosing the best divorce lawyer is often simply a matter of research and consultations. Given what is often at stake, it is a decision that many people spend a considerable amount of time in making.

A divorce is painful, but a good attorney will listen to your needs.
A divorce is painful, but a good attorney will listen to your needs.

One of the first things to consider when looking for the best divorce lawyer is the years of experience. Lawyers who have been on the job for longer periods of time often understand the nuances that make family law so difficult. Ask about how long the attorney has been in family law practice, or how many family law cases they have had. Also, ask about the possibility of other attorneys filling in from time to time with lesser important court dates, if needed.

Some lawyers offer free phone consultations regarding divorce cases.
Some lawyers offer free phone consultations regarding divorce cases.

You may wish to refrain from asking specifically about the number of cases a divorce attorney has won. Even the best divorce lawyer knows that family law is not so much about winning and losing. Unlike other forms of law, it is rare in divorce that either side gets everything they want, and settlements are the norm rather than the rule. Therefore, choosing a winner and loser in family law is a much more abstract concept.

Availability is another big consideration when choosing a divorce attorney. Often, being involved in a divorce, especially if things are in dispute, will involve making decisions and sometimes those decisions will need to be made quickly. Many may not understand the legal ramifications of those decisions, and will need to get answers about the possible consequences quickly. Some attorneys will make their home or cell phone numbers available to clients.

The best divorce attorney will be a good listener as well. The attorney will take the time to get to know you and understand what your overall goals in the case are. Attorneys that try to pressure you into a course of action that you feel uncomfortable with may not be the best choices. This does not mean you should not listen to your attorneys legal advice, but that advice should complement your wishes.

Though cost may not be the biggest consideration, it often may be a determining factor. A divorce attorney typically charges by the hour, and the fee can run from $100 to $600 or even more, and this does not include expenses. Legal aid can help provide attorneys free of charge, or for a pro rated amount in some communities for civil matters, which likely include divorces.

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