Hiring A Divorce Attorney

What To Look For When Shopping For Divorce Attorney

When looking to hire divorce attorney – be careful consumer

This is a very important step.Your relationship with your divorce attorney is very personal. You will be telling this divorce attorney details about your personal life that you may have not told anyone else. A divorce attorney will hear the intimate secrets of your marital life. You will tell your divorce attorney about emotional or physical abuse. You will tell your divorce attorney about the adultery committed or discovered. You will be asking this divorce attorney to remake your life. You need to chose wisely.

Check to See if the Divorce Attorney knows divorce law- Do Your Research First

This may sound strange, but there are some divorce attorneys who simply do not know the law. Every profession has it duds and the field of divorce law is no exception. Before you talk to a divorce attorney learn some basic law. Get yourself  a basic understanding of the law. First, this helps you frame your questions when talking to a divorce attorney . But, it can also help you check to see if he knows the law.

Is A Free Consultation A Reason to Hire A Divorce Attorney?

There are some people who will not meet with a divorce attorney unless he has a free consultation. This should not be a criteria. In the past, I have charged consultation fees and so do other divorce attorneys . We do this, not to get money, because consultation fees make a very small part of the cash flow. Divorce attorneys do this to see if the client is serious. If the client refuses or can’t pay $300 for a consultation, then it is unlikely they will pay a retainer.

 Will Your Divorce Attorney Pursue Your Goals Or His Own Goals?

Your goal in the divorce should be to move on with your life. Most divorce attorneys understand that. Most divorce attorneys work with you to keep your legal costs down while trying to maximize your benefits. Divorce attorneys are required to provide bills every sixty days so that you track their work and your money. No divorce attorney should be pursuing the goal of driving up your legal costs without a benefit to you. Your divorce attorney should be working with you. You and your divorce attorney are team. Make sure that you are in sync.

But, the divorce attorney must be strong enough to point out when you are not being reasonably. Once, a client wanted me to fight over a 25 inch television. I told him to save his money and buy a new one. Typically, I tell clients that if the property they are fighting over is less than $20,000, then don’t fight. You’ll spend as least that much in legal fees.

Should You Ask Your Friends About Their Divorce Attorney?

Asking a friend about their divorce attorney can be a good idea. But, your friend’s results may be very different from yours. Each divorce is different and has different factors. Your friend’s divorce lawyer might have gotten as good result for her, and a not so good result for someone else. For example, I was hired for an uncontested divorce, with both parties agreeing. Then they didn’t agree. They then they did. Then he disappeared. Then he reappeared. It took over a year to process this simple divorce. The client complained to me that her friends who started later got divorced earlier.

Should I Check The Internet When Searching For A Divorce Lawyer?

The internet is a good place to start looking for a divorce attorney. Look at the divorce attorney’s website. Does that website show that the divorce attorney knows the law? Check the divorce attorney’s biography to see how long she/he has been in practice and their experience. You could check other websites. But, I would suggest avoiding websites where people can make anonymous comments.  People who make negative anonymous posts about other people tend to be cranks.

 Are You Comfortable Talking to Your Divorce Attorney or Are You Afraid to Call Him?

You should never feel afraid to talk to your divorce attorney. If you are intimidated by your lawyer, then you have the wrong divorce lawyer. Because you need to trust your divorce lawyer, you need to feel comfortable with him/her. Your divorce lawyer must be approachable and easy to talk to about your problems.

How Much Does A Divorce Attorney Charge For The Divorce

With the exception of uncontested divorces, all divorce attorneys charge by the hour. Additionally, the divorce attorney will ask for a retainer. A retainer is money against the time to be billed. For example, assume a retainer for $3000 and an hourly rate of $300. The retainer is 10 hours of the divorce attorney’s time. Divorce attorneys charge between $200 an hour to $650 an hour. The hourly rate does not correspond to skill.

A divorce attorney can ask for retainers in the amount of $3000 and higher based upon the complexity of the case. The complex the case, the more of a retainer the divorce attorney will request.

 Divorce Attorneys Are Regulated By The Office of Court Administration

In the past, some divorce attorneys have abused and cheated clients to such an extent that special rules are enacted that apply just to divorce attorneys. All divorce attorney must provide a written retainer that explicitly sets forth the amount that the attorney will charge. Almost all divorce attorney charge by the hour for a contested divorce. Therefore, it is important to know what the rate is and have it spelled out in the retainer. In fact, the law requires that the retainer be filed with the court.

The attorney must provide a detailed bill at least every sixty days. This is to prevent an attorney from billing thousands of dollars and waiting until the case is over to present the bill to the client. Since the divorce attorney charges on an hourly rate, it is important for the client to keep on top of the case. For example, say there is a piece of property worth $5000 that the parties are fight over. If the divorce attorney is billing $250 an hour, he could easily bill in excess of $5000 to acquire that property.

The divorce attorney must keep in contact with you. You can’t be ignored. Also, you are required to attend all divorce court appearances. As the client in the divorce, your wishes control. Therefore, you must be fully informed.

As a client you have rights and responsibilities. Don’t think that once you hire a divorce lawyer, he is in the driver seat. The Office of Court Administration’s website has posted the list of client’s rights and responsibilities; it’s a good idea to read them before seeing a divorce attorney. In fact, when you consult with an attorney, he must give you a copy of your rights.


It may also be a good idea to check and see if the divorce attorney with whom you are consulting is a member of good standing with the bar.