What Should I Look For When Hiring A Divorce Attorney?

Choosing the right attorney is perhaps the most important decision you make once you have decided to seek a divorce.  You and your children’s future and security are on the line, and it is vitally important to make the right decision.  The following is a list of things to consider when hiring a divorce attorney:

1.  DOES THE ATTORNEY SPECIALIZE IN DIVORCE?  Not all lawyers are created equal.  You want to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce, custody and family law in your geographic area, and is familiar with how the court system operates in your vicinity.  You want an attorney who knows the law, the judges and the court personnel.  As a general rule, a lawyer who specializes in one area of the law is more knowledgeable than one who has a general practice that handles many areas of the law.

2.  IS THE ATTORNEY EXPERIENCED?  It is important that a divorce attorney be experienced.  Ask a divorce attorney how many years they have been practicing and how much of their time is spent on family law/divorce matters.

3.  TESTIMONIALS:  Is the attorney well thought of by his/her former clients?  Do they speak of him/her in glowing terms?  Do they say that they would recommend him/her to their family, friends and colleagues?

4.  IS THE ATTORNEY ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU IN A MEANINGFUL WAY?   An attorney should be able to communicate information to you in a clear, concise and straightforward manner.  If an attorney cannot explain to you what is happening in your case in a manner that you understand, he/she is not the lawyer for you.  Does the attorney have a policy about returning phone calls promptly?  How are you to be informed of new developments on your case in a timely manner?

5.  DO I FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ATTORNEY?  Divorces are personal.  You will be divulging details of your personal life that you may have never told another soul.  Divorce attorneys hear about a couple’s relationship.  They hear about physical and emotional abuse.  They hear about problems with children.  You need to trust your attorney.  You must feel you can approach your attorney on any subject.  If you do not feel comfortable with an attorney, keep looking because that attorney is not for you.

6.  DO I AGREE WITH THE ATTORNEY’S “ACTION PLAN” FOR MY CASE?  You and your attorney should be in agreement as to the approach to be taken on your case.  Divorces are difficult enough and no client needs the added stress of continually being at odds about how the case should be handled.  If you and the attorney do not agree on a plan of action for your case, look for another attorney more in tune with you.

7.  HOW DOES THE ATTORNEY CHARGE?  Most attorneys charge a non-refundable retainer, as well as an hourly fee.   These vary based on the circumstances of the case and the experience of the attorney.  The attorney should be able to explain in detail, his/her billing practices.  No attorney is able to predict the actual cost of the case since there are too many variables outside the control of the attorney, however, if the attorney is unable or unwilling to fully explain their billing practices, you should look for another attorney.

8.  CAN AN ATTORNEY GUARANTEE THE OUTCOME OF A CASE?  While an attorney can advise you as to what generally happens in divorce cases, they cannot and should not guarantee any results.  If an attorney does,  find another attorney – fast!

Loraine R. Kuhn is a divorce attorney with more than 30 years of experience.  She specializes in family law matters.  For a free consultation, contact her at (248) 593.9090.




30500 Northwestern Highway, Ste. 200 Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3177