Groups » Selecting a Reliable Divorce Attorney: 3 Steps to Getting It Right


There's no doubt about it: the outcome of your divorce largely depends on your lawyer's abilities. While a number of good divorce attorneys are available out there, choosing the right one for you can be hard if you don't know how to proceed.

If this is worrying you, you've come to the right place. Read on to know how to select a reliable divorce attorney in just three steps.

1) Identify Your Needs

When considering divorce, it is advisable to consult a divorce lawyer so you're fully aware of your legal rights and the best way to proceed with the separation. However, it is important to identify your needs first. If you are parting amicably with your spouse and don't have kids or significant assets aren't involved, you won't need a specialized and experienced lawyer.

Conversely, you'll do well by hiring a divorce attorney who is familiar with custody and support laws if you're fighting for child custody or foresee complications or a difference of opinion with your spouse over important matters. Similarly, if you have a complicated financial situation at hand, working with a lawyer who understands finance will be prudent.

In addition, ask yourself if you want a lawyer who can handle the case as they see fit or you want to be more involved in the proceedings. Don't forget to factor in lawyer fees; you don't want to hire someone unaffordable!

2) Shortlist

Hiring the first divorce attorney you meet may not be the right thing to do. Ask around for references and research divorce lawyers in your area to shortlist ones that can meet your needs. Check them out online, and read testimonials and reviews so you know what you're in for.

Once you've got a handful of lawyers on your list, meet all of them for preliminary screening, asking questions like:

  • How many divorce cases have they handled?

  • What percentage of their cases have seen favorable outcomes for their clients?

  • What percentage of their cases have been settled out of court?

  • If they've handled cases similar to yours?

  • Will they be handling your case personally or assigning someone associated with their firm to you?

  • If you'll be informed of the developments or consulted as they plan their strategy?

  • If they have a heavy workload?

  • Their retainer fee and hourly billing rate, and if any additional fees will be applicable?

  • If they'll be available to answer questions over the course of the proceedings, and if they charge for replying to phone calls and emails?

  • If they know your spouse's attorney and are willing to work with a mediator?

Do take notes during and after the meetings so you can compare them later and decide on a suitable divorce lawyer.

3) Be Realistic

Don't let your choice be influenced by a lawyer's physical appearance; a capable lawyer doesn't have to conform to stereotypes! Furthermore, it's possible for you to feel uncomfortable when working even with the most competent lawyer. So think through everything before taking concrete steps.

Be wary of lawyers who make bold promises or say only the things that you want to hear. If the first few lawyers you meet tell you that getting alimony or custody seems implausible, but one tells you that you will surely get what you want, listen to the majority. Remember that the more you fight, the more you'll end up paying.

Of course, you'll do better by hiring a local lawyer who is aware of the laws in your jurisdiction. For example, a St. Charles divorce attorney will be most helpful to someone who is a resident of Illinois.

Focus on your goals without letting your emotions come in the way of sound reasoning. And bear in mind that your divorce attorney isn't your therapist or life coach; approach them only for legal advice, not to vent!


Hiring a divorce attorney isn't as simple as dialing a number in your phone book. Family conflicts of any sort are always stressful and you need the services of a legal professional who is qualified and experienced to get you through this trying time. Your lawyer should be someone who understands your situation and works toward an outcome that's favorable for you.

A good attorney sees the bigger picture, knowing that divorce battles can have a long-term impact on you and your loved ones. With the help of this post, we're sure you'll be able to choose a reliable divorce attorney and settle disputes favorably.

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