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From The Experts

We've gathered knowledgeable, dedicated divorce experts from a variety of fields to lend their advice and perspectives. Our experts include lawyers, healthcare professionals, certified professionals, and everyday women with insight into the topics that will help you stay empowered.

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If you feel your marriage is beyond repair, it's best to consult with an attorney sooner than later. Knowledge is power. Before you make one of the biggest life-changing decisions you and your family will ever face, get as much information as possible.

In many ways, identifying the right lawyer is like buying shoes. You wouldn't spend lavishly on the wrong sized pair. And no matter how many you try on, there's no obligation to make a purchase. With a divorce attorney, "try on" or consult with more than one — since you have no binding commitment to retain them — to find that perfect fit. Don't sacrifice style or comfort. You'll need trust and a good working relationship with your attorney, because you two will be together for the next several months.

Here are some other tips to consider before you shop for an attorney:

1. Shhh! Don't tell your spouse. Until you know your rights and obligations, keep the attorney hunt a secret. If your spouse is alerted he may stop paying bills, divert money into a personal bank account or siphon the joint funds in anticipation of divorce.

2. Family matters. If you're a mom, be sure the lawyers you consider are family law professionals. This sole focus means the needs of you and your children will be met most effectively. The attorney you choose should be able to refer you to experts in family counseling, personal finance, and other specialties to address your overall well-being. Determine how long they have been working in family or marital law. Have they written books, articles, or taught lawyers? Law firm websites usually have a biography of the attorney. If they don't, ask the attorney to provide one.

3. Start taking names. Ask around. Who among your friends or family have been through a divorce? Find out why a person is recommending an attorney and make sure that your needs fit the lawyer's strengths. Just because an attorney obtained a favorable settlement doesn't mean he or she was supportive during the process. If this is something you need, then maybe that attorney is not for you. Even with a glowing referral, a consultation will help ensure the attorney suits your needs.

4. Consider the costs. Typically, divorce attorneys charge $300-$500 an hour in major metro areas, depending on their experience and reputation. If your spouse is likely to hire a heavy hitter, you need to have an even match-up between the lawyers. That usually means more money. Find out the attorney's retainer fee, and know what you can realistically afford. A consultation will usually be charged as a one-hour session. Some attorneys who will offer a reduced or no-cost consult if they need to attract clients. However, if you want to see a leading expert, expect to have to pay in the same way you would if you wanted a consultation from a leading doctor.

5. Make the most of your consultation. The attorney needs to learn details about your marriage — your children, income, and assets. Based on that information and your objectives, the attorney should be able to discuss what you can realistically expect in your divorce and how best to achieve your goals. Communication is key. Take special note during your consult of how well the attorney listens. He or she is not a therapist, but you need to feel comfortable discussing intimate details of your marriage and personal life, as well as your hopes, fears and concerns.


Related Content: 

Once you have chosen an attorney, here are Five Ways to Help Your Attorney Help You Through Your Divorce. 

Additionally, here are key tips on How To Avoid Being Taken To The Cleaners By Attorneys

or, click the following to return to the Divorce Resource Directory.

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  • Comment Link jaque christo Friday, 15 December 2017 14:22 posted by jaque christo

    Thank you for the tips for finding the right attorney. I like the idea to ask friends and family for recommendations. Asking people you trust who they trust is a good way to narrow down your search.

  • Comment Link Sharon Wilson-Smith Friday, 08 December 2017 07:39 posted by Sharon Wilson-Smith

    The best part of your article for me is when you talked about how you must consider hiring family law professionals that can focus on you and tour children's needs if you're a mom. My husband and I decided to end our marriage. It's important for me to find a lawyer that can help me to make sure that I will get a favorable result when it comes to the custody of my children. For me, hiring an expert in family law will give me the confidence that I can have the primary control of my children's custody. I will make sure to consider all your tips for finding the best family law attorney.

  • Comment Link Kate Hansen Tuesday, 12 September 2017 14:35 posted by Kate Hansen

    That's some great info about the pricing of a divorce lawyer. I'll make sure to tell my sister to plan on $500 an hour. My sister has some complex financial things going on along with her divorce so hiring an experienced professional is a must. Thanks for that helpful info on divorce lawyers.

  • Comment Link alena Sunday, 10 September 2017 23:56 posted by alena

    My husband and I have decided to call it quits after 15 years. We are trying to do it as civil as possible, but we do want to get lawyers. That way, we can make sure everything is done that way that it is supposed to be.

  • Comment Link Alex Dean Thursday, 15 June 2017 16:57 posted by Alex Dean

    Due to recent events, I am in need of hiring a lawyer, but need some advice on how to choose the right one for me. I like how you pointed out that one thing I should do is ask among my friends and family who have been in this situation before. That way I can get a feel for if they are someone that I will be able to work with from someone that I trust.

  • Comment Link Annika Larson Friday, 19 May 2017 22:50 posted by Annika Larson

    My sister will be getting a divorce soon. Especially with her kids involved, we want to make sure that she has the right lawyer by her side to help with the case. As you said, it's a good idea to ask for recommendations and then have consultations with some of the potential attorneys to ensure they are what you need.

  • Comment Link Max Jones Friday, 24 March 2017 21:39 posted by Max Jones

    I really like your suggestion on making the most of the consultation! My cousin got a DUI recently and I really think that for him to find someone he's comfortable talking to would be key. I'll have to share these tips with him before he makes a decision on an attorney to go with!

  • Comment Link Troy Blackburn Wednesday, 11 January 2017 19:04 posted by Troy Blackburn

    That's interesting that you mention that a good attorney should be able to refer me to experts in family counseling, personal finance, and other specialties to help my overall well-being. I've heard that another characteristic of a good attorney is that, when in meetings with you, they listen more than they talk to you. My daughter is going to need to choose an attorney, and these tips could be very useful. Thank you!

  • Comment Link Davis Sunday, 25 December 2016 10:20 posted by Davis

    Finding the divorce attorney can be a difficult task, but these tips are very helpful. I think, it is better to consult with 2-3 attorney lawyers before hiring one.

  • Comment Link Darrenkomatz Monday, 08 August 2016 12:54 posted by Darrenkomatz

    Selecting the right criminal lawyer for yourself or a friend can be one of the hardest parts of any keep running in with the law. It is additionally a standout amongst the most necessary. It is important that you find a trustworthy lawyer whom you can trust. There are a few things to consider when searching for a lawyer.
    Like: Loyalty, reputation, experience

  • Comment Link Lillian Schaeffer Thursday, 14 July 2016 15:45 posted by Lillian Schaeffer

    These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to keep your search for an attorney quiet until you know your rights. I want to get a divorce, but this is my first marriage, and I'm not entirely sure how it all works. I'll definitely try to keep quiet about my search for a lawyer until I know what my rights are so he doesn't try and block me. Thanks for the great post!

  • Comment Link Jean Nuttall Monday, 07 March 2016 17:38 posted by Jean Nuttall

    I had a prehearing and my spouses atty. wants an appraisal on the house. I was told they'd call me to set that up. It's been three wks. since and I haven't heard anything. I had the house appraised a yr. ago.

    What's taking so long and is there such a thing as a speedy divorce/trial?

  • Comment Link wesley colberth Saturday, 05 March 2016 01:27 posted by wesley colberth

    When it comes to divorce, I never thought that the consideration of the costs would be implemented. I assume divorces are tough and emotional so the advice of finding the right attorney is greatly appreciated. I think that there are many law practices who are very considerate of their customers needs and budget.

  • Comment Link Shea Wednesday, 08 August 2012 08:29 posted by Shea

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  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 24 January 2011 10:23 posted by Guest

    Cutting costs: Considering the costs and knowing everything you want to say before you even get there is a huge plus when saving money. This will break down the time as well as a better understanding for the attorney.


  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 21 October 2010 10:28 posted by Guest

    finding a divorce lawyer.: I have followed all the steps to finding an attorney to represent me, I am hoping you could do so if you wrote this steps yourself.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 22 December 2009 00:32 posted by Guest

    Susan Reach Winters: It is beyond ludicrous that Susan Reach Winters authored this article. She was my divorce attorney in 2006/2007 anc charged me almost $25,000 for writing letters to & having conversations with my ex-husband's attorney. She never filed my CIS with the court and due to her negligence, my case was dismissed. She then charged me (including fed-ex overnight fees) for having my case reinstated. She did not protect me in the least; as a matter of fact, it is because of her that I lost over $250,000 and am about to declare bankruptcy. STAY AWAY FROM THIS ATTORNEY!!! YOU WILL SEVERELY REGRET HIRING HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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