Choosing a Divorce Attorney

If you’ve decided to hire a divorce attorney, it’s important to remember that not all lawyers are the same. It is vital that you determine what you want the process to be for you and then find an attorney who understands what you want.

If you don’t care about cost, and you want to fight everything, find someone who loves to litigate. If you want an attorney to file a motion every time you ask for one, be up front about that.

If you want someone who will take a more middle ground approach, be clear with your attorney about the importance of remaining cordial with the other party. Be clear that you want to be firm in your position, but that you don’t want to beat up the other party in court pleadings or file unnecessary motions that could be worked out.

Moriarty & Associates on Choosing a Divorce AttorneyOn a basic level, choosing a divorce attorney is not that different from deciding whether you want your new office colleague to be your new friend. You need to trust your attorney to understand what you want and to give you the best advice he or she can. You must be able to be open and honest with your attorney about what you want—and potentially about very intimate details of your life.

The relationship with your divorce attorney is very personal, and you will likely know whether that person will be a good fit about 5 minutes into your meeting. Trust your instincts. These cases can be lengthy, and you will spend a lot of time speaking with your attorney. If it doesn’t feel right from the start, it’s unlikely to get better later.

In addition, it’s important to discuss how you will communicate with your attorney. If you work the same hours as your attorney, and your attorney prefers to meet face to face, that might not work for you. Likewise, if your attorney prefers to communicate via email, and you aren’t comfortable with that method of communication, you might end up feeling dissatisfied by the relationship, which could be very detrimental to your case.

Don’t worry about being too petty if you dislike something about your attorney. You must trust the person and the relationship. And if that basic level of you liking the attorney and/or the attorney liking you isn’t there, the chances are that you will both end up dissatisfied, and the outcome of your case might suffer for it.

Bottom line: If you like someone, and he or she appears competent, then hire that attorney. But if you just don’t feel the “vibe,” move on to someone else. There is no shortage of available divorce attorneys, and the relationship is too important to settle for someone with whom you don’t have a connection.

Attorney Jennifer R. Langbehn graduated Cum Laude from Seattle University School of Law in 2005. Jennifer specializes in all aspects of family law, including divorce, mediation, and custody, as well as adoptions, juvenile law, and personal injuries. Learn more.


  1. I never knew that having a 5 minute meeting with a divorce lawyer can help you know if they’re a good fit. My sister is currently going through the divorce process. Hopefully, she can use these tips to find an expert that can help her with the required paperwork.

  2. I have a friend whose husband recently told her that he wants a divorce. She is going through so many emotions right now, and the last thing on her mind is finding a divorce lawyer. However, I think it’s really important that she finds a qualified attorney, so I told her I would help her find one so she can focus on other things right now. I like the tip you give of looking for someone that can communicate well and can communicate in a way that you are comfortable with. We’ll be sure to keep this in mind as we’re looking around.

  3. I like how you talk about how you need to figure out what type of communication will work best for you and your attorney. My sister is in the process of getting a divorce and is looking for a lawyer to help her through the process. I’ll be sure to tell her that she needs to find a divorce lawyer who’s schedule works with hers since I’m sure she’ll want to be meeting face-to-face.

  4. Hello Jennifer! You have shared really great information, these tips are very helpful for everyone who need a good divorce attorney.

  5. You make a great point that you want to find a divorce lawyer who understands what you want. It would be smart to consider this because it would help ensure that you are both on the same page as well. My sister has been in a pretty rough relationship for a while now. Because of this, she’s looking for a divorce lawyer to help her separate. When she finds someone, she’ll have to be clear about her needs with them.

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