Most divorces are messy, lengthy and stressful for both parties. The process can be simplified and made much more bearable if you make sure that you hire the right kind of divorce lawyer. Keeping the following tips in mind will make it much easier to find a professional and ethical lawyer who suits your case and your personality.


1) Make sure that you meet with several lawyers to discuss your situation and your needs. In these initial meetings, you will be able to assess not just the competence of the lawyers but also what kind of people they are. Given the deeply personal nature of divorce, you need to be careful to hire someone you can get along with and feel you can trust.


2) Make a list of important questions to ask, and take the list to each meeting you have with a prospective divorce lawyer. Take note not just of the extent to which you receive answers to your questions but also the way in which the lawyer responds to your questions. If you feel you are being patronized or that the answers are in any way sloppy or vague, consider that lawyer to be a bad choice. You need to hire someone who can explain the more technical aspects of divorce in a way that is comprehensible, and someone with whom you can be candid about the intimate details of your failed marriage.


3) When you meet with lawyers as you try to decide which one to hire for your divorce proceedings, make sure that they are entirely transparent about their fees. This does not just mean making you aware of how much you will have to pay, but also when you will be expected to pay (i.e. whether fees will be paid in separate installments or in one payment). If you are to pay in advance, you should also find out what will happen to that money in the event that you decide to move to a different divorce lawyer.


4) Choose a lawyer who discusses your case in a way that is reasonable and objective, and who gives the impression of genuinely wanting to help you get divorced in as quick and clean a manner as possible. Be wary of divorce lawyers who try to get you riled up and interested in vengeance. If you make the divorce proceedings all about getting revenge on your spouse, this will cost you time and money (which might be in the divorce lawyer’s interest, but is certainly not in your own interest).


5) When discussing what you want to get out of the divorce, avoid a lawyer who displays any underhand inclinations towards using important possessions (or, worse, your children) as leverage. You want a lawyer who is honorable and clear-headed, not one who will encourage you to foolishly act on the negative emotions you might feel for your spouse. While using valued objects or offspring to bargain with your spouse might work out in your favor, it could leave you in a worse position than you were in to begin with. Your lawyer should be there to talk you out of rash or dishonorable action in the divorce proceedings, not to egg you on.


6) Even if you feel comfortable with a particular lawyer and respect their attitude to divorce law, do not assume that they are entirely reliable or responsible. People who quickly hire lawyers after one meeting often later find out (much to their chagrin) that the lawyer is careless about returning phone calls or does not appear to have time for them at crucial junctures. If you like a lawyer, try calling their office a couple of times before actually hiring them. If you receive prompt responses (within a day or two of calling), it is probably safe to hire the lawyer.


7) As is probably obvious, it is a bad idea to hire a lawyer who is not particularly experienced in divorce proceedings. If you are not on friendly terms with your spouse, you will have no idea about the qualifications their lawyer will have. You do not want to end up in a situation in which you have an inexperienced lawyer and your spouse has a highly qualified lawyer who exclusively does divorce work.


8) If a potential divorce lawyer comes recommended by friends or family, do not assume that they will suit your own personality or case without meeting with them and considering all of the above (i.e. your level of comfort with the lawyer, the way that the lawyer speaks to you, the extent to which the lawyer seems honorable, and so on).


Divorce is rarely simple and often takes a lot longer than is desirable. However, if you put in the time and effort required to find a divorce lawyer who is professional and genuinely interested in resolving your case to your satisfaction, this could save you months of misery and wasted time.