You didn’t get married to get divorced, but now you find yourself navigating a complex process that you may not know much about—all while reeling emotionally as you try to disentangle your life from your partner’s. A good lawyer can provide the level head and experience to help you execute the divorce as painlessly as possible—and with the best outcomes for you. But how do you find the right divorce lawyer? We asked a panel of professionals. Read on for their advice.

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz, Managing Editor at Her Norm.

Qualifications, and communication

Undergoing a divorce is a stressful situation. You need to be emotionally and mentally prepared when you are in this situation. It will also be financially draining because you need to hire a divorce lawyer to help you in this battle. Every penny counts; that is why you should be aware if you’re spending your money on a good divorce lawyer.

Let me share some qualities a good divorce lawyer must have:

Good qualifications. Check the background of your chosen lawyer. Check if [he/she] graduated with distinction [from] a reputable school. Make sure that you are in the same state because laws vary from one state to another.

Good communication skills. They should have this quality because how will they win the case if they can’t express themself clearly? They are your representation, that is why they need to know how to explain everything properly to avoid confusion.

Handles stress well. You are already stressed out, and there is no way you want someone more stressed than you when dealing in this situation. Oftentimes, a person who cannot control stress tends to react negatively and might ruin your chances of you winning the case.

A good listener, intelligent and a shooter

A Good Listener. There is a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing simply happens, listening requires concentration and comprehension. A lawyer that talks over their client and has an “I’ve seen this before” attitude might miss important information for the case that their client would have disclosed if they would have been patient and actively listened. A good divorce lawyer has to be a great listener.

Emotionally Intelligent. If your divorce lawyer can’t read the room, run. A good divorce lawyer is able to draw out what each individual’s hot buttons are and craft a case accordingly. Sometimes, making the other party feel like they “won” on something important to them is all you need to secure a major overall victory. A good divorce lawyer needs to have emotional intelligence.

A Straight Shooter. A good divorce lawyer will be honest and upfront about potential costs and outcomes. If your divorce lawyer has an initial retainer fee that is too good to be true, dig deeper. Some divorce lawyers will rope their clients in with a cheap retainer fee only to string them along for months to make extra money, often while promising great things. Check the divorce attorney’s online reviews and pay specific attention to what those reviews say about his/her character. Someone who regularly screws people over will have reviews to show for it.

Stephen Cawelti

Stephen Cawelti

Stephen Cawelti is a seasoned, award-winning, board certified divorce attorney who has specialized in complex family law matters since 2006 in California. Find him here: Cawelti Law.
Nanci A. Smith ESQ.

Nanci A. Smith ESQ.

Nanci A. Smith is a divorce attorney with over 27 years of experience in litigation, mediation, and Collaborative Practice. She is the current Chair of the Vermont Bar Association Collaborative Practice Section. Find her here: nancismithlaw.com

Time, skill, and interest

Time. Your divorce lawyer should take enough time with you to understand who you are, where you are coming from, and where you would like to go. Your divorce lawyer can be a core member of your transition team. High-quality divorce lawyers are in demand. Make sure your lawyer has time for your case.

Interest. Your divorce lawyer should show a demonstrated interest in your type of case.

Skill. Your divorce lawyer should know what they are talking about and have sufficient experience with your particular issues. You want someone who exceeds the basic minimum expectations of competency.

Empathy. Your divorce lawyer should care about you, your family and how to achieve a healthy outcome for all of you. You do not want your divorce lawyer to make things worse.

Collaborative Practice Training. If you are looking for an amicable, out of court divorce settlement, then ask your divorce lawyer about their training in the interdisciplinary model of Collaborative Practice.

Mediation/Negotiation skills. Since most divorces that are filed in court eventually settle, it is important to understand your divorce lawyer’s approach to negotiation and mediation.

Advocacy Skill. If you are going to trial because you need a judge to resolve your case, make sure your lawyer knows their way around the courthouse, and has a positive reputation in the legal community. What you think might be strong advocacy might not be perceived that way from the court.

A good divorce lawyer is one that you can trust, respect, and afford.

Top 3 qualities divorce lawyers should have.

Skills and Experience. You want somebody who has a good track record of winning divorce cases and has in-depth knowledge of divorce law.

Affordability. Of course, you want somebody to represent you who you can pay. You don’t want the money that you get from your divorce just to go to your lawyer’s fees.

Accessibility. You want a lawyer who will be there for you when you need their advice. Look for a lawyer who can empathize with you in your time of need.

Samantha Moss

Samantha Moss

Samantha Moss, Editor & Content Ambassador at Romantific.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

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