Around 43% of first marriages end in divorce, and there were 673,989 divorces and annulments in 2022. Second and subsequent marriages are even more likely to fail, with 73% of third marriages ending in divorce.

Going through a divorce is always stressful, but having the right attorney by your side to guide you through the process can make a huge difference. Choosing the right divorce lawyer takes time and consideration of several factors. 

Desired Outcome

First, think about what you want the outcome of your divorce to be. Do you want to settle quickly and amicably through mediation, or do you anticipate a contentious court battle over assets and custody? If you want to avoid a lengthy court fight, seek an attorney experienced in mediation and collaborative divorce. If you expect complex custody issues or significant assets to divide, look for a seasoned litigator. 50% of children will witness a parent’s divorce, so it’s important to put their needs first. 

Look for a Family Law Attorney

According to Rock Hill divorce attorneys at Minor Law, it’s also important to find an attorney who specializes in family law and divorce. Handling divorces takes specific knowledge of family court proceedings, child custody laws, spousal and child support guidelines, and division of marital property and assets. An attorney who deals mostly with general civil litigation may not have the right expertise. Make sure any lawyer you consider has extensive divorce experience.

You Need a Compassionate Divorce Lawyer

Personality and communication style matter too. You want an attorney who listens to your priorities, responds to your concerns, and keeps you informed at every stage. Look for someone who is compassionate and understanding, yet aggressive when needed to fight for your interests. You will be working closely together, so it’s essential you are comfortable with his or her demeanor and approach.

Ask the Right Questions

During consultations with potential attorneys, be prepared with a list of questions. Ask about their experience handling cases similar to yours, the typical timeframe and costs involved, and what strategies they would use for your situation. Request referrals from past clients you can contact. Also, ask how much of the work they will handle directly versus passing off to junior associates. You want an attorney who will be personally involved.  

Compare a Few Candidates

It’s wise to consult with a few different divorce lawyers before deciding. Comparing qualifications, fees, and your instincts about how well you can work together will help you make the right call. Some points to consider:

  1. Will they personally handle your case or pass it to less experienced associates?
  2. Do they specialize in mediation/collaborative divorce versus litigation? 
  3. What is their hourly fee and what expenses or retainers do they require?
  4. What is their general approach/philosophy about divorce and custody cases?
  5. Do you feel comfortable communicating openly with them?
  6. What do past clients say about their experience and results?

Even after formally retaining a lawyer, you have the option to change course if you have doubts down the road. But doing thorough upfront research makes it more likely you’ll choose the right attorney for your needs from the start. 

Having an advocate you trust by your side can relieve some of the stress of navigating the divorce process. With time and the support of family and friends, you can move forward to build the next chapter of your life.