Do your research!!!
AVVO is a great source to determine if a lawyer is ethical, but you need to remember, not all lawyers are caught when they act unethically. So you need keep your do your research. This is an area where you should ask your friends who have gone through a divorce, or similar action.
Aggressive or not?
Often times clients want their attorney to be very aggressive, and pound the other side into the ground. While there is a time and a place for that, you may not want that to be the entire course of the representation. When I am approached by a client who wants me to be the "Tough Guy" lawyer, I advise that I will, but being a jerk is expensive. If we object to every request by the otherside, and demand every issue be decided by the Court, both sides attorney fees will run through the roof. After all you will be in Court probably once a month. Also, the Judge who will be deciding this case will start to get an idea of who is the one causing all of the trouble, and not look at the "black hat wearer," with much sympathy.
When you meet with the Attorney, ask them what their style of litigation is?
What I mean by this, is this the blast them with everything you have type, or is this someone who may want to look at the larger picture. If you have kids, you may want the second, not the first. Depending on the age of your children, you are going to have to deal with your child's other parent, at least, until your child is done with high school, but most likely the rest of your life. Your child will go to college, get married have children, not to mention, Christmas, birthdays, and the regular special days in the course of an average year. Do you really want to have that bad of a relationship? If your marriage ended because of domestic violence, or severe control/anger issues, or substance abuse, you would probably want the first.
Figure out what you want out of the representation, and be ready to discuss it with your attorney.
Is this a short term marriage without kids, or a house, and you just want out? Is there a house, and you can not afford to maintain it? Are you a spouse who deovted your life as a home maker and feel it will be impossible to support yourself without your spouse's assistance? Be ready to demonstrate this to your attorney.
Make sure you feel comfortable with your attorney.
You need to feel comfortable with your lawyer. This person will be giving you advice that will have a major impact on the rest of your life. You should get along with and trust this person. I have rarely seen a poor relationship between a lawyer and client improve. If you have a bad feeling, do not hire this person, no matter what a friend may recommend.
But I do not want to get a divorce, do I need an attorney?
Yes, you do. Wisconsin is a no fault divorce state, which means that your spouse can win a Judgment of Divorce, even if you oppose it, with little effort. There is no attorney who can stop it. If one says he or she can, walk away. While I understand your emotional turmoil, the best thing for you to do is find an attorney you like, hire that person, and make sure you do not make poor choices, in this troubling time for you.