1. Do not choose a lawyer that simply tells you what you want to hear.
Choose a lawyer who is honest with you about your case, even if the truth is contrary to what you expected or hoped. This is important because once you are aware of the truth about your case, and not a sugar-coated version of how the law applies to your situation, you can make the best decisions for your family. In order to best achieve your goals, you must make informed decisions based on an accurate set of facts.
2. Choose a lawyer who asks the right questions.
After inquiring about an attorney, they should arrange an initial consultation to learn more about your case. Ensure that during this first meeting, they ask both necessary questions to get an overview of your situation, as well as about what you want. Essential questions include: names, ages of the parties, ages of the children, employment history, a list of assets - both separate and marital, the parties' present living situation, the general demeanor and attitudes of their spouse, and a general schedule of the children's routine. But in addition to this information, they must ask about your goals and what you would like to see result from the case. For, in order to best advocate for your interests, your attorney must understand what your desired outcomes are.
3. It is crucial to hire an attorney who is not afraid to litigate in court.
The courtroom is a critical bargaining venue, so if you have a lawyer who is not prepared to appear before a judge, you maintain little bargaining power. Moreover, you do not want a lawyer who will merely acquiesce to a judge's demands or to those of your spouse's lawyer; you need an attorney who is prepared to stand up to a judge and fight back to protect your best interests.
4. Look for a lawyer who does not aim to be your therapist.
Divorce raises some of the most difficult emotional issues divorcing parties may ever face. A clear-minded lawyer is critical in order to ensure that rational decisions are made despite the highly emotional nature of divorce cases. It is important to hire an attorney who both provides clear-headed support to guide your decision-making, as well as one who does not let your relationship shift from attorney-client to therapist-patient. Some lawyers allow clients to call numerous times a day to discuss their feelings about their case, but this causes clients to pay huge legal bills for emotional-support services that their attorney should not be providing.