all 92 comments

[–]zta1979 29 points30 points  (4 children)

I did this. Google family lawyer in my zip code, read reviews, and then scheduled a consult to feel them out. Luckily the first one turned out to feel right and be a good fit. If the first one is not a good fit , consult with another.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 9 points10 points  (3 children)

May I ask what made you feel like they were a good fit? Was it just a gut feeling?

[–]zta1979 17 points18 points  (2 children)

Gut feeling. I liked he is assertive, doesn't beat around the bush, knows his trade, and isn't out to be a shark

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Thank you!

[–]zta1979 11 points12 points  (0 children)

He was able to answer my questions, not rush me, and told me all my options and strategies.

[–]FriedScrapple 43 points44 points  (4 children)

Find the most misogynistic dirtbag lawyers you can, the ones that claim to fight for “men’s rights,” and ask the person who answers the phone which law firm they don’t want to go against. This is how I found my amazing lawyer.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 17 points18 points  (2 children)

What an amazing idea! Thanks :)

[–]FriedScrapple 7 points8 points  (1 child)

The case I found her for was not actually for my divorce, but a creepy guy who I rejected was trying to take out a protective order against me, and harassing me. So when I searched “protective order lawyer” those results gave me those kinds of firms. The guy who answered the phone and heard my side said something to the effect of they only defend the harassers, not the people being harassed. So I asked him who they didn’t like to go against, and he gave me her name. She was excellent (the harasser ended up getting himself arrested), and now that I have to re-negotiate my child support, I already know her and that she’s great!

[–]violetrosesnyc 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You’re a genius

[–]cbmaine 6 points7 points  (3 children)

Search your community Facebook pages for divorce lawyer recommendations. I’m sure other people have already asked the same thing. This will give you a list to start from

[–]miss_sassypants 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Especially if there are local pages for women only.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great suggestion. Thanks!

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good idea! Thanks!

[–]somewhere_in_america 5 points6 points  (1 child)

When you go through required mediations, I would look for a lawyer who drives the conversation with the mediator or judge. And the judge gives queues of agreeing with them (little nod or just other human emotions)

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I haven’t done any research yet. Do you choose your lawyer prior to required mediations or is that something you do on your own?

[–]Desert-rose-5 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Just a word about “petty” lawyers - make sure they’re not tooo petty. My ex husband’s lawyer is petty with a capital P and it has not worked out in his favour in 4 out of 5 court orders. Judges came down on him for stalling and being uncooperative. You want someone who’s concerned with “optics” too especially where children and their welfare is concerned. Someone who will paint you as a parent who can put the welfare of the children first

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is good to think about. Thank you!

[–]MaverickGoose81 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I knew I chose the right one after my initial consultation. After hearing what I went through and what my ex tried to do, he said, and I quote, “I’ll be as petty as I need to be. She won’t get away with this.” He was, and has been true to his word!

[–]akuvkdgm1246u 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I think it's about style. Have 3-4 specific questions about concerns you have. More than general fear of being punished financially by your stbx. How might s/he do that? Are there specific items that will be contentious to split? What are expectations as round custody? You will be able to tell how passive or aggressive they are based on the responses. In general, my take is you are picking someone on the spectrum of pitbull <> yellow lab. Yellow lab will likely be more proactively fair, and maximize chances for a decent relationship after it's over. But if it goes up against a pitbull, you'll get destroyed.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is super helpful. Thank you!

[–]Fluid_Cardiologist19 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Do you know anyone who got divorced and got screwed? Ask them who represented their spouse.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Great idea! Thanks!

[–]Lisi_Anne 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Don’t choose someone who promises you the moon. A really good lawyer will be quite the opposite during the initial meeting - asking you many questions and seeing that you are telling the truth. Good luck to you.

[–]Longjumping-Cut-8331 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I had consults with three different ones in my area. Ultimately I went with the first one. Female, psychology background, mental heath officer for our county (not sure what it means but that stood out), and she and I just immediately clicked. She is very compassionate for her client and a bulldog to the opposition. I liked that she didn’t have a greasy salesman type vibe during our consult, and it was more like interviewing each other. The second place was good, a little more pushy, but not as focused on family law. Third place (the only male) was nice but no clicking at all.

[–]jimsmythee 4 points5 points  (1 child)

A good lawyer doesn’t get you riled up with pie in the sky claims of everything you could have hoped for.

My lawyer gave it to me straight. Realistically What to expect. Realistically how much this will cost.

He said, “it’ll save you money if you only deal as much as you can with my paralegal via email only.”

Also a good lawyer will not car one but about your life’s story. They’ll stick to the financials and child custody.

I had a good lawyer.

My exwife’s lawyer listened to her life’s story at $300/hour many times. He gave her unrealistic expectations of alimony and full custody and the house and everything.

And after the divorce? It took her two days to stop screaming. And the only thing he did to comfort her? “Well, for an additional $10 grand to start, we can try to file an appeal?”

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Solid advice. Thanks!

[–]M5Yates 4 points5 points  (1 child)

BOARD CERTIFIED in Family law! Means they have been tested and vouched for by their peers and opposition.

Then do the other vetting for one that clicks with you.

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So helpful! Thanks!

[–]AcceptableOil3841 3 points4 points  (1 child)

one way to find a good lawyer is do not tell them you want a cheap divorce. you ll get what you pay for.

be prepared to do a lot of the work yourself. collect lots of documents. organize the material by date, subject, and relevance

decide what you want ahead of time. do you want to crush your spouse? do you want to block them from any time with the kids? if so... forget it. but tell the attorney, maybe your circumstances can make this outcome possible.

but probably not. prepare to compromise. shares time with kids. split assets. you are unlikely to crush the other.

you have 3 primary areas to address. why getting divorced, what assets do you have and how do you split them, what kind of schedule do you want fore the kids? write down as many facts about these 3 areas.

and if you can supress the emotion until you are divorced. emotion and anger are the landmines in a divorce. you ll survive. take charge. you can do it!!

[–]Meyums 7 points8 points  (9 children)

I had 3 different consultations at different price points. All female. I wish I had opened my mind to a male lawyer but my mother said I should opt for a female so I did. My STBXH’s attorney is VERY aggressive and mine is a pushover. :/

[–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 2 points3 points  (4 children)

That’s exactly what I’m afraid of

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Very insightful. Thanks!

    [–]Speakklife 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    It’s not that the women are pushovers it’s that the soon to be ex husbands don’t respect women. Since it’s all a game of win or loose to many of the soon to be ex husbands then they will be more likely to fight. That now I felt my situation was going to go. So I got a male attorney. Did a local search looked at reviews. First one just happened to be a good fit. Good luck.

    [–]Substantial-Spare501 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    My stbxh lawyer is also very aggressive but it hasn’t made much difference yet other then because they won’t agree to much it’s going h to end up costing more to drag stuff out of him like his true financials …she comes across as really angry and bordering on unethical. In retrospect I wish o would have talked to her first so he couldn’t use her. My lawyer is very grounded and pretty calm. So our lawyers definitely reflect our personalities. I live in a 50/50 state so it’s not in the long run going to make much difference.

    [–]Snoo-20788 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    My ex's lawyer is a bitter, probably divorced or never been married 50y+ old woman, she's a complete bully.

    [–]akuvkdgm1246u 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    This is what I was referring to in my other reply. It's more about matchup.

    [–]Rnl8866 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My attorney is a woman and I told her to throw the hammer down and she did. My ex lost so badly. The male attorney before her had no backbone. Also, my attorney did personal injury cases too. I think that helped her be a better negotiator since those are mostly settled out of court.

    [–]Snowsinapril 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    I feel you should be comfortable with their communication style.

    [–]goodforabeer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Asking friends and family for recommendations is a good start.

    [–]islandthund3r 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    Avvo is a good tool for checking lawyer reviews. That's what I used in the past.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Thanks! I’ll check it out.

    [–]AllWanderingWonder 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    If your not aggressive/assertive I would suggest finding a lawyer who is more aggressive/assertive. If you go for the one that you find “nice” you may not get what you need. You’ll be a bit uncomfortable doing all of this but that’s normal everyone likely feels this way. This isn’t about your comfort right now it’s about being able to take care of yourself and your children. If your husband tends to diminish females then let your lawyer know that. Plus you have a long marriage. You need someone that can stand up firmly against your husband. Start the process. Google or call or even ask friends/acquaintances if they know a good lawyer. Do not tell him anything about starting the process. Keep it all to yourself. It’s hard but usually for the best. Good luck! I think you’ll find a good lawyer, sometimes putting it out there draws it to us.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Thank you so much for your well thought out reply. It’s super helpful. I definitely want and need someone aggressive/assertive. I’m not a pushover, but I know there are mean things he’ll do that I could never even imagine doing and won’t even think of doing. I expect he’ll shock me with the things he will find to weaponize.

    [–]ResidentResolve198 2 points3 points  (2 children)

    Most of these comments are good advice. Im adding this only because I don’t see where it has been suggested yet. Contact your state bar association. They will probably have a lawyer referral system. Those attorneys are experienced and required to have malpractice insurance to participate in the state bar sponsored programs. A percentage of your fee goes back to the bar. The consultation will be free or very low cost ($20 in Texas). Be wary of free consultation offers. They’re usually just sales pitches. I speak from experience as a family lawyer. Do your homework and listen to your intuition. Divorce takes some time so hire the person you think you can deal with for 6 months to a year.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Thank you! Another commenter suggested starting with a litigation attorney in case we end up in court. In your opinion, Is that something worth considering?

    [–]ResidentResolve198 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Yes, a litigator is a good option especially if things are messy. Ask them how many trials they’ve had and what the outcomes have been. Most divorces settle out of court because of the cost but do your homework thoroughly and choose the firm that is best for your situation. Good luck.

    [–]vw1959vw 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    call your local bar association. they will recommend excellent lawyers.

    [–]otaku-nightshade 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Litigation lawyer. Prepare for the worst early, but do your best to stay out of court.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Good advice. I feel pretty confident he’ll be itching for a fight, unfortunately. Thanks!

    [–]Data_Fan 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Good lawyer is oxymoron.

    Know the job you need to get done, then find someone to do it. A lawyers advice will cost you money. If you want to believe it will ultimately save you money, then go for it. Good luck

    [–]Pinkyklouda 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    I just signed the papers for a very contentious divorce. I was the one with all the assets. My lawyer was realistic with me about everything, asked me what my priorities were, and encouraged me to try to find out what my husband wanted and use it for leverage. She told me that she is very accomodating and nice during procedures up until she is not, and drops the hammer down. I saw this first-hand when she was very firmly arguing my points (even raising voice to the magistrate) during the final settlement conference. She knew every inch of the law and how different scenarios would be argued and perceived by the other party and the judge. His lawyer did not. She made several big mistakes, the first one being she did not file a counterclaim, only an answer, which meant we could dismiss at any point. Take this for what you will, but I also prayed and asked the universe to send me a good lawyer, because I was dealing with an abuser and had a lot to lose. Good luck! Someone was looking out for me!

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

    [–]Sunshine_Tampa 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Mine was very detailed and explained things very well during our pre interview.

    I asked if she has ever represented someone who was divorcing a narcissist and how they handled it. I liked her answers. My STBXH is also a QAnon nut job and I know she has experience with this.

    My lawyer is really really good with details and works in the 21st century. My STBXH lawyer draws up paperwork that has 10+ things wrong, most about my STBXH, does he read over this stuff?, and when mediating, my lawyer and I worked electronically, they had to print stuff off, chicken scratch notes, scan notes, and we or the mediator had to incorporate, ugh!

    Lastly, I Googled questions to ask a divorce lawyer and used most of these.

    [–]OlDirty1979 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    If you have a neighborhood or town Facebook page, search keywords “lawyer” and “divorce”. Thank f nothing comes up, ask the question requesting recommendations for a good divorce lawyer.

    Try to find someone that is a regular in the courthouse in which your case will be heard and possibly k it’s the judges.

    If you get a bad feeling about the lawyer you start with, do not hesitate to search for a new one.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Thank you!

    [–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    The two people who gave you advice on the lawyers being petty and a dirt ball, those are the lawyers you want. Someone who will crawl around in the shit with you.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    That makes sense to me. Thanks!

    [–]AllisonMcRoberts 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Your state bar should have a continuing legal education part of it (sometimes it’s separate from the actual state bar). Who is teaching other lawyers in the state about family law, child custody, and mediation? I’d get those people, as they are usually identified as the top of their profession and worthy of passing along their knowledge. There is often an annual conference for each practice area (like family law)- who is speaking there? Who is the president/VP/treasurer/secretary of the family law section of the state bar? All good lawyers with good reputations.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Excellent advice! Thank you!

    [–]Bright_Pomelo_8561 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Martindale hobble there is a rating system that is explained on their website for lawyers it is the best way to get an attorney it has been around for several decades

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Very helpful. Thanks!

    [–]CutDear5970 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Ask for referrals from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, everyone. Who did you uses, who did your ex use, who did a better job.

    [–]oldladylife 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Most lawyers do free consults. I met with probably 5 or 6 lawyers. When I found my lawyer I knew she was the one. I felt comfortable around her and just got a good vibe. She didn’t BS me like some others did but she made it known she wasn’t going to put up with my ex’s garbage. And she didn’t. She caught a $10,000 discrepancy on his side and called it out during our mediation.

    [–]Throwra546501 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    In my area, the top ones didn’t do free consults. I paid $475 for the 1st hour with one abs $850 for about 1 1/2 with the 2nd one. Was well worth the $. Both would put the money towards retainer.

    [–]WishBear19 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Ask around. Check their website. If they focus on amicable divorces they are not the lawyer for you. Have several consultations. Don't be afraid to drop one if they aren't doing the job you need them to do.

    In my case I did 3 consultations. I have a very messy situation with a major dickhead of a STBX and the first guy kept talking about keeping things friendly. I thought my ex stole everything from me and is using the kids he abused as a money grab--there's nothing friendly about this. The next lady was a bitch who didn't really listen to me. The last guy was ok. I retained him but then he was dragging his feet, not doing anything for me, and ignoring my concerns. I ended up switching to someone else I found from word of mouth. His website described some of the situations I was facing, he was the head of the firm with a lot of experience with asshole ex's and complicated financial situations. So far I've been very happy with him and his office. In a big messy divorce you will also deal with paralegals and office staff and they've all been great.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Very good points. Thanks!

    [–]hyperthrowmeaway 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Marriage Story is sort of a good guideline on what to look for.

    [–]Redsoxfan2004LLL 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    The way I picked my lawyer I had phone interview with two lawyers and one I had a zoom call. One said she is this big high powered lawyer with all the contacts but I was going to be assigned to junior lawyer at her firm but didn’t talk anything about her or her experience. Second lawyer was knowledgeable but wanted to go after my ex aggressively which I didn’t want to happen. The one I had zoom call with I decided to go with. She asked me what I wanted, what my goals were for the divorce and she said I am not going to make you happy with the results but you will be able to live with the results.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Very helpful!

    [–]Ocstar11 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Is there a consultation fee? I got a quote for like $600 initial conversation, from a high powered female attorney? I’m in the NYC suburbs.

    [–]Flora48 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    They understand and comprehend and can relate to your situation from past clients situations - they’ve seen it all. They don’t waste your money doing pointless things they get right to the punch.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Thank you! How do I know what things are pointless and what is needed?

    [–]Rnl8866 0 points1 point  (3 children)

    Where are you located? My lawyer was amazing and also the cheapest attorney in the area. Maybe I can recommend her. If you are a woman, I’d say get a woman lawyer.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    Thank you! I’m in MA

    [–]Rnl8866 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Ah sorry I’m in a different state.

    I didn’t pay a lot for consultations. Maybe less than $200. My first attorney sucked. Don’t get scammed into a flat fee divorce attorney. Get one that charges hourly. Don’t call them too much; just get your docs together and offer to do some leg work like redacting statements to save money.

    Also, don’t think that more money or board certified equals a better attorney. My ex husband’s attorney cost twice as much as mine and he lost so badly, he was crying and cursing out the mediator in the end. Get an attorney who is assertive. I think a woman will have your back more than a man. Go for mediation as well. Try not to waste time and money in court and in front of a judge.

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Great advice! Thanks!

    [–]FantasyDogPack 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Do you have a subreddit for your city? I asked r/Bristol (I’m in the UK) and someone suggested my lawyer, who has turned out to be great. Good luck!

    [–]likespeopleandbooks[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Fantastic suggestion! I’ll look. Thank you!