The last thing you need if you're going through a divorce is to be wondering if you picked the right divorce attorney. Divorce attorneys shouldn't be adding to your stress level they should lowering it. But ultimately picking the right divorce attorney depends on the person paying the bill.
This may sound crazy, but if you have friends or relatives or even people you work with who have gone through a divorce, ask for a recommendation! It's all about networking. Get a list of names and start making phone calls. And ask right up front if you have to pay for the initial consultation. On the other hand, there are other divorce attorneys who are not so benevolent. SO again, ASK. Unfortunately, many spouses think good divorce attorneys are being paid to be their friends. When in fact the divorce attorney is being paid to do a JOB.
The divorce procedure is a complicated one. So you need to be comfortable with the person doing the legwork for you. If you're not comfortable with the divorce attorney upon your initial meeting, got see another! You need to have confidence in him or her. Time is money. So be prepared ahead of time. Stay focused during your visit. Get in and get out. Ultimately you need to ask yourself, do you want a good friend or a person who can do a thorough job?
Keep in mind that good divorce attorneys are like plumbers in some respect. They charge "By the Hour." They are not going to keep an eye on the time. You do. Good divorce attorneys may have your best interests in mind - after all you are their client - but they are making a living like everyone else. So make sure in advance that you receive a monthly, itemized billing statement. Not just one that charges for services rendered.
Remember, the initial meeting is a time for divorce attorneys to see if the potential client is a good fit for them, but also if they are a good fit for you. Be direct and ask questions and get a fix on whether they will return your phone calls promptly, keep you up-to-date as the case progresses, will thy charge for phone calls and silly though it may sound; ask if he or she offers a payment plan.
Especially if you're the husband, you are dealing with the reality of a settlement of some sort and that can lead to divorce debt. You don't want to compound that divorce debt by incurring a monster-sized bill from your attorney.
Having worked out the initial working relationship, now it's time to actively engage your ears. That means you as the client need to LISTEN to what the lawyer says. Part of the good divorce attorneys' responsibility is to educate you and keep you abreast of what will be happening with regards to the divorce procedure. You're paying, so you have a right to know and he or she has an obligation to tell you. "Trust me" is not the correct answer on the part of a divorce attorney, even if that's what you want to hear!
The golden rule is once the case proceeds to court, you are no longer in control. The judge has the final call on what is best for the ex-husband, wife and children.
This leads to another point regarding divorce attorneys, divorce procedures and judges. The judge can only make a decision on your case based on the information presented to him or her. They don't have time nor do they probably want to get to know you, your wife, or the kids. They can't decide who is the good guy or the bad guy. They can only deal with facts.
This is why a minimum of cooperation between the husband and wife can make things a heck of a lot easier when it comes to dividing property, children and futures.