5 Steps to Find a Family Divorce Lawyer Near Me

Finding a good family divorce lawyer is largely about asking the right questions and thoroughly researching any professional to confirm they have the skills you need and seem trustworthy. Feel free to ask your friends and family for recommendations, but always research a lawyer and speak with them directly before hiring them to help with your divorce.

What is a family divorce lawyer?

A family divorce lawyer specializes in family law. Cases relating to divorce aren’t the only types of cases these lawyers generally handle. Lawyers specializing in family law may deal with the following:

  • Adoption
  • Child welfare
  • Domestic violence
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Juvenile justice issues
  • Prenuptial agreements

Many of these issues can intersect with divorce cases. Common legal issues a family divorce lawyer is likely to handle relating to divorce include child custody, guardianship, and child and spousal support. 

A lawyer isn’t likely to be equally proficient in dealing with all family law issues. Ideally, you would select a lawyer who has significant experience with the specific issues likely to arise as part of your divorce.

5 steps to find a family divorce lawyer near you

There are many ways to find a divorce lawyer in your area, but taking the following steps may help to simplify the process:

Step 1: Ask friends and family for referrals

While family and friends shouldn’t be the only resource you use to look for legal professionals, they often make a good starting point. While most of these people may not be legal experts or completely familiar with a lawyer’s reputation beyond their own experiences with the person, your family and friends will generally be people you can confidently trust to be honest. You can also ask them questions directly about their experiences with their lawyer, which isn’t always possible when researching a lawyer online. 

Just keep in mind that everyone has their own biases. Lawyers who are family members or friends of the individuals you talk to may get a glowing recommendation regardless of their actual competency. 

Step 2: Research family divorce lawyers online

While it’s worth asking your friends and family for referrals to legal experts, the pool of professionals you generate through those questions is likely to be small. Search online for legal experts in your area, specifically those who specialize in divorce. 

In this digital age, there are often a number of legal directories you can search through that list most or all of the relevant legal professionals operating in your state. They may also have links to reviews and testimonials related to those professionals. 

When possible, read what other people have said about their experiences with a given legal professional to gain insight into what your experience is likely to be like if you choose that professional.

Step 3: Verify the lawyer’s credentials and experience

If you’ve found a lawyer who interests you, investigate their credentials through your state bar association's website. A properly credentialed lawyer should almost always be easy to find through the bar association in your state. Difficulties confirming a lawyer’s credentials should be taken as a major red flag. 

You should also try to verify claims a lawyer makes about their experience, such as how many cases of the type you want them to help you with they’ve previously worked on and the results they were able to help produce in those cases. 

Step 4: Schedule a meeting

When your list of potential lawyers is complete, put an initial consultation with each one on your calendar. These will be short meetings, often at no cost to you, where you can discuss the basics of your case with the lawyer and ask any questions you may have. 

Assuming the lawyer hearing the details of your case is willing to take the case, some questions worth asking include the following:

  • What is this case likely to cost? 
  • Are there any potential issues that could significantly raise the cost of this case or the time it requires?
  • Have you dealt with cases like this before? Can you discuss some details about those cases?
  • What are the strengths of my case?
  • What are the weaknesses of my case?
  • Is it realistic to expect a certain result from my case?
  • What are some alternative options available to me besides battling this out in court?

Keep in mind that a lawyer will obviously be biased in their own favor, even if they intend to act ethically and honestly. For example, a divorce lawyer is unlikely to recommend that you hire a mediator instead since that wouldn’t involve their services, in most cases. 

If you don’t hire a family divorce lawyer and instead come to an agreement with your ex outside of court, you could save a significant amount of money.  

Step 5: Choose your family divorce lawyer

Ultimately, you will decide who you hire as your family divorce lawyer based on your research and consultations. Choose the lawyer who seems most able to serve your interests. 

This is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly, as hiring a lawyer can be a significant financial investment. At the same time, you should be willing to switch lawyers if your lawyer doesn’t seem capable of fully serving your interests. 

That said, just because a lawyer cannot get everything you want from a case doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not skilled. Some cases are just weaker than others, and sometimes a client’s goals may not be realistic. 


Types of Law Defined: The Different Fields of Law Explained. (November 6, 2018). The Colleges of Law.

Senior Editor
Communication, Relationships, Divorce Insights
Melissa Schmitz is Senior Editor at Hello Divorce, and her greatest delight is to help make others’ lives easier – especially when they’re in the middle of a stressful life transition like divorce. After 15 years as a full-time school music teacher, she traded in her piano for a laptop and has been happily writing and editing content for the last decade. She earned her Bachelor of Psychology degree from Alma College and her teaching certificate from Michigan State University. She still plays and sings for fun at farmer’s markets, retirement homes, and the occasional bar with her local Michigan band.