Texas Divorce Laws

Texas Divorce Attorney? Do NOT Hire Until You Read These 7 Tips

By:
Sophia Merton
Updated
September 9, 2022

While divorces happen every day in Texas, every divorce case is unique. Before you hire a Texas divorce attorney, you’ll want to read our 7 tips.

A good divorce lawyer will be able to help you navigate the complicated legal process of dissolving your marriage. Choosing the wrong lawyer, though, can make your divorce cost more, take longer, and be more stressful.

Divorce is never easy, but the right divorce attorney can make the process as smooth as possible.

Let’s take a look at seven tips to help you hire the right Texas divorce attorney.

7 Tips For Hiring a Texas Divorce Attorney

Hiring a divorce attorney can feel overwhelming at first. However, by understanding what type of divorce you need, gathering the names of prospective lawyers, and interviewing attorneys you might want to work with, you can find the lawyer that is best suited to your case.

1. Decide What Type of Divorce You Need

Before you hire a lawyer for your divorce, it’s a good idea to consider which divorce process you will be following. The first question you’ll want to ask yourself is whether you expect your divorce to be contested or uncontested.

two lawyers in law office representing client in texas divorce

Finding a lawyer that has experience with a case similar to yours can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

If your divorce is contested, it means that you and your spouse don’t agree on all of the major issues in your divorce. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on the terms of your split or your spouse is refusing to participate in the process and you can pursue a default divorce.

Some couples decide to get divorced mutually and amicably. If this is the case, and you are both on the same page about property distribution, child custody and support, and other divorce issues, you can benefit from the faster, cheaper, and less stressful process of getting an uncontested divorce.

For other spouses, though, the issue of divorce is one that produces a lot of conflicts. Maybe both individuals are angry and hurt by the break-up and unwilling to compromise regarding divorce issues, or maybe just one party is being completely uncooperative.

Either way, it’s important to understand that high conflict divorces can take longer to finalize, cost more money, and be a lot more emotionally taxing.

Understanding how much, if any, conflict will be involved in your divorce should inform the divorce attorney you decide to hire. If you are getting a simple, uncontested divorce and your estate isn’t particularly complicated, you should be able to find a competent and experienced lawyer that will assist you in navigating the process. In fact, it’s possible that you don’t need a divorce attorney at all, or you might be able to at least avoid hiring a full-scope lawyer.

If you’re pursuing a contested divorce, though, you’ll need to find a lawyer that is highly qualified to represent you during negotiations and potential litigation.

At the same time, you don’t want a lawyer that is more aggressive than is suitable for your case.

Wondering how to get divorced without emptying your savings account? You can learn about cheap divorce options in Texas here.

2. Research, Research, Research

It’s so much easier to get useful information about local attorneys these days than it used to be. With the power of the internet, you can get a sense of your options right from the comfort of your own home.

computer outside with google to search for divorce attorney in texas

One of the first things you can do to find a Texas divorce attorney is to research local family law firms online.

Most likely the first step you will take (if you haven’t already) is to google “divorce attorney in [your location].” This will bring up a ton of options, but you don’t want to assume that the first result is the lawyer you should definitely go with.

This initial search can help you get a sense of the different types of lawyers available in your area. You can learn a lot about the different law firms, including:

  • Their areas of specialty
  • How large their firms are
  • How many years of experience do they have in your area
  • Their personal interests and values

Some lawyers might have more information than others on their websites. You might find that some firms offer details about issues that specific attorneys have litigated. This can help you understand whether a certain firm or lawyer seems adequately experienced to handle your case.

In the next section, we’re going to talk about getting recommendations from other people for divorce attorneys. However, it really is a good idea to do a search online first, even if it’s cursory and brief. When you’ve done your own research, it can help you get a full picture of the playing field so that the recommendations you receive from other people can be kept in balance with your full scope of options.

3. Ask Around

Now that you have a sense of what is out there thanks to your internet research, it’s time to start asking for recommendations.

two friends at coffee shop discussing texas divorce attorney recommendations

You might find that your friends, family, and colleagues have good recommendations for Texas divorce attorneys. Rather than calling the first lawyer recommended to you, though, you'll want to add them to your shortlist and make sure they have the right type of experience for your case.

It can feel overwhelming to choose a divorce attorney, particularly if you’ve never had to deal with legal issues before. Finding a lawyer just from googling around also can leave you feeling unsettled– the number one result on the search results page isn’t necessarily the best lawyer to help you in your specific circumstances.

On the other hand, taking the first recommendation you receive for a divorce lawyer also isn’t always a good idea. After all, the person recommending the lawyer might have some personal stake in the matter (for example, they’re recommending their own spouse or a family member.) On top of that, the lawyer they used might have been a great choice for their divorce proceedings, but they might not suit your needs.

With those caveats in mind, it can be useful to talk to other people you know who have gotten divorced in your general region.

You might not feel comfortable going to everyone you know for advice about a divorce lawyer, but consider asking any relatives, friends, or colleagues that you trust for recommendations.

You won’t want to go with the first divorce lawyer recommendation you receive. Instead, ask around and gather a list of names that you can take home and do more research on. Chances are, someone will recommend one of the lawyers you found in your initial internet search.

It can also be a good idea to ask some people for referrals that you don’t personally know. For example, consider calling some non-family law attorneys in your area. You can ask them who they would hire if they found themselves in a position where they needed a divorce attorney.

Another type of professional you could call for recommendations is an attorney’s office. You might find that you get some non-biased, solid referrals.

When you’re gathering information about divorce attorneys, your goal should be to end up with a short list of lawyers you believe could be a good fit for your case.

Remember, every case is different. Just because your best friend was very happy with their divorce lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the right person to handle your divorce.

4. Create a List of Questions and Interview Potential Lawyers

Once you have your short list of potential lawyers in hand, you can create a list of questions that you want each lawyer to answer. Then, you can set up interviews with each one of them. It’s best to not go with the first attorney you come across– the more lawyers you talk to, the more perspective you’ll be able to get regarding who can best represent your case.

Depending on your particular circumstances, you can prepare a list of questions that are specific to your case. Some questions you might want to ask your attorney about include:

  • How often and through what methods will we communicate about my case?
  • How do your fees work?
  • How does the court usually rule on the types of issues in my divorce?
  • How will my specific properties be treated in a divorce?
  • How will child custody and child support issues be treated in my divorce?
  • Should I expect to receive or pay spousal support in my divorce?
  • How long do you think the entire process will take from start to finish?

Of course, you will want to personalize your list of questions to suit your needs. It can be useful to sit down and brainstorm all of the things that are on your mind regarding the legal aspects of your divorce. You can then hone in on unanswered questions and unique aspects of your case to build your list of questions.

5. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Experience

Getting divorced isn’t usually cheap, and this can drive people to simply hire the cheapest divorce attorney they can find. However, there is almost always a correlation between a lawyer’s hourly or flat fees and how much experience they have.

two lawyers in law office representing client in texas divorce

It can be tempting to try and save money on a divorce by hiring a new, inexperienced lawyer, but hiring a lawyer with experience in your type of case can be worth the cost.

If you are getting a straightforward, simple divorce, you might be able to get away with hiring a lawyer that hasn’t been in the practice for a terribly long time. If there is any complexity to your case, though, you’ll want to remember how valuable experience is when it comes to matters of the law.

When an attorney has years or decades of experience as a divorce lawyer in your particular region, they will be familiar with all of the nooks and crannies of the legal system and be aware of any obstacles that could pop up along the way. Lawyers who have a lot of experience will be much quicker to notice any issues that are developing and work to rectify them immediately.

When you interview your short list of lawyers, you’ll want to ask them how many years they’ve been practicing family law and if they have any experience with cases similar to yours. You can also ask to find out more about their track record with cases.

6. Confirm Their Reputation

With your shortlist in hand and a number of interviews under your belt, you’ll want to make sure that the lawyers you are considering hiring have a reputation you feel comfortable with. You can do this by reading client testimonials on the firm’s website. Of course, the testimonials listed on their site will likely be a favorable portrait of their services.

So to further determine whether other clients have been happy with the legal advice and service they’ve received, you can also look at Google reviews and even ask the lawyer for past clients that would be willing to act as references.

The Better Business Bureau is another place where you can read reviews that should be less biased than the firm’s website. Remember, reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, but you can start to notice informative patterns when you look at a number of reviews at once.

7. Trust Your Gut

Finally, it’s always important to trust your gut when it comes to hiring a lawyer. You are going to be sharing a lot of personal information with your divorce attorney during the proceedings. This means that it’s absolutely essential that you feel comfortable with them and you trust them.

Even if an attorney looks like the perfect fit on paper, you might find that something just seems off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t a great lawyer or that there’s anything wrong with them. It can simply mean that your personalities don’t jive well together and that you might feel more comfortable working with someone else.

Are you thinking about getting divorced without hiring a lawyer at all? Make sure you read this post about getting divorced in Texas without an attorney.

Red Flags to Watch For When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

On top of our seven tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas, there are also some red flags you’ll want to watch out for. These are signs that a certain lawyer might cause more problems than they solve.

Poor Communication

One of the biggest red flags when it comes to hiring a lawyer is poor communication. Good communication is vital to the relationship between an attorney and a client. Divorce cases can, at certain points, move quickly, and you’ll want to trust that your lawyer is letting you know about any developments that pop up right away.

The best attorneys will be very communicative with their clients. They will educate them about aspects of the law they need to know, let them know about decisions they need to make, and help advise them about their different options.

Overly Aggressive

Aggression isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a lawyer, especially when you’re embroiled in a contentious divorce. However, it’s possible for overly aggressive attorneys to actually do more harm than good.

In most cases, the best attorneys are ready and willing to work with the other side of the case. If a lawyer you are talking to seems entirely focused on “crushing” the other side, you might find that they won’t perform well in the number of pre-trial stages that can help you save money, time, and energy.

A divorce attorney that is set on bringing a case to trial isn’t what you should be looking for. Almost all divorce cases are settled before it gets to trial, and going to court should really be a last resort when all other negotiation processes have been exhausted.

Taking a case to trial can wreak havoc on your life as it is way more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. On top of that, it can be really hard on kids. The best divorce attorneys will know when and how to work with the other side to make sure that you get the best possible outcome from your divorce.

Are you wondering how much you should expect to pay to get divorced? Check out our guide to the cost of divorce in Texas.

Overly Positive

Having a lawyer that helps you see the silver lining in things isn’t necessarily bad. However, some lawyers are overly positive, promising you outcomes that are unreasonable. For example, if an attorney is telling you that they’re going to get you an exorbitant amount in spousal support, full custody of your children, and a bulk of the marital property, this is a major red flag. If a lawyer you’re talking to is promising you that they will help you win almost everything in a Texas divorce, they are most likely just trying to get you to sign their retainer agreement and making empty promises to reach that end.

Lack of Compassion and Empathy

Yes, the legal system might be dry, but the emotional reality of divorce is anything but. Even if a lawyer has been practicing for decades, they should still be able to grasp the fact that you are going through a major life event.

The best divorce attorneys understand just how difficult divorce is at a personal level and how much it can turn a person’s life upside down. They are able to empathize with their clients and help them figure out what it is they want out of the divorce.

If you end up with a divorce lawyer that is lacking in empathy, it will likely be an incredibly frustrating experience.

Jack-of-All-Trades

Some lawyers claim to do it all. When you’re getting divorced, though, you really don’t want to be working with a generalist. You want a lawyer that specializes in family law and divorce. Beyond that, you want an attorney that has experience with cases that are similar to your own.

For example, if you are getting divorced with kids, you’ll want a lawyer that has helped clients successfully navigate divorce with children many times over. If you and your spouse are getting divorced and you co-own a business together, it is best to find a lawyer that has dealt with this type of circumstance in the past.

You never want to be a guinea pig client for a lawyer. When an attorney takes on a type of case they’ve never worked on before, there will almost always be things that come up that they aren’t able to anticipate. It’s ideal to find a lawyer that has seen it all and is able to help you navigate the process no matter what surprises pop up along the way.

Disrespectful to Others

If you’re interviewing a lawyer and you’ve noticed they are disrespectful to their staff or other people, it’s a major red flag. Maybe you heard them divulge confidential information from past cases or speak poorly or clients they had in the past. When you notice this type of behavior, you can expect this is the treatment you will receive during and after your own divorce case.

Unwilling to Provide References

Asking for references can be a great way to make sure you are making the right decision when it comes to hiring a divorce lawyer. If an attorney refuses to provide references, this is a major red flag. Any lawyer that won’t give you a list of references you can contact most likely has something to hide.

Divorce in Texas: Knowledge Is Power

For many people, getting divorced is one of the most difficult life events they’ll ever go through. It can shake up your life from every angle, even if the decision to get divorced is mutual and the process is amicable. When you get divorced, it is usually financially, mentally, and emotionally taxing.

Hiring the right lawyer can go a long way in making the divorce process more manageable. Not only can they help inform you about what the timeline will look like, but they can also lay out all of your options for each contested issue and give you valuable legal advice.

While it isn’t cheap to work with an attorney, many people find that it is money well spent. After all, the outcome of your divorce can have a major impact on your post-divorce life. Not only can it impact what property you end up with and your finances after divorce, but also your relationship with your children.

Getting divorced for the first time can be scary. One of the best ways to alleviate your fears, though, is to learn as much as possible about the process. No matter where you are in your divorce journey, be sure to check out TexasDivorceLaws.org.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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