There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of lawyers who practice divorce and family law in Connecticut. With so many choices, it is important to find the lawyer best suited for your particular case.

There are four primary areas to consider:

1. Credentials. Is the attorney an active member of the family law sections through bar associations? Has the lawyer been subject of bar discipline? Have they served as a Special Master or as an arbitrator? If there are children involved, find out if the attorney is certified to accept cases as a guardian ad litem or attorney for the minor children. Determine whether the attorney has been appointed by the court to serve as a guardian ad litem or attorney for children.

2. Experience. How much of the lawyer’s caseload is devoted to divorce or the practice of family law? How long has been practicing family law? How many cases has the attorney tried? Does the attorney practice frequently in the court where your case is pending? While no two divorces are identical, there are often common themes. The vast majority of divorce cases do settle. If a significant percentage of lawyer’s caseload ends up in trial perhaps they are not experienced in skillful negotiation. However, if a trial is inevitable, make sure your lawyer has tried cases similar to yours.

3. Personal style. Lawyers have different personalities and styles. There are lawyers that are very aggressive in their demeanor – you know the “bulldog” type. Other lawyers are agressive in their court approach – filing many motions, scheduling numerous court dates and requesting extensive documentation. Still other lawyers are more settlement oriented. Find a lawyer with the right philosophy for you. In addition, you should feel comfortable on a personal level. Do they explain things well leaving aside the legal jargon? Do they relate well to you and treat you with respect? Will they keep you informed as to the status of your case?

4. Affordability. Cost is a factor for many clients. Most divorce attorneys require an advance legal retainer, which they bill against at their hourly rate. Some attorneys will take into account the client’s financial means when deciding the initial retainer and hourly rate. There are even a few attorneys who will accept cases on a flat fee basis (i.e. an uncontested divorce for a set amount). Regardless of what was discussed with the attorney, always get a Retainer Agreement setting forth the scope of representation and how fees are determined.


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