Choosing your Family Law Lawyer...
here's what to ask

Choosing the right family law lawyer for you and your specific situation is a profoundly important decision determining your and your children’s future. This concerns your finances and will also impact how long your separation and divorce will take and whether or not it will be a peaceful process.


By Val Hemminger; Westshore Lawyer, serving British Columbia

Your initial family lawyer consultation:  

  1. Has the lawyer inspired your confidence by “taking charge” (in a respectful way) during your initial meeting?
  2. What has your experience been with their office and office staff? How smooth was the intake process?
  3. Do you feel a connection with your lawyer?
  4. What does your lawyer’s “office” look like? Is it presentable and organized? It better be.
  5. Does the lawyer seem focused and supportive? Are they listening to you?
  6. Do you feel that the lawyer just tells you what you want to hear so you will hire them? If so, run. The best divorce lawyers tell you both the good news and the bad. 
  7. Do they have time for your case?
  8. Do they want your case?

Your potential lawyer’s knowledge and expertise about family law:

  1. Has the lawyer given you a clear outline of your rights and responsibilities? 
  2. Does the lawyer specialize in family law matters?
  3. How many family cases have they handled?

Is your potential lawyer “good” at what they do?

  1. Have you looked at any online reviews for this lawyer? Top family law lawyers are rated everywhere by former happy clients. One place to check is Google
  2. Will the lawyer go to court if it is necessary for your case?
  3. How long does it take your family law lawyer to get a case from start to finish?

What is your family law lawyer’s method to getting your matter finalized?

  1. Has your family law lawyer explained to you the various processes available to resolve your matter (other than going to court)?
  2. What is their view about going to court instead of other modes of resolving the matter?
  3. How many cases have they taken to court? 
  4. Of the matters they have taken to court, how many have been successful?

When choosing the right divorce lawyer, ask if they are specifically trained in dispute resolution

  1. Some lawyers for family law have extensive dispute resolution training, way beyond what law school taught them. Your family law lawyer must have this additional training if they are going to be any good.
  2. If they have dispute resolution training, what training do they have? 
  3. How often do they take cases to mediation or other dispute resolution processes other than court?

The family law lawyer’s billing practices:

  1. Are the lawyer’s billing practices clear and transparent?
  2. Does your lawyer offer flat fees as an option?
  3. Do they charge for your legal assistant’s or paralegal’s time?
  4. What are the average bills your family law lawyer’s clients pay to conclude their matter?

What to expect during your relationship with your potential family law lawyer

  1. What is the lawyer’s preferred method of communication with you (email, phone, meetings in person, virtual meetings)?
  2. Top-rated divorce lawyers keep you in the loop. They have a system to provide you with copies of all documents, letters, and filed court materials. Does your family law lawyer do this?
  3. What steps will your family law lawyer take to make sure your case will move forward promptly?