Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer, Here are 5 Things You Should Know

Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer, Here are 5 Things You Should Know

Know Before You Hire

Divorce is new territory for most who are approaching the process. Your first inclination may be to hire a divorce lawyer right off the bat. Divorce lawyers are expensive and will hold the outcome of your future in their hands, so make sure understand what you are paying for. Before you jump to retain someone, consider these points:

  1. You aren’t required to have a lawyer represent you. People represent themselves all the time in civil cases, divorce included. You do not need a law degree to handle your own divorce, but you do need a good idea of what you want out of the situation.
  1. Many lawyers charge hourly, for everything. The fee structures for lawyers can be mystifying. A divorce lawyer will typically require a retainer to start your case. After that has been exhausted, you will be billed hourly for all the work done on your case. This can add up even in the simplest of divorce cases.
  1. A lawyer can’t guarantee results. No matter how aggressive or expensive your lawyer is, he or she cannot guarantee you will get what you want. Your lawyer can only negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer. If they are unsuccessful, your case may go to trial. Trial is high risk for all involved.
  1. Your lawyer might be busy, and that can prolong your case. Your case won’t be the only one your lawyer is working on. This may result in your case taking longer than you’d like. You may have to wait several days to hear back from your lawyer if you have questions about your case. Some clients are fine with this. Others may want more individual attention.
  1. Divorce lawyers can have different styles. Not all lawyers are created equal. You could end up working with a lawyer you don’t get along well with or one that doesn’t instill confidence in you. It is expensive to switch lawyers because you will have to pay the new lawyer to play catch up. The lesson: be careful whom you hire to represent you. Divorce is an emotional experience where the stakes are high. It is vital you hire a lawyer you get along with and trust.

Many people hire divorce lawyers to handle their cases but do so without understanding the costs and benefits of having legal representation. Unfortunately, a lawyer is often a significant investment, and this can leave many feeling like they didn’t get what they paid for. Hopefully, the information above will provide some guidance if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce.


Do you have questions about how to divorce amicably? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help. Polly A. Tatum has the skills and experience needed to help you and your spouse divorce amicably and without lawyers. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at 508-795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.



  1. john Mahoney 8 months ago

    I didn’t know that you weren’t required to have a lawyer when taking care of civil cases. I will make sure to look into this more but I might end up having a lawyer to help me anyways. I appreciate the time you put into writing this, I will make sure to keep all these things in mind as I look for the best attorney.

  2. Troy Blackburn 8 months ago

    I didn’t know that I didn’t need a divorce lawyer to represent me. Like you said, however, you would need a good idea of what you want out of the situation to be able to represent yourself. To me, it seems like hiring a lawyer would probably be best for most people. I’ve heard, too, that some attorneys will charge you less if they don’t win the case like you had expected. That could help relieve some of the cost burden!

  3. john Mahoney 8 months ago

    U agree that when looking to hire an attorney it is important to ask how familiar the firm is with cases like yours. I can see how asking this can help you find someone who knows how to help you and handle the case. I would rather take to pay a little more for someone who knows how to help me than pay for someone who can’t help me properly. I will make sure to keep this in mind, thank you for sharing.

  4. Kairi Gainsborough 6 months ago

    You made a great point about being careful when you choose a lawyer to represent you. I agree that it would be important to choose a friendly, trustworthy person when it comes to a sensitive issue like divorce. If I ever needed representation, I would want to meet a few lawyer before I pick one. That way, I could get a better idea of who I would work well with.

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