Questions When Selecting an Attorney

Here are some things to consider in deciding on an attorney to work with:

  1. Does the attorney practice family law on a regular basis? Attorneys who are general practitioners may not be as current on developments in family law in Michigan, or they may not have had as many opportunities to work on cases with situations similar to yours.
  2. How well does your attorney know how things work in your county? Attorneys who practice regularly in your county know the ins and outs of what the clerk's office requires, what the Friend of the Court requires, and usually what each specific judge requires, which does sometimes vary from courtroom to courtroom. Knowing this can save time and money.
  3. How well does your attorney know the latest information about family law? Attorneys who keep up on the latest changes in laws, case examples, court rules, and practice tips may be better equipped to help with your situation. They may have heard about a similar situation and what was done, or are just more likely to have encountered it in their own practice.
  4. How well does your attorney know others who practice family law in your county? Knowing your spouse's attorney does not in any way mean that your attorney would be less of an advocate for you. It simply means that if the attorneys have a collegial relationship, they may find it easier to discuss and work out issues, or that they may find opportunities in court or at family-law related events to discuss issues. This can minimize extra costs associated with attorneys trying to reach each other, and possibly maximize opportubities for your attorneys to help you find creative solutions to your issues. Clearly, an attorney who is a member of Wayne County Family Law Bar Association is likely to have the benefits discussed in 1-3 above. To find an attorney near you click here.

Once you contact one of our member attorneys, consider the answers to the following:

  1. How easy is it to contact this attorney? You should feel you have access, but also understand that your attorney may be dealing with other matters at any gven time. You and your attorney can discuss reasonable expectations.
  2. How does your attorney charge for time? This and other aspects of your representaton should be spelled out in your retainer agreement, and you should be sure you are aware of how you will be charged, as well as how you can find out the current status of your bill.
  3. How does your attorney communicate with you? Many attorneys will use e-mail or on-line services to exchange drafts of documents, to make sure that you are clear about what is being filed with the court or communicated to your spouse's attorney before it is finalized. If you do not have access to those services you may want to clarify alternative ways to accomplish this.
  4. How does your attorney approach getting the case settled? Many attorneys decide to use mediation as a tool for settlement early on in the case, because it can help people exchange information, can help deal with emotional situations, and can help to make sure that arrangements for children are dealt with. Other attorneys deal with these things in "4 way meetings" with attorneys and spouses. It is important to know how your attorney plans to deal with this case, and whether they have a plan to keep things moving forward.