Amanda Blystone answers:
When choosing a divorce lawyer, you should always consider the facts of your particular case. For example, if your case involves child-custody issues, then you should look for someone with experience advocating for children. Have they served as a guardian ad litem? Have they handled adoption cases? Have they taught seminars addressing issues related to custody and parenting time? If your case involves a particular type of asset, ask whether the lawyer has experience valuing and working with those assets. A family business or farm, for instance, requires particular skills to value and divide. Other examples of complicated assets requiring specialized knowledge and expertise include stock options and pensions; you want a lawyer who is familiar with the issues with valuing those assets, the tax consequences of dividing them, and so on.
You also may want to find out whether the lawyer has any additional certifications or designations that could be useful in your case. For instance, in Indiana some family law attorneys are Certified Family Law Specialists. That certification indicates that the lawyer has passed a detailed test focusing on family law, and has certified a particular level of involvement in family law cases over a period of years. Certified Family Law Specialists are required to go through a periodic re-certification process as well. An attorney might also have received additional training as a Collaborative lawyer or a mediator, allowing them to offer you alternatives to litigation to resolve your divorce-related issues.
Finally, I’d recommend that you find out whether the lawyer is affiliated with one or more bar associations. An experienced family law attorney should be involved in their local and state Bar Association and should preferably be active in the family law sections of those Bar Associations.