Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process. Having the right attorney by your side is crucial. New York State has various types of matrimonial and divorce attorneys with different practice areas. New York ranks second for the most attorneys in each state, with over 85,000 actively practicing.

So How Do You Know Who is the Right Fit For You?

Factors to consider include personal preferences to professional credentials. Understanding the role an attorney plays in divorce proceedings is essential. It is important that your expectations are met to find the legal partner you can work with to guide you through this challenging time with compassion and expertise.

The Role of a Divorce Attorney in New York State

There is no shortage of divorce attorneys in New York State. Each attorney brings unique skills and expertise to the table and is legally obligated to work in your best interests. This means different things for different cases. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the different roles an attorney plays in your case when choosing a lawyer.

First, Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

Uncontested divorces are more popular with couples who agree on significant issues like parenting and support.


Contested divorces are typically tricky and result in lengthy negotiations and possibly a trial. The personality and experience of the attorney you work with will matter when deciding between these options.


If your attorney is known for being an aggressive advocate and getting clients what they want no matter the effort or difficulty, you may need that approach in a contested divorce.


However, If children are involved and you agree on most major issues,  you should look for an attorney who is equally aggressive and compassionate. You may choose an attorney with experience in negotiating custodial and access agreements.


Some divorce and family law attorneys in New York State focus their law practice on certain areas of family law. For instance, enforcing or modifying agreements or decisions of the court; some only take cases involving complex financial assets. If domestic violence has occurred, you will want an attorney who has handled similar cases involving abuse.


Remember that these categories aren’t rigidly defined – many attorneys offer services across multiple areas. It is in your best interests to retain an attorney that is familiar with your issues and has experience in your specific needs and goals.

How to Choose the Right Divorce Attorney

There are several key factors to consider when choosing the appropriate attorney for your divorce.


First and most important, choose a matrimonial and family law attorney. You want to find an attorney that limits their practice to matrimonial and family law. It is generally unwise to choose an attorney who practices in many areas of law outside of matrimonial and family law – such as personal injury, criminal, real estate, etc. These Jack-of-all-trades of attorneys most likely do not have the experience you need. General practice attorneys seldom understand the complexities and nuances involved in family law.  If your divorce centers around creating a custody agreement, you need to ensure they have worked with child-centered issues so they know what to expect.

Check Your New York State Attorney’s Professional Experience & Qualifications.

When choosing an attorney in New York, there are several other considerations in addition to law school or passing the bar. How many years of experience does the attorney have? Also, how many years of experience do they have in divorce law? Are they included in any rankings for the state, such as Super Lawyers or other bar associations? An excellent place to find this information is on the law firm’s website.

Your Goals & Values

Another critical factor is finding an attorney who aligns with your goals and values. Individuals have different priorities regarding divorce; for some, it’s securing child custody or protecting financial assets. You must ensure your attorney understands what matters most to you and is dedicated to achieving those outcomes.

Track Record & Communication

What is your attorney’s track record with cases like yours? Do they have testimonials you can read? This is a good indication of what you can expect from their work on your matter. Communication is also crucial in a successful attorney-client relationship. You want someone who will keep you informed every step of the way, answer your questions promptly, and provide honest advice about your options. A responsive and attentive attorney can alleviate much of the stress associated with the divorce process.

Reputation and Involvement in the Community

Additionally, consider the reputation of your prospective attorney. Are they involved in any community organizations? Do they have a good name in their area? A positive track record indicates a competent, professional, and effective lawyer. Good personal relationships with the community and past clients mean they are more likely to treat you the same way. Look for evidence of their reputation in their testimonials, reviews, and case results.

Consider the Cost

The cost of a divorce attorney in New York State can vary greatly depending on several factors. These may include the complexity of your case, the experience and reputation of the attorney, and their billing structure. Most family attorneys require a retainer and charge an hourly rate. A few may offer flat fees. Lower fees don’t mean you are using the wrong attorney, and high fees don’t guarantee a good outcome. It’s important to choose an attorney for their track record and what they can offer you.


Choosing a divorce attorney in New York State requires careful consideration of various factors – from understanding different types of attorneys available in your area and selecting one who limits their practice to matrimonial and family law specifically, all the way through, weighing costs against expectations for representation during this challenging time.


Remember: You don’t have to face divorce and family law issues alone. By doing a thorough research and seeking guidance from trusted sources or professionals — whether legal or otherwise — you can empower yourself with the knowledge and support necessary to make informed decisions along every step of your journey to living happily ever after.