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Considerations When Retaining a Divorce Attorney for Women

Anyone experiencing a divorce knows what a difficult time it poses for both parties, as well as for children. Women often feel very vulnerable in custody and divorce proceedings, so it is vital that they retain a divorce attorney who not only recognizes the importance of reaching a consensus on the issues, but who also will advocate vigorously for a woman's rights.

There are a number of considerations when retaining a divorce attorney for women:

The Attorney's Approach

  • Does the attorney express revulsion toward men, or appear to have an agenda of his or her own in pursuing women's rights in divorce cases?
  • Is he or she genuinely interested in your particular issues?
  • Are you concerned that the advice being given is ethical?
  • How committed is the attorney in finding a reasonable and amicable resolution?
  • If you are in financial need, has the attorney directed you to government resources?
  • How familiar and knowledgeable is the attorney regarding the family court judges who will be hearing your case?

Is Gender Bias Real?

A major consideration when retaining a divorce attorney for women is whether gender bias against women is real and will affect your case. There are studies that support both sides, and it is a reasonable concern.

Although there are undoubtedly judges who may disregard or not give much weight to women's issues or concerns, most judges are open and disinterested finders-of-fact in interpreting the law. Your attorney should also be aware of which family court judges may be difficult and can take steps to recuse the judge or move to have another judge hear your case.

If bias is readily apparent in a decision, your attorney should recognize it, address it, and be prepared to appeal a ruling that is not in compliance with the law.

Is the Advice Applicable?

Women are generally more expressive than men and may feel the pressures of a divorce more acutely, especially if they feel finances will be a problem. Among the considerations for retaining a divorce attorney for women is whether your attorney is attuned to your emotions and needs and is giving you advice that is helping you deal with these collateral issues.

For instance, if you fear abuse, has the attorney arranged for a restraining order and a place for you and your children? Is your attorney working to get you funds or assets you are entitled to, and seeking a reasonable visitation and child support arrangement?

In short, a divorce attorney for women should be sympathetic and committed to your needs and issues, knowledgeable about the court and judges where the proceedings will occur, dedicated to resolving your divorce amicably, if possible, and willing to work to ensure that your future is bright and secure.