Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you are contemplating a divorce, or your spouse has filed for divorce, the first thing that you should do is consult a lawyer. Most lawyers will offer a consultation--some for free and some for a charge. In that consultation, you can find out some information about Michigan law and divorce, but also find out if that lawyer may be a good fit for you and your case. What questions to ask the attorney in that first consultation will be the subject of the next blog. However, first things first.

Where do I find a divorce attorney?

In the electronic age that we live in, sometimes finding lawyers becomes easier--but sometimes it becomes harder. There is an abundance of information on the internet--some that is good, and some that is misleading. To simply--here are 3 possible sources for finding a divorce attorney.

1. Recommendations or word of mouth

Friends & Family

If you are comfortable talking to friends and family--this should be the first resource you look to for a possible attorney. Talk to friends that have recently gone through a divorce. They may recommend their own attorney, an attorney they saw in Court, or their spouses's attorney. (yes, this does happen!) Talk to family too--they may often have a referral for you, or know of someone who knows an attorney, etc.

Again, if you are comfortable talking to someone at work--they may know if a divorce attorney and may provide you a potential referral. Most people know of someone who has gone through a divorce--and if the attorney really helped them--that attorney's name will be remembered.

If you are seeing a counselor or a therapist--ask them for a referral. Often lawyers and therapists and counselors have professional relationships, and you may find that your therapist or counselor has some potential referrals for you. You should ask people at your church, including those in leadership positions. Sometimes churches have information on lawyers who attend their church, or have information about lawyers in the area. This is a good source as well.

If you are uncomfortable asking about attorneys for yourself, you can always make it non-personal by asking in general--maybe for a friend or family member. However, this is such an important source of names for attorneys. Knowing someone who has worked with the attorney is such valuable information, and whether or not that attorney will be a good fit for you--at least you have information about how they have helped someone you know.

2. Professional Lawyer Referral Networks

The State of Michigan and the individual counties in Michigan each have professional lawyer referral networks. Attorneys can submit their information to these referral networks, including a description of their areas of focus, their location, and their experience (among other things), and the attorneys are then put on a list as a potential lawyer in that area of law. The general public can then call a phone number and tell the referral network what type of lawyer they are seeking, and the referral network will give them a name of an attorney. The attorneys are referred on a rotating basis. Here are the numbers of local referral networks:

Wayne County--the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
(the attorneys registered here often practice in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties)


Oakland County

Macomb County

Washtenaw County

Genesee County

And finally, the State of Michigan also has a referral list. If you call this number, be very specific on the county that you live in. The State of Michigan referral list will also have contact information for attorneys outside of the metropolitan Detroit area.

State of Michigan Referral Network

The referral networks are a good resource for locating attorneys, and the attorneys that are registered may even provide free, or lower cost consultations.
3. Advertising or the Internet

This is another potential resource for locating an attorney. Sometimes searching on search engines will provide information on attorneys in your area, and may show you websites or blogs of local attorneys. There are other sources for finding attorneys as well, like the Yellow Pages or Yellow Book--whether in paper form or online, the newspaper, local publications or newspapers, Craigslist, your church newsletter, your school newsletter, tv, radio..... etc.... the list goes on and on. While many attorneys you find this way will be unknown to you--if they have a website or a blog, it may provide you some initial information about them before you make the call.

I've found an attorney that I want to talk to--what do I do next?

Once you have located an attorney that you would like to meet--you should call them to find out if they provide an intial consultation. Some attorneys give this initial consultation for free (like the Alton Law Firm), and some attorneys charge a consultation fee. It is important to sit down with a potential attorney to talk with them and find out if this is someone you want to work with during your divorce--in fact, there are important questions to ask in this consultation, and those questions will be the subject of the next blog entry.

Long story short--divorce is emotional, stressful, conflict-ridden and life-changing. It is important to find an attorney to at least give you information on the divorce process, and important to find an attorney to represent you and your interests. Often there are complicated issues in even the easiest divorce cases--and an att.orney can help you sort through all of these issues.

This list of potential sources for finding an attorney is just a starting point. There are many attorneys out there, and many ways to find them. However, you do not need to feel as though the information is too overwhelming or in the alternative, feel lost. There are a number of ways to locate the right attorney for you.

If you are interested in learning more, please call Wendy Alton at 734-665-4441 or email her at walton@psedlaw.com. More information about her firm, Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., can be found here: www.psedlaw.com.


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