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Divorce Attorneys

For years, the divorce rates in America have hovered near the 50% mark. With recent announcements by a few well known celebrities of their marriages dissipating, including Kelsey Grammar, who is divorcing his wife and Melissa Etheridge, who is legally ending her partnership, divorce attorneys across the nation are staying busy. College graduates who have chosen to go into family law will likely always have a clientele; but what does a day in the life of a divorce lawyer look like? We asked A. Harrison Barnes, attorney, career coach and founder of Here’s his take:

First things first, says the founder, “Depending on the caseload, there usually is an effort to spend a few minutes alone in the mornings going over his cases before clients begin showing up”. A divorce lawyer who’s made his career in dissolving marriages learns quickly to be prepared for those clients who are emotionally charged. These lawyers know that while he may witness several divorces a month, his clients are often experiencing the painful journey for the first, or sometimes the second, time. A wise attorney knows John Doe is coming at two o’clock and the first thing he’s going to want to know is if his wife agreed to share custody of the dog. He’s prepared for that inevitable question. Maybe it’s a heartbroken wife who caught her husband cheating – he knows the moment his client walks into his office, he’d better have the Kleenex handy because she will most certainly shed tears.

There may be a deposition during the course of a day. These usually go smoothly, but too many times, it becomes a disorganized and charged atmosphere with only a conference table and two lawyers between a volatile couple. Accusations fill the air and negotiations are carefully worded. Most lawyers want their clients to walk away with some degree of pride and not feeling as though they’ve been taken to the cleaners even, when they’re facing off across that conference table or are presenting evidence in front of the judge.

Sometimes, says A. Harrison Barnes, a family law specialist will feel as much like a psychologist as he does an officer of the court. There are always those bruised egos and fears of losing custody of children both parties truly love and want the best for. This, says Barnes, can prove most difficult for a divorce lawyer. By the same token, there must also exist in the attorney’s psyche the ability to help a client through the realization that her husband is getting the house or the wife is getting all of the home furnishings. Fear, anger, rage and disbelief are all part of the daily game for these guys. Some days, it’s all about getting to the other side with some degree of satisfaction in knowing he’s represented his client to the best of his abilities.

Choosing family law is not always an easy decision. The founder agrees it takes a certain disposition to enjoy a successful career in this sector. It’s not surprising then that many young lawyers change their specialties once they realize the level of commitment it takes.

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