Preventing Your Husband from Hiring a Good Family Law Attorney

Posted on Mar 4, 2024 by Katie Carter

Once you have an appointment – like an initial consultation – with a lawyer, that lawyer cannot meet with, give advice to, or represent the opposing party.  In a divorce or custody case, if a wife meets with five of the top local divorce attorneys, none of those five will be able to represent her husband.  They have been ‘conflicted out,’ even if the wife never hires any of them (or never had any intention of hiring any of them).

That’s assuming, of course, that one of the five she met with is one of the attorneys that her husband would otherwise have considered hiring.

To some people, this sounds like a great way to start things ahead of the curve.  What sweet revenge to think that he’d call up the same five attorneys only to be told that they can’t help him?  What a laugh!

And, I mean, in theory, I agree.  But, practically speaking, it’s probably not the best use of your time and/or resources.  Let’s discuss.

Conflicting Out Attorneys From Representing Your Husband in Divorce

There are some issues with this approach.  For one thing, in Hampton Roads, there are a TON of family lawyers.  And, when it comes to power players, there are kind of a lot of those, too.  It’s not like there are as few as five who are such ‘killers’ or such ‘pit bulls’ that it’s immediately apparent who you’d need to call to schedule with.

I’m anti ‘pit bull’ lawyers in general; I think they end up spinning wheels that cost too much in time and money and yield significantly poorer results.  But, hey, do what you want!

I think that your energy is better spent on other things.  Let’s talk about some of the issues with this approach – and then some other ways that you could invest your time and energy that would be more productive.

  1. There are too many attorneys to effectively pick just a few and REALLY limit his options.

I said this already, but it bears mentioning again.  There are just a LOT of attorneys.  And, generally speaking, people are looking for different things, so what sounds good to one of you in a lawyer might not be the thing that speaks to the other.  Thinking for him and trying to pick who you THINK he might pick sounds hard.  And, anyway, you could be wrong.

And then you’ve had a bunch of appointments with people who are not who you might prefer to work with, so what have you done, anyway?  There’ll always be others he can choose from; you won’t limit his choices so much that he can’t find someone good.  And you’ll be no nearer where you need to be than you were before you started scheduling all these consultations.

  1. Family law attorneys charge a consult fee.

These appointments aren’t free.  (Hey, we’re not personal injury lawyers!)  Though it’s not impossible that there might be some newly licensed, solo practitioner out there who is willing to do a family law consultation for free, that is the exception and not the rule.  And, anyway, if you’re looking for power players, they are always going to charge a consultation fee.  (After all, keep in mind that you’re planning on meeting with them for the specific purpose of keeping them from being able to get other business!)

It’s expensive, not to mention time consuming, to do this.

  1. You’ll need to research and hire your own lawyer!

Do you want to keep him from hiring who he wants to hire – or do you want to take your time to find the person YOU want to hire?  Sometimes, this does require more than one consultation.  I’m always an advocate for doing your research ahead of time to find out what your rights and entitlements are under the law, but chances are good that you’ll have to research the specific attorney you want to meet with, too.

After all, we talk about all sorts of sensitive topics in family law – from the health of your marriage, to your parenting, your finances, your sex life, and more.  It’s difficult to do that if you aren’t meeting with the right attorney.  Not telling your attorney the whole truth can be problematic later, so you’ll want to find someone who you can be completely honest with (even if you’re embarrassed).

Not only that, but you’ll need money on hand to meet with and hire your lawyer!  Again – we’re not personal injury lawyers!  We don’t work on contingent fees; we work on retainers.  That means that you pay an amount of money up front to hire the lawyer – usually, to the tune of several thousand dollars.

For most (though not all) women, they’re not the primary breadwinners in their families.  Though we see more and more of this all the time (yay!), the reality is still that 60% of women earn less than their husbands.

Don’t even get me started on the wage gap.  Or what becoming a mom can do to your employment prospects.

You need your money to retain and hire your own attorney, not to try to prevent your husband from hiring someone – which, I guarantee you, he will do anyway!  Even if you happen to stand in his way where one or two or even five family law attorneys are concerned, he will find an attorney.  There are more than 5 really, really good family law attorneys – and you could spend $1000+ just to conflict out five of them.  Is that the BEST use of your time?

There are better uses of your time and energy than trying to prevent him from hiring a lawyer.

I get it.  It’s scary!  It’s overwhelming!  And you probably already feel at a disadvantage, somehow.  I don’t think this is unique to women; I think this is something that is largely fear-based and that both men and women who are getting ready to go through a divorce feel really acutely.

Still, it’s important to harness your (not inconsiderable) energy and use it towards something that will HELP you later on.  Use your time to gather information about your rights and entitlements; get the lay of the land where divorce attorneys YOU might want to hire are concerned.

  1. Request copy of our divorce book for women.

We have a FREE divorce book for women – and a military one, if you or your husband is active duty or retired military.  There’s also a custody one.  And another one on hiring an attorney!  There’s literally an entire library of free resources available for you on our site.

And, no, it’s not focused on how to prevent him from hiring an attorney; it’s designed to help YOU take the best first steps for you.

Did I mention it’s free?

It’ll help you understand your rights and entitlements, the things that are easy to resolve, where issues might come up, and how some of these things can be resolved.  We’ll talk about the law and how it works in Virginia (because divorce is incredibly state-specific) and give you pointers for how to get started.  It’s truly invaluable information.  (In fact, it contains more information about divorce than 99% of husbands have!)

  1. Attend a divorce seminar.

Even after reading 1-4 books on divorce in Virginia, you might still have some burning questions.  You know what kind – the can’t-eat-can’t-sleep questions.  The ones that wake you up at 3am and don’t allow you to shut your eyes for the whole rest of the night because you’re so worried about THIS ONE THING.

But maybe you’re not ready to schedule a consultation.  Everyone is on their own path, you know?  You’ll know when it’s time but, if it’s not, that doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to permanent insomnia.  You can ask!  Without a consultation.

Our monthly divorce seminars are all taught live by one of our experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys.  We’re all dedicated to representing women exclusively, so you can bet we’re not conflicted out; we have NOT met with (and will not ever meet with) your husband.  The seminars are all taught on Zoom, but they’re interactive.  You can ask your question(s) live to the attorney – and hear her response in real time.  Anonymously!

  1. Schedule some consultations of your own.

Don’t waste your money trying to limit his options; spend your money trying to expand yours.  Get a sense of what you are entitled to receive and come up with a plan of action for how to achieve it.  I always say that it’s a good idea to come up with a set of goals at the beginning of the process so that you can take specific, calculated steps designed to achieve those goals.

A case without a plan is just, well, inefficient.  Sure, you could just respond to what HE does, or you could try to put up walls in his way, but you’d just be throwing money down the drain.  Instead, focus on your goals.  Find out what is achievable.  Come up with a plan that makes sense based on those goals.  Don’t worry about him and the choices he’s making; take this time to start thinking about you and what you need, both now and in the future.

Yes, you can conflict out other attorneys.  But this would be time consuming and expensive and unlikely to cause the devastation or damage to his case that you imagine.  He WILL find an attorney – probably a perfectly good one – and so will you.  It’s better to focus on how to achieve your goals than how to guess and thwart his.  (Besides, it doesn’t set you up for an amicable resolution; it just increases the likelihood that your case will be high conflict.)

For more information, to schedule a consultation (though, admittedly, not one that would prevent him from meeting with us, because we wouldn’t represent him anyway), or to request a copy of our book(s), give our office a call at 757-425-5200.