Getting a divorce can be a long and emotional process. It’s important to have a knowledgeable, experienced legal advocate by your side. There are many misconceptions about divorce attorneys, and finding one isn’t as simple as hiring the first lawyer that pops up on an internet search, however. Use this guide to know what questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them.
1. Do you handle many divorce cases?
To get the best possible outcome for your case, it’s best to work with an attorney that is experienced in divorce and family law. They’ll be familiar with the research and evidence that needs to be gathered before the trial, as well as the necessary strategy to help you get positive results. They’ll also be able to inform you of whether you should be filing for a divorce, dissolution, or annulment. In addition to asking if they handle a lot of divorce cases, find out how many times they’ve taken cases like yours to trial in the past.
2. What can I expect as far as communication?
Will your calls be returned right away or within a few days? Is the best method of communication via phone or e-mail? Will your main point of contact be the primary attorney or secretaries and paralegals? How can you get in touch with someone quickly if an emergency arises? Make sure this is all clearly laid out before getting started.
3. Can you give me an estimate of what this divorce will cost?
Sometimes, it can be tough to know how long a case will take or what intricacies may pop up down the road. However, it’s reasonable for an attorney to discuss the various ranges of fees that are typical for different types of cases. Does a particular attorney charge by the hour? If so, how much? Will you be charged for time spent with other members of the legal team (paralegals and assistants, for instance)?
If the figure you’re cited sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the attorney charges by the hour it may be difficult to cite an exact total quote, but the attorney might be willing to give you a ballpark figure. Having a full understanding of this from the beginning will give you an idea of what to expect and how to plan for it financially.
4. What will the fee schedule look like?
Speaking of financial planning, get a clear idea up front of what the payment schedule will look like. Know how much will be expected as a retainer up front and how often payments will be expected along the way. This way, you’ll be able to keep the process running smoothly with no snags, delays, or roadblocks.
5. Do you have an overall strategy for my case?
Among the most important questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them is what they foresee for your case. How do they see it progressing? What are the next steps they’d progress to if they were hired onto the case? Do they have a strategy to get to the desired endpoint?
In addition to this, ask them what they suggest you should be doing now in order to help your case. This may include factors such as making sure you’re paying child support, as well as knowing exactly how to handle joint bank accounts. Hurtling along unsure of how to address such things can potentially hurt your case when it finally ends up in front of a judge.
Knowing what questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them can help you make a better-informed choice during a time that’s stressful and confusing. Legal cases aren’t one-size-fits-all and neither are attorneys.