8 Questions You Need to Ask Your
Divorce Lawyer Before Hiring
Currently, about 48.2 percent of all Americans aged 15 and above are married. Ideally, these marriages should last a lifetime. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, with over one million divorces filed each year around the country.
The realization that your marriage is about to end in divorce is not a small matter. For many people, it’s a traumatic experience. During this emotional period, working with an experienced divorce attorney can help make things easier for you.
Unless you've gone through a divorce before, it's not easy to know what questions to ask a divorce lawyer when you meet them for consultation. The fact is that not all divorces are the same. Similarly, not all divorce attorneys are ideal for your needs.
You need a divorce attorney who’ll competently represent you and ensure that your best interests are protected. In this article, we discuss some essential divorce lawyer consultation questions that’ll help you make the right decision.
8 Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
Most divorce lawyers allow about an hour for consultation. This time can go by very quickly, so you need to be reasonably organized and know the most important questions to ask when getting a divorce. In addition to other questions you may have, ensure that you ask the following things:
- Do You Specialize in Divorce Law?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with an attorney practicing in more than one area of law. However, when you're dealing with something as sensitive as a divorce, you want someone who thoroughly understands matrimonial law on your side. That's why it's best to go with an attorney whose specialty is divorce law.
You can see other specialties of law in this article.
- Do You Prefer to Settle Amicably or Litigate?
Different attorneys have different styles. A litigator’s nature is to battle it out in court and win. Such a lawyer is usually good at their job.
But is going to court what’s best for your situation? Don’t forget that litigation can cost a significant amount of money and time.
You want to work with an attorney who’s reasonable and who looks for ways to resolve issues amicably. Such an attorney isn’t interested in a lengthy court battle unless there’s no other choice. What they want is to keep your interests at the forefront of everything else.
- Do You Mediate a Lot?
This is one of the top things to ask a divorce lawyer. Generally, you want to work with an attorney who does a lot of mediation.
That said, you need to find out what the divorce attorney’s settlement rate is. The best divorce lawyer for you is the one who has an impressive settlement rate during mediation.
- How Do You Bill?
The majority of divorce attorneys bill on an hourly basis. Depending on the attorney you choose, you may have to give a sizeable retainer from which your lawyer will be paid.
Ask whether you’re going to pay for each email and phone call. Can the attorney recommend ways to keep your bill down? A considerate lawyer will.
Generally, the more work you can do on your own, the less your lawyer will need to do. This helps you save some money. Your attorney will also probably charge you for phone calls, so keep them short if you can.
- Will You Handle My Case Personally?
The firm you're thinking of hiring will most likely have name partners and associates working under them. More than one attorney will likely touch your file during your divorce process. However, you want to know who’s going to be in charge of your entire case.
Some people opt to have their cases handled by an associate, as they'll usually get billed at a lower rate. Others prefer working with a name partner. There's really no right or wrong way to go about this.
If you choose to work with a name partner, however, you should expect a higher bill in the mail.
- Are You Familiar with Family Law Judges in This City?
Many attorneys work in more than one county, although most of their clients will most likely be in the city their offices are based. It's always beneficial to work with a lawyer who's familiar with the judge likely to handle your case. It's even better if your attorney is a familiar face in the courthouse.
This, of course, does not mean that your lawyer will get preferential treatment. However, a well-known lawyer can get a bit of leniency on some issues should they occur, and that's a good thing.
- How Do You Communicate During Cases?
It is crucial that you and your attorney communicate well during the divorce process. That’s why you should sort out how you’ll be communicating as early as possible.
You need to know how often your lawyer will contact you, and whether they’ll do it personally or through a member of their team. Also, find out what mode of communication you’ll be using, and the typical turnaround time for a return call.
The divorce process can get complicated, and it’s always reassuring to know that you can reach your attorney when you need assistance.
- What Are the Possibilities of this Case?
Once your attorney has listened to your story and asked you relevant questions, they should be able to offer some insight on how to approach your case. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the case? What areas can you work on to strengthen it?
Should you go to court or try to mediate and settle? If your lawyer recommends that you battle it out in court, get ready for a higher legal bill. If they suggest mediation, then it’s a good sign that they’ll do their best to minimize costs and court appearances.
Either way, it’s always beneficial to work with an attorney who has a good grasp on the best approach to ensure the best outcome.
The Right Divorce Attorney Can Make a Huge Difference
Going through a divorce is never an easy thing, so you need the best legal representation you can get for your situation. Knowing what questions to ask a divorce lawyer can help you decide which attorney to hire.
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