Today I am going to be talking about important questions to ask during your initial interview to make sure you choose the right divorce attorney for your unique situation.
The outcome of your divorce proceedings will change the course of your life.
So invest the time and money to find the lawyer who will do the best job for you. Interview 2 or 3 lawyers before designing who will represent you. Remember it’s your responsibility to retain a lawyer who’s not only good at his or her job but one whose personality and outlook are compatible with yours.
Here are the questions you should ask during your initial interview.
- Do you practice family law exclusively?
If not what percentage of your practice is family law.
2. How long have you been practicing?
3. What is your retainer?
The initial fee paid or sometimes the actual contract you sign to officially hire a lawyer. Is this fee refundable?
4. What is your hourly fee? What is your hourly rate and billing terms?
You should know what you are paying for and how often you will be billed and at what rates.
5. Approximately how much will my divorce cost?
The lawyer will only able to be to provide an estimate based on the information you provide and your realistic estimation of how amicable you and your spouse are.
If you think your case is extremely simple but your spouse’s lawyer buries your lawyer and paperwork your costs are going to increase.
6. What do you think the outcome will be?
Remember you are looking for truthfulness here not to be told a pretty story.
7. Can/will you work against my spouse’s divorce lawyer?
If your spouse has retained a divorce lawyer ask your prospective lawyer whether he or she knows this lawyer. If so ask have you worked with him or her before? Do you think the lawyer will work to settle the case and is there anything that would prevent you from being able to work against this lawyer?
8. What percentages of your cases actually go to trial?
You actually want to choose a lawyer with a low percentage here a good negotiator who can settle your divorce without a long expensive court battle.
9. Are you willing and able to take this case to court if it can’t be set any other way?
10. How long will this process take?
Again the answer will be in approximation.
11. What are my rights and what are my obligations during my divorce?
12. who will be handling my divorce?
At a full-service firm ask who will be handling the case? The lawyer you interview, an associate or combination of senior and junior lawyers, and paralegals.
13. Should I consider divorce mediation?
Ask if your case at least in the initial stages might be a good one for mediation. If there’s been violence in the relationship or one spouse is seriously intimidated by the other. This may or may not be a viable alternative.
14. Should I consider collaborative divorce?
In this alternative dispute process, each client hires a collaborative lawyer to serve as his or her advisor. Both clients and lawyers sign an agreement that they will not go to court. If the process fails the lawyers must resign and the divorcing couples start over from square one.
15. What happens now? When will I hear from you?
What happens now, do I need to do anything and when will I hear from you? finally is there’s something you really need to know or if you don’t understand something the lawyer said, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Going through separation or divorce can be very challenging on every level. I hope this article has provided some information you can use to help you make better decisions, both during and after your divorce.