If you’re thinking about getting divorced, you should speak with a family law attorney. Be prepared for the initial meeting and have a list of questions to ask the lawyer after you’ve scheduled a session. The following questions can help you better understand the divorce process, how your lawyer’s office works, and whether or not the lawyer is a good fit for you and your case.
How much experience do you have with family law?
Lawyers all have law degrees, yet many of them work in subjects other than family law. You don’t want a general practice lawyer. Family law is a specialized topic, and you will almost certainly be best represented by a family law attorney. Ascertain that the majority of their cases are related to family law. Inquire about the lawyer’s experience with situations similar to yours.
What are the processes involved in divorce?
Your lawyer’s job is to inform and guide you through the legal process. Have the lawyer walk you through the entire process, from submitting the petition to negotiating temporary orders to the trial.
How will I be charged?
If you employ a lawyer, you should expect to sign a retainer agreement outlining how you will be compensated. Inquire about the hourly fee and billing frequency. Inquire about whether or not you will be charged for time spent in the office with paralegals and other employees, and if so, at what rate. Inquire about what would happen if you are unable to pay your account in full each month. Inquire about credit card payment options and payment plans.
How much does a divorce cost?
This is a crucial question, but one that is extremely difficult to answer. Don’t be concerned if your lawyer refuses to respond. The cost of a divorce is determined by what you ask your lawyer to accomplish, the level of disagreement between you and your spouse, and your spouse’s and their counsel’s reasonableness. Many of the expenses are beyond your control.
How are we going to communicate?
Inquire about your lawyer’s preference for phone contact over email, as well as how long you should expect to wait for a callback. Is your lawyer tech-savvy enough to send you PDF versions of draft documents? Is your attorney’s office equipped to scan and email incoming and outgoing mail? Is a copy sent to you automatically? If you live out of state or far away from your lawyer’s office, the last three are critical.
How long will the divorce process take?
Inquire with your lawyer about their time estimates for the case, based on whether you settle fast, settle after protracted talks, or have a trial.
What kind of resources do you make accessible to clients to help them through the divorce process?
Divorce is a trying time, and skilled lawyers can aid by providing knowledge and resources to help with the emotional aspects of the situation. Is there any information on the self-education process available from your lawyer? Is it possible for them to be patient with you? If you ask, do they provide referrals to other professional services?
In your opinion, how would a judge rule on the problems in my case?
While no lawyer can promise certain outcomes, pay attention to the reasoning behind the lawyer’s response. Understanding the facts that will increase the likelihood of a favorable verdict will aid in case strategy.
Do you think mediation is a good idea?
Consult your lawyer to see if your case is suitable for mediation. Inquire about private mediation and how frequently the lawyer utilizes it with clients. After analyzing the case, good lawyers endeavor to settle their cases. A lawyer who does not use private mediation or other forms of alternative conflict resolution may be causing you harm.
Other than expenses for your time, what fees and costs could I expect?
To initiate a case, your local county will demand a filing fee. You’ll almost certainly have to hire a process server to serve divorce papers to your husband. Experts such as appraisers, private investigators, actuaries, accountants, social workers, and psychologists may be needed in your case. Inquire with your lawyer about the fees involved, any experts who may be required, and how you will be billed for these additional services.
Disclaimer: Every effort was made at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of this publication. Individual circumstances will vary, and the law may have changed since publication, thus it is not intended to provide legal advice or imply a certain outcome. Readers considering legal action should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney to learn about current laws and how they can affect their case.