10 Essential Questions to Ask Divorce Attorneys Before HiringPosted:
Getting a divorce is a painful thing to do. Your life is about to get completely uprooted. There are so many changes, it’s difficult to go through. It’s overwhelming.
Yet, it’s a reality. About 39% of marriages end up in divorce. If you or your spouse make that difficult decision that it’s time to divorce, there’s a lot that needs to be considered.
You have to divide your assets and make sure that you have custody rights for your children. A lot of times, an attorney needs to be involved. Do you know the top questions to ask divorce attorneys before you hire them?
Keep reading to find out what they are.
Before Your Consultation
Most divorce attorneys will offer a free consultation. These meetings are often brief, and you want to make the most of them.
You’ll want to bring this list of questions with you and any others you feel are important to your divorce case. You also want to bring documentation with you so the attorney can see what the assets and potential issues are in your case.
They’ll want to see your income and your spouse’s income, recent tax returns, legal documents such as prenuptial agreements, and any evidence of wrongdoing if it applies to your case.
The Top Questions to Ask Divorce Attorneys
When you meet with divorce attorneys, it can be easy to get intimidated. Remember that you’re the one who’s looking to hire an attorney. You want to make sure that they work for you and your best interests.
These questions to ask divorce attorneys will help you separate the top attorneys from the rest of the pack.
1. How Long Have You Practiced Family Law?
You want an attorney that is experienced. You don’t want to hire an attorney who practices primarily bankruptcy cases to handle your case.
There are many facets of family law. The main areas are divorce, adoptions, wills, trusts, and estates. All of these areas require a level of experience and expertise. With divorce, the attorney should have knowledge of finances and how they relate to your case.
If the attorney belongs to an organization such as the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that’s a plus.
2. How Many Divorces Get Settled or Go to Trial?
You need an attorney who’s tough and not afraid to go to trial. You also want to avoid a long and drawn-out trial when possible.
You want to ask the attorney how many cases have gone to trial and why? Too many trials could be a sign that they’re too strong at the negotiating table. Too many settlements could be a sign that they just settle for the sake of settling.
3. Do You Know My Spouse or Their Attorney?
You have to make sure that your attorney has your best interest in mind. If they know your spouse or their representation, that could cause a conflict of interest.
Even if your spouse interviewed your attorney and they declined to take the case, the attorney needs to take themselves out of consideration.
4. Who Is Involved in Handling My Case?
There’s a good chance that the attorney you meet with isn’t the only one who’s working on your case. They’re very busy and they manage a lot of cases.
Attorneys will rely on staff and paralegals to help see your case through to the end. You want to understand who will be working on your case and how much experience they have.
5. What Is the Fee and Payment Structure?
This is important. You want to know if there’s a flat fee for the divorce or if the attorney charges hourly. Also, ask how follow-up communications and office supplies are billed, if they’re billed at all.
If there’s a flat fee, what exactly does that flat fee cover? Divorce can be a challenge on your finances, and you don’t want to take an unexpected hit for an attorney.
6. How Do You Communicate Progress and Updates?
Law firms are often busy places. You don’t want your case to fall through the cracks and you want to make sure that you’re up to date on any changes.
Get clear on how and when you can receive communications from your attorney.
7. What’s Your Experience in Negotiating Divorce Settlements?
There are divorce attorneys who settle, like these divorce lawyers, who negotiate. You always want to have an attorney by your side who negotiates.
They’ll have your interest in mind to make sure that you get a fair settlement.
8. How Well Do You Know Family Court Judges in the Area?
Divorce attorneys who handle a lot of cases will come across the same judges in your area. They may be familiar with various judges and how they rule in certain situations.
You want to know if there are any judges who may be favorable to your case.
9. What’s the Divorce Process in this State?
Every state has its own divorce process. You want to ask this question so you get a full understanding of the procedure in your state.
10. Is There Anything I Can DIY to Lower the Divorce Costs?
Divorce can be an expensive proposition. There may be things that you can do to lower the costs and do yourself.
For example, you may be able to order your own documents or negotiate with your spouse yourself. Some things are best left to attorneys but there may be things that you can do to help your case along.
Getting a Divorce? You Need to Hire the Right Attorney
Even the most amicable divorces can use an attorney. There’s still a lot that needs to be settled. Custody, assets, belongings, banks accounts, and more need to be split up.
That can cause confusion and rupture relationships further. Instead, hire an attorney who has your best interests in mind.
Before you hire an attorney, you need to know what questions to ask divorce attorneys. That lets you evaluate different firms to find the best one for you.
Divorce doesn’t have to be bitter with the right attorney. Want more legal articles? Check the blog often for more great content.
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