Divorces happen with a fair amount of frequency. In most cases, the divorcing parties will seek and require the assistance of a divorce attorney. Divorce attorneys can be very helpful in making sure that the party they represent is treated according to the law. A divorce attorney will play a critical role in the outcome of your divorce, so it is critical that you find the right lawyer for you. In order to find the right divorce lawyer, you will need to learn about your potential attorney’s level of experience, the attorney’s approach, and the fees you will be charged. Here is a list of questions you should ask your divorce attorney.
- How many divorce cases have you been involved in?
- How many of the cases you’ve been involved in have settled outside of court?
- Can you accommodate Collaborative Divorce?
- Have you ever met my spouse, or do you know who my spouse is?
- Have you ever met my spouse’s attorney?
- Are you experienced enough with local judges and their ruling tendencies?
- Are you in favor of negotiation and mediation over a trial?
- Have you had experience with divorces involving large financial settlements, alimony negotiations, and child support? Make sure to ask about any other unique situations that may need to be negotiated during your divorce.
Case Procedure and Clarification Questions
- Will another lawyer in the firm be handling my case, or will you be doing it?
- Is it possible for me to meet with others, who will be involved in my case?
- What experience do the other involved team members have in handling cases like mine?
- How do I contact you, if I have questions?
- What is your current case load like? Will you be able to devote the attention needed to my divorce case to handle it correctly?
- Will you consult with me, when determining my case strategy?
Billing and Fee Questions
- What is your standard retainer fee?
- At what rate do you bill hourly?
- Will the bills I pay to you cover the fees of any other team members working my case, or are those separate from the rate you are quoting me?
- Will there be additional fees, if the case goes to court?
- Will I be signing a fee contract?
- Do you provide itemized bills?
- Do you normally ask the court to force my spouse to pay my attorney fees?
- Outside of what I pay and the fees quoted, are there any other possible fees either with you or the court that I could potentially be subject to?
Having a quality divorce attorney will make the difference between you getting a fair shake in your divorce proceedings and possibly being taken advantage of. Do not rush into a retainer fee or relationship with a divorce attorney without first getting to know that attorney by asking him/her all the questions you feel are necessary, so you will feel confident you have made the best decision. All experienced divorce lawyers will be expecting your questions, and most likely will answer your questions, before you even have to ask them. One last thing … Make sure you fully understand the nature of the relationship with your attorney and his/her fee structure before signing any legal contract and committing to any retainer fees.