Separating from your spouse is never easy. As such, you will undoubtedly require the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney throughout the process. However, before you select an attorney to hire, you should ask them the following five questions:
How Long Have You Been Practicing?
Divorces often go to trial, which means your lawyer will have to examine witnesses, make objections to evidence, and file motions – all of which requires experience. If your attorney is a newbie, you might not get the settlement you’re expecting.
Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?
Though there’s something to be said for general legal knowledge, a generalist may not be as up-to-date as a specialist who’s in the trenches every day.
Expertise is especially important if your situation isn’t run-of-the-mill. For example, if you’re gay or one of you is overseas, you’ll need a lawyer with a thorough understanding of the relevant procedure, precedents, and the law.
Do You Have References?
You’d check testimonials before buying online or making dinner reservations, right? Signing up with a divorce attorney is no different.
See if you can speak with former clients. While you’re at it, ask your lawyer if they’ve ever been in trouble with the state bar association – and call the bar yourself to see if any clients have ever filed grievances.
What’s Your Fee Structure?
Divorces can drone on for years. If your attorney specializes in the area, they’ll know that and may not offer a hard and fast quote. But there are some questions they’ll answer:
● Do you bill by the task or the hour?
● How much?
● Will you charge extra for answering my questions?
● Do you charge more for court appearances?
● Is there an up-front retainer? If so, how much is it?
If you’re happy with the answers, the last step is to sign a contract which clearly outlines your agreement.
How Do You Communicate with Clients?
Going through a divorce isn’t easy so you may need someone to talk to. Your lawyer isn’t your friend or therapist, but it’s good to know they’re available for questions.
Find out how often you’ll hear from them, whether they prefer email or phone, and if you’ll be dealing with them directly. Some attorneys work in teams.
Choosing an attorney to help you with your divorce can be challenging. However, by asking the right questions, you will make it just a little bit easier to identify the right person for the job.