You don’t go into your marriage planning for a divorce. But for 40 to 50% of married couples, divorce eventually becomes a reality. Choosing a divorce attorney is an important step once you decide to end your marriage. Your lawyer guides you through the process and affects the outcome of your case in a major way.
Asking the right questions before you hire your divorce attorney can help you choose the right person.
Ask these five questions when you interview a divorce attorney.
1. What Is Your Experience in Divorce?
Some attorneys only take cases related to divorce and family law. Others work in multiple areas of law.
If an attorney handles different types of cases, ask about experience with divorce. Someone who only takes an occasional divorce case might not offer the resources, experience, and strategies that you want.
Someone who handles lots of local cases also knows the local judges, court system, and other divorce lawyers. This can work to your advantage during negotiations.
2. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Ask about the fee structure and how you’ll pay to plan financially. Divorce attorneys typically charge an hourly rate instead of a flat fee.
Many attorneys work on a retainer basis where you pay a sum upfront. If the costs to handle your case are more than the retainer, you’ll pay the extra amount.
3. What Is Your Typical Approach to Divorce?
The divorce process is generally the same, but the approach to settling the case can change your experience significantly. Your case can either be settled out of court or be settled in court by a judge.
An estimated 95% of divorce cases reach a settlement without going to court. How you reach decisions on things such as child custody and dividing assets can vary depending on your lawyer’s strategies.
Collaborative divorce and mediation are two out-of-court options that lawyers might use. Ask which strategies the lawyer prefers and how much experience the lawyer has in those methods.
4. How Will You Handle My Specific Situation?
Your situation is unique based on your relationship, finances, and other factors. You might have matters that complicate the divorce, such as owning a business, being in the military, or having a spouse who doesn’t want the divorce. Having kids with your spouse also complicates the settlement.
Get an idea of how the attorney will approach your case to make sure it fits what you want. While your lawyer can’t tell you how your case will turn out, an experienced lawyer should be able to give you an idea of what to expect based on your situation.
5. What Can I Do to Help My Case?
You can gauge how involved an attorney wants you to be by asking how you can help your case. Ask what information and documents you need to provide. Determine there are things you should do to help your case.
Find out how the attorney will communicate with you and how often you can expect contact. Ask how you’ll get updates on the status of your case.
Choose the Right Divorce Attorney
Finding the best divorce attorney for your case requires research on your part. Asking the right questions helps you determine if a divorce lawyer is a good match for your situation.
If you’re preparing for divorce, contact us to schedule a conversation and have your questions answered.