The most important task you will have during your divorce is making sure you hire the right divorce attorney. You want an attorney you feel comfortable with when it comes to communication, have trust in when it comes to protecting you legally and one you trust to get the job done.
It’s imperative that you find a divorce attorney that fits your needs and is experienced in working with any special issues that may come up during your divorce. Asking the right questions during your initial consultation with an attorney will keep you from being stuck with a bad divorce attorney.
Below are 31 Questions That Will Help You Find the Right Divorce Attorney for You
1. Is your practice exclusively family law?
2. Is there an office policy focused on timely responses to client calls?
3. Will you handle my case or will it be given to an associate or paralegal?
4. Will you be patient and willing to educate me if I have questions about my divorce and state laws pertaining to divorce?
5. Will you put my children’s best interest first in all aspects of my divorce?
6. Are you technologically up to date? Can you respond to emails from me? Are you able to do research online if it is called for during my case?
7. Are you on good terms with other local divorce attorneys?
8. How many divorce cases have you handled?
9. How many of those cases were you able to settle out of court?
10. Do you practice Collaborative Divorce if I decide to go that route?
11. Do you know my spouse?
12. Do you know my spouse’s attorney?
13. Are you familiar with local Family Court Judges and how they rule?
14. Do you believe it is better to mediate and negotiate than go to trial?
15. Do you have experience negotiating child support, spousal support, large financial settlements or business valuation? Be specific about issues you feel will come up during your divorce.
16. Do you have experience with high conflict divorces? If you fear your ex will be irrational or suffers from a personality disorder, make sure the attorney is experienced in dealing with such issues.
17. Will I be kept informed of all developments in my case?
18. Will you ask my opinion before planning strategy?
19. What are your personal feelings about spousal support?
20. What are your personal feelings about 50/50 custody versus sole custody?
21. What is your retainer fee?
22. What is your hourly billing rate?
23. Do any fees I pay include the services of any associates who work on my case?
24. If my case goes to divorce court with there be extra fees?
25. Will I be sent itemized bills?
26. Will I be kept updated about how the retainer fee is used and when it is used up?
27. Will you petition the court for my spouse to pay my attorney fees?
28. How much do you charge for letters and phone calls to my spouse’s attorney or me?
29. How much will you charge for copies of all relevant documents?
30. Will there be other costs such as court filing fees, process server fees or other extraordinary fees? Are these costs included in your fees or do I pay them separately?
31. Will I be billed for communication via phone or email? If so what is your billing structure? Find out exactly how much the attorney feels his time is worth and how he bills for his time.
If you can think of more, add them to this list. Your attorney is your legal advocate during divorce. Without asking the proper questions, you won’t know how well they will be able to advocate for you.