The task of hiring a divorce attorney, the person you will trust to protect your legal interests during the divorce process is not something you want to take lightly. When you make an appointment to consult with an attorney you should view that appointment as an interview and arm yourself with questions about the attorney’s experience, area of practice and how he/she normally handles Family Law cases.
Below are six questions that any divorce attorney should be willing to answer:
1. What percentage of your caseload involves Family Law? If you expect that your case could become complicated, look for an attorney who has many years of hands-on experience and ask if they have additional training or certification in Family Law.
2. In which counties are most of your Family Law cases in? If your specific county is not in one of their top two or three, carefully consider whether you might be better off with an attorney who is more familiar with the way that your specific county’s Family Court judges typically rule and the county guidelines that will apply to your case.
3. How much is your retainer and how do you bill for work done on my case? Ask for a specific written breakdown on costs for time spent on emails, phone calls, in-person meetings as well as work performed by paralegals or other attorneys in the Firm.
4. What percentage of your cases went to trial last year? Since 95% of divorce cases are settled by negotiation before a trial begins, ask about what issues are likely to cause the most conflict in your case and ask the attorney to share examples of similar cases they have had and how these issues were negotiated or settled through a trial.
5. How many cases have you had with my spouse’s attorney and what were the results? What is opposing counsel’s philosophy of handling cases and how will this be likely to affect my case? Do you socialize with opposing counsel outside of work?
6. Will you provide me with your cell phone number if I need to reach you after office hours? How soon do you usually respond to phone calls? This is especially important if you anticipate that you may experience conflicts that involve your children.