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5 Questions to ask a Prospective Divorce Lawyer
Usually if you are looking for a divorce lawyer, times are already a bit tough. You certainly do not want to make it harder by latching on to a lawyer who will not be the best fit to help you solve your marital issues! Here are 5 Questions to ask a Prospective Divorce Lawyer.
The first thing a good attorney will do is listen. They will find as much as they can about your particular situation, what your anticipated outcome would be, and anything else you need to say.
A good attorney will also encourage you to ask questions. Here are five questions it you might think about asking to learn more about a possible fit.
#1. How long have you been in practice?
Everyone knows experience cannot be substituted. The more experience a lawyer has with judges, the court system, other lawyers and the rules the better off you are. An attorney with years of practice in the courtroom might be much more relaxed and proficient than a new attorney just out of school (although a new attorney might cost less!)
Anyone with courtroom experience will also have a better knowledge of legal documents and filings such as separation agreements, pleadings and court orders.
For these reasons and more, you should know how long your attorney has been practicing divorce law before you hire them.
#2. How many cases of my type have you actually taken to trial?
Many divorce cases never go to court. They are settled prior to going before a judge. This is a much better solution in most cases.
However, when your case does have to go to court, you certainly want to know how much experience your attorney has experience in court as well as a proven record of negotiation. You do not want to get into court and find out your lawyer is uncomfortable pleading a solid case in front of a judge.
#3. Given the goals presented, what is the best way to achieve them?
You need a roadmap to work from. A good attorney will have an overall plan based on your situation. Certainly at this point this plan cannot be detailed as there is still much to learn. From this in depth explanation and based on your attorney’s office standard processes, your lawyer should be able to give you a broad step by step map of how he intends to get from where you are at the moment to where you want to be.
#4. How much will this cost me?
Although there is no way (usually) that a lawyer can provide a complete exact quote, a good lawyer should be able to provide some sort of a range for the fee to complete your goals.
• Your fees will depends on several items such as:
• How much guidance do you need through the process?
• Is your case relatively simple and can be limited to negotiation or is it going to include court orders with a trial likely?
• How much time will the attorney require to adequately prepare and guide your case?
Be sure to get a quote that takes you all the way to court if necessary. Once you have a fee range, be honest with yourself and your attorney. Remember they are supporting families and are working for money. If you cannot afford to pay them, look for other alternatives or start a discussion on payment plans up front.
#5. What do I need to do right now?
Now that you have answers to the first four questions, find out what do you need to do next. Some of the things to think about are:
1. Child support/alimony. Should you be paying it and when and how?
2. Joint credit accounts or financial accounts. We want to make sure a spouse is not spending or hiding money and assets.
Be prepared to take notes during this first visit! There will a ton of information and you do not want to forget. In fact, as we have written before want to keep very good records throughout this whole process to protect yourself.
When you find your lawyer, he/she will be there to guide and help you legally, financially and possibly even emotionally.