Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

| September 28, 2012

child support and dividing assets

Getting a divorce is one of the most serious and difficult decisions many people will make. You want to find a divorce attorney who will keep your interests in mind and is experienced at handling divorce cases.

What is your experience?

You want to find an attorney who is well-versed in your state’s divorce laws and has certification in family law. Ask what percentage of the law firm’s work deals with divorce cases and whether the attorneys deal extensively with child support and alimony, if that is your need.

How much have you worked in the local courts?

It’s not only a case of how many years the attorney has worked with divorce cases. You also want to know how long the attorney has worked in your state and specifically your county. An attorney who just moved to your state may not be as familiar with your state’s divorce laws. A divorce lawyer new to your county will not be as acquainted with the judges and what questions they will likely ask.

How do you approach divorce cases?

Ask prospective divorce attorneys what their strategy is when handling divorce cases. Do they suggest alternatives such as dissolution or mediation? Finding someone skilled at negotiating may help settle a divorce case without a prolonged court battle. On the other hand, if you are already heading for a battle on a specific issue, you want a lawyer who is not afraid to be firm in representing you in negotiations or in court.

How will you handle my case?

You want to find an attorney who will make your case as much of a priority as possible. Ask questions such as how many other cases is he or she handling, does the attorney have time for your case and whether that attorney will seeing the e case through or whether an associate will handle it. Also, find out who else from the law firm will be contacting you and involved in the case.

Also ask if you can contact the attorney directly and what your main form of communication will be, whether by phone or by email. You want to get all copies of legal documents and correspondence.

How much do you charge?

When searching for the right attorney, make sure you understand about the fee. An attorney may ask for a retainer or a certain amount of money based on how long divorce cases like yours usually take. You need to make sure you understand how the retainer works and whether there will be any other fees, such as for copies of documents, etc. You also want to ask whether you will be charged by anyone else, such as a paralegal working on your case. Also ask what the fee is for phone calls or emails to ask questions; such as will you be charged an hourly rate for such inquiries.

What do you think of my case?

When you get done explaining the situations behind your case, don’t be afraid to ask what the attorney thinks your chances are. That includes anything from how long the divorce lawyer thinks it will take, to how much you may pay in child support, or what your chances are of gaining custody.

These questions should help you narrow down your final choice.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Attorneys, Services

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.