Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney
Selecting your divorce attorney is the first big decision you’ll make in the divorce process. Read on for the top 10 questions to ask your divorce attorney.
- How many years’ experience do you have with divorce cases? Experience counts so find a lawyer with years of experience in divorce settlement and litigation, and one who knows what to expect from the local judges and courts.
- How many custody cases have you handled? This can be especially important if you expect a dispute over custody of your children.
- How often have you represented clients in family court? Family court is a specialized court system with rules of evidence specific to the court. You want an attorney who has experience handling divorce cases before judges in family court.
- What is the usual result of your cases? While each case is different, ideally you want an attorney who is able to help you negotiate a settlement without having a judge involved to settle disputes. Ask the lawyer about favorable settlements for past clients.
- How much do you charge? Most attorneys charge an hourly fee. You need to know how much that fee costs and make sure you can afford to pay it.
- How much is your retainer? A retainer is like a deposit for legal services that you have to pay when you hire your lawyer. You will need to have this money when you hire your divorce attorney.
- How long do you expect the process to take? This can give you an indication of how much it will cost and can also help you determine how long it will be until you are divorced.
- What is involved in the divorce process? You should know how and when negotiations will occur and when divorce papers will be filed.
- Are you usually able to negotiate a divorce settlement? If parties can agree on a settlement together and just submit it to the court for approval, this is generally less expensive than if they can’t agree and a judge has to determine a custody arrangement or divide up assets. Ask if your attorney is also expert at mediation or the “collaborative divorce” process.
- Are you willing to take my case? You want a lawyer who is passionate about helping you get divorced and who is vested in protecting your interests.