Divorce can be confusing and overwhelming. The stress in your personal life during a divorce can make it hard to know all the right steps to take in divorce proceedings. Your lawyer will be there to guide you through the process, but there are some things you would be wise to ask your lawyer to ensure the proceedings go smoothly and in your favor.
If you are trying to decide on a lawyer, it goes without being said that finding someone highly qualified is priority number one. But how do you know if they’re qualified? Well, there are a few questions you can ask to get an idea. Think of the search for a lawyer as a hiring process. You are the boss and are interviewing them. Some helpful questions to ask them include:
- What percentage of your cases are divorce cases?
- For how many years have they been practicing divorce law in your state?
- What unique experience do they have that will be helpful to your case?
- What type of experts do they work with outside of their law practice?
- Do they have any special certification or training in the divorce niche?
Once a lawyer has made it past those hurdles, you can start to focus on determining what to expect from them in your case. Ask them:
- How do you generally handle divorce cases?
- How often do your divorce cases go to trial?
- What are your feelings on direct communication between the two parties of the divorce?
- Will you be the person helping you through your divorce or will you leave it to one of your associates?
- How long do you expect the divorce proceedings to take?
By asking these questions, you will eventually start to get a feel for your potential divorce attorney. Whoever you end up hiring will have answers that stand out from the rest of the pack. When you begin to think you might have settled on a single divorce attorney, make sure to cover all your bases by asking them the following questions before hiring them:
- What are your fees for handling my divorce?
- How do they bill hourly fees?
- What other costs can I expect to encounter in hiring your firm to handle my divorce?
- Can you estimate for me how much I can expect this divorce to cost?
- Can I receive a written agreement regarding all fees prior to leasing your services?
And finally, ask them if there’s anything else they think that you would like to know. These questions might seem a bit exhaustive, but it is much better to cover all of your bases beforehand rather than finding yourself in a huge mess once it’s too late to do anything about it.
This may be one of the most important decisions you will make at this time. We are often asked this question –
“How do I choose the best lawyer for me?”
Basically, you can only go on reputation, referral, and trust.
This is what we suggest:
Talk to the lawyer. Make sure that you feel comfortable with that person. Make sure that you feel heard. While a lawyer may not always agree with what you say, nor you agree with what the lawyer says, a lawyer should not act without your instructions, and you should be able to work with your lawyer to come to some mutual understanding and agreement of how you should proceed.
Ask about that lawyer. Ask other lawyers about the lawyer you are considering, ask your family physician or counselors, ask friends who have been involved in similar situations or who know lawyers who practice in the field of Family Law.
Ultimately, all you can assess is whether you feel that you have a good working relationship with your lawyer. Whether you feel that the lines of communication are open … and working. And whether you feel understood … and represented.