Going through a divorce is a difficult process, but if you are no longer in love with your partner, or if being with your partner is unsafe, it is an important one. Depending on how severe the divorce is, an attorney will be more important to have. But when you are picking a divorce attorney, what questions should you ask a divorce attorney before hiring one?
Questions to ask your divorce attorney before hiring
The first thing you should do is, well, find a divorce attorney to ask these questions in the first place. There are different approaches that can be taken to do this, such as asking your friends and family who have gone through a divorce if they can suggest a good divorce attorney. There are also legal directories that you can peruse in order to find a solid divorce attorney.
Once you have found a divorce attorney who seems to be a good fit for your situation, the next step is to... well, ask some questions! The first question that you should ask is figure out if the attorney specializes in divorce cases, or if they simply have experience in that field. This can make a big difference — while an attorney who merely has experience with divorces is not going to be bad by any means, someone who has a specialty in divorce law is a lot more likely to get you a satisfactory result. Next, you should get an idea about the level of experience they have. Again, a younger, greener divorce lawyer is not necessarily going to be bad at the job, but experience is a great way to verify whether they will be able to help you win the case. You should also ask them about how that experience went. After all, just because they have been in law for a long time does not mean that they have been successful in their career, so be diligent in this questioning.
Next, you need to get an idea of the lawyer's ability and quality at communication. When you are a client, there is nothing worse than having to hound your lawyer in order to get them to talk to you. Not only does it stress you out, but it can also make you anxious about the idea that you are being a nuisance to the attorney. However, a divorce attorney that is not taking care to keep you aware of things. A lawyer cannot keep up with every phone call and reply immediately usually, but they should at least make a good-faith effort to do so. They should also tell you how you can get a hold of them in the event of an emergency, as well as what the attorney considers an emergency.
When you pick a divorce attorney, such as one from Schultz & Associates, part of what you are picking is someone who is compatible with you and your issues. However, some attorneys may employ other people who work on the case as well, meaning that you may have some people who you have to interact with, and thus, you may want to meet them. You can also ask the attorney about the level of experience that these other people have, such that you can gauge how well they will work on your case.
A divorce case can be a difficult case to deal with, and as such, you likely want to have an idea of how hard it will be, how the divorce attorney will approach the case, and how long you can expect to be involved in this case. Divorce case lengths can be somewhat malleable, and thus, the lawyer cannot give an exact length of time. For example, something may come up during the trial that lengthens it beyond what they would have normally expected. However, they can at least advise you as to how long the experience normally lasts, as well as how they will approach it in order to get things done quickly without sacrificing a good outcome for your case.
Money is also a significant issue, and understandably so. As such, it is a common and inevitable question to ask a divorce attorney. There are different questions that can and should be asked, such as their hourly rate. In addition, you have to ask about whether this hourly rate applies to the interactions with the other lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries in the law firm. There is also the possibility that working with other parts of the law firm has a lower rate, and if that is the case, you should inquire as to how much. If there is an upfront retainer, ask how much it is. The costs of the case go well beyond the payments to the attorney, and that is an important thing to understand. For example, you may have to hire private investigators, forensic specialists, or other expert, which can certainly set you back somewhat. You would then ask how payment for these services would be handled. Further, you should ask your divorce attorney for ways to keep the costs of their services down. Next, you should ask your attorney how involved you can be in the negotiation process with your spouse. This can be a little tricky, mainly due to the fact that there may be animosity between you and your spouse. At the same time, however, it cannot be denied that it feels frustrating to be so uninvolved in the overall process.
Finally, try to get a written estimate of how much the divorce case will ultimately cost. This is a bit of a loaded question because no divorce lawyer is going to be a prognosticator, and no one divorce case is going to be the same as another. As such, the divorce attorney may be somewhat reticent to give you a specific number, or even an estimate. Honestly, one of the biggest aspects of this question is to see how they react to the question. Some may decide to give you a rough estimate, with the stipulation that certain factors may come into play that could change this number drastically. If an attorney seems to be giving you a too-low cost, that may be enough to tell you that the attorney is not exactly trustworthy. At the very least, they are probably a little desperate to get your business, and the last thing you want is a desperate attorney.
One of the most common questions that a person may have for their divorce attorney is to know how likely they are to win their case. No divorce lawyer wants to tell you that a divorce case is a sure-fire loss, as it not only ensures that you do not work with them, but they also have to make sure that your expectations are grounded. Even in a slam dunk case, there are certain things that need to be thought about. Nothing in life is guaranteed, after all. However, your divorce lawyer should still give you some idea of the pros and cons of your case. Much like how a divorce lawyer may try to give you too optimistic a perspective on the overall cost outcome, a lawyer may try to be too optimistic towards you about how successful your case may be.
Finally, an important question to ask attorneys is about the tax impact that you may have to deal with as a result of the divorce case. Taxes are no laughing matter, and the last thing you want to have to worry about is a surprise tax payment that is bigger than you would have liked. There are a number of other questions that can and should be asked, but these questions tend to be the most important ones to ask. Ultimately, a good attorney will tell you all the information you need to know without having to ask.