Going through a divorce is one of the most painful and difficult experiences you will ever have to endure. While this is certainly not something that you would like to be doing, it is important that you take the time to find the right divorce lawyer who will represent you well.
“Even if you have an uncontested divorce with little conflict, it is still essential to have a good attorney who can ensure everything is done properly, according to the law.”
When looking for a divorce lawyer, you should always schedule a consultation with them before moving forward. Most attorneys will offer a one-hour consultation to potential clients. Some lawyers offer this consultation for free, and others charge a reduced hourly rate for the consultation. When meeting with a potential attorney, you want to get answers to some important questions while also getting a good feel for how you will get along with the attorney.
Remember, you will likely be working with the attorney for several months at the least; years in some cases. Being comfortable with the person is almost as important as his/her skills and experience.
During the consultation, make sure to ask the following questions:
Do You Specialize in Family Law?
Some attorneys will be willing to take on a divorce case, even if that isn’t their area of expertise. Asking if the lawyer you are meeting with specializes in divorce, or family law, is a great way to gauge their experience in this area. While having a family law attorney may be necessary in some cases, that isn’t always the case. If the attorney you are meeting with has multiple specialties, they may still do a great job for you. In addition, if you are meeting with a larger firm with multiple lawyers on staff, they will likely have some who specialize in family law and others who don’t.
What is Your Fee Structure?
Getting a divorce can be expensive, but you should never be surprised at the fees you receive from your divorce lawyers. Make sure you understand what the fees are, and how much they will be. This includes knowing things like how much they expect any court filing fees to be, what their hourly rate is, whether they have legal assistants who can perform some tasks for a reduced rate, and more. You can also ask what their average total cost is for a divorce like yours. This should give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay.
How Will Communication Take Place?
You will undoubtedly have questions about your case as it progresses, and you’ll want to be able to ask your attorney. Attorneys, however, are very busy with all their cases. In order to avoid any problems, make sure you know the best way to communicate with your divorce lawyers, and how quickly you should expect a response to questions.
For urgent issues, you should be able to reach your attorney by phone. If they aren’t available, they will typically be able to call you back within 24 hours. Many lawyers prefer getting questions or updates via email, so they have a written record to respond to. For more general questions, you may be able to call in and ask a paralegal, which can save you money while still getting a quick answer. Whatever the case, make sure you know what to expect from your lawyer before hiring them.
What Is Your Initial Plan For this Case?
While it will be way too early to have any type of detailed plan of action in mind, the attorney you’re talking to should be able to give you a general idea of how they hope your case will play out. For example, they can likely tell you if it sounds like your case will be able to go through uncontested or if you will need to take your spouse to court. You can also ask them what percentage of their cases are contested compared to uncontested. In general, you will want someone with lots of experience with the type of divorce you expect to have.
Remember, whenever hiring a lawyer, even divorce lawyers, you have the right to ask questions to ensure you’re comfortable with them. You will have to work closely with this individual for months to come in most cases, so it is important that you know you can trust them and that they will work effectively on your case.
Pav Lertjitbanjong, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®, Data Scientist, MBA – MyCoachPav
Pav Lertjitbanjong is on a mission to help people make better decisions in divorce and in life so they can love and live fearlessly again. She is a Data Scientist and Certified Divorce Coach at MyCoachPav.com. She also runs Our Divorce Stories channel on YouTube. Connect with Pav about Divorce Coaching and get her expert divorce advice via LinkedIn and Facebook.
CDC Certified Divorce Coach ® Directory Listing – https://divorcesupporthelp.com/find-a-divorce-coach/listing/pav-lertjitbanjong/