For many couples, the idea of divorce is a distant thought. However, there are still plenty of married couples who face the reality that divorce is for the best. In the United States of America, the divorce rate is an estimated 2.7 per 1,000 population according to the CDC. Deciding to divorce one’s partner is never easy, and it can lead to immense emotional trauma and significant financial pressures.
When you decide to proceed with a divorce, it’s important to remember you don’t have to retain the first lawyer you meet. Choosing the right divorce attorney is crucial if you want to obtain a favorable outcome. A qualified attorney for divorce can represent your best interests every step of the way. Below we have provided a few critical questions you should ask when you’re looking for a divorce lawyer.
Top 5 Questions to Ask a Qualified Divorce Lawyer Before You Hire One
Divorces can be tricky, and hiring a divorce attorney can feel overwhelming. Below are five essential questions you should ask your attorney on your first visit.
- Do You Specialize in Divorce and Family Law?
Asking an attorney if they specialize in divorce and family law is incredibly important. You want an attorney who knows the ins and outs of what is required to get you positive results. Attorneys who don’t specialize in divorce and family law might not know how to properly handle your case. If you have a choice, consider a lawyer who specializes in this field.
- How Long Have You Been a Divorce Attorney?
Experience speaks for itself in many fields. You want an attorney who understands the process and has the connections in the courthouse. Additionally, ask them how many trial cases they’ve taken and of those, how many they’ve won. Most divorce cases will go to trial, so it’s imperative your attorney is prepared to go the distance, not just hope for a favorable out of court settlement.
- How Does Your Billing or Fee Structure Work?
Before hiring a divorce attorney or agreeing to a second meeting, ask them how their billing or fee structure works. You will want to find out before signing any contracts how much your divorce is going to cost. Be sure to establish if there are any hidden fees or clauses. Some attorneys will only charge you if your case was won at trial, while others will charge you an hourly or fixed fee. Additionally, some divorce attorneys have different out-of-court and in-court rates.
- When Will We Communicate About My Case and What Form of Communication Will We Use?
In most divorce cases, an attorney should speak with you between one and four times each month. How you communicate with your divorce attorney will depend on what forms of communication you are both comfortable with. Often attorneys will contact their clients via telephone, email, or video conferences. Other attorneys and clients prefer face-to-face meetings. Establishing early on when and how you will communicate will save both you and your attorney time and ensure you are always up to date and on the same page.
- Who Will Make Court Appearances on My Case?
Perhaps the foremost question to ask a divorce attorney before hiring them is who will make court appearances for your trial. Depending on the law firm, you might not have the lawyer you hired representing your case. It’s important to make sure the attorney you hire will also be the one conducting the court appearances for your case. It should be noted, sometimes you will meet with an attorney who handles your case’s administrative side, and there will be another attorney who will do the court appearances. You will need to decide if this is something you are comfortable with or if you want a divorce attorney who will handle your case from beginning to end.
Understanding how to narrow down your divorce lawyer search will make the process seem less insurmountable. Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact a qualified divorce attorney during this tumultuous time in your life.