Don’t Hire a Divorce Attorney Without Asking These 6 Questions First

The traditional wedding vow implores us to embrace ‘til death do us part’, but life has a funny way of getting in the way. Around 30-40% of first marriages end in divorce. Divorce has become part and parcel of modern life. But that doesn’t make it any less traumatizing.

Staring down the barrel of a divorce invokes feelings of utter loss and bewilderment. There is a myriad of legal issues to put to rest, starting with the untangling of finances. As you start down the path towards the next chapter in your life, you want to make sure that the person walking alongside you as your guide is knowledgeable and has your best interests at heart.

Choosing the right divorce attorney can help reduce the stress involved in divorce proceedings. You do not have to accept the first attorney you meet, in fact, you should probably meet with more than one to find the right attorney for you. These are the six questions you should put to your attorney in the first meeting to help decide if they are the right man or woman for you.

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Have you handled similar cases in the past?

No two divorces are exactly the same. Your needs will be specific to your case. Therefore, instead of asking whether the lawyer specializes in divorce proceedings or family law, ask if they have handled similar cases before. You want a lawyer with experience in handling cases of the same nature as your own.

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What is your strategy for my case/how long will it take?

If your attorney has extensive experience in handling similar cases, they should already have a clear strategy going in, as well as an idea on what sort of time frame you should be looking at.

If their estimations end up being wildly off, that is okay. But if the lawyer can’t give any clear indication on the strategy or timeframe going in, this is a red flag.

How do you charge?

You need to be aware of all the fees and charges up front. Ask about the retainer, how it works as well as what their billing process and method is.

Some divorce lawyers charge an hourly rate, others a fixed fee. Also, ask if you will be charged for phone calls and emails. Some lawyers add additional fees for every email and phone call they have to answer, especially outside of normal business hours.

Will anyone else be working on my case?

In some law offices, the attorney that you meet with may not be the person working on your case day-in-day-out. Ask who else will be working on your case, their experience level and if you can meet them as well.

What do I need to be doing now?

You need to be aware of what you should be doing at this stage of the proceedings to protect your legal rights. Any attorney can provide you with an overview of what you should be doing to put yourself in the best possible position in the early stages of a divorce.

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Can I do anything to keep the costs down?

Often, there are negotiations and proceedings that you can carry out (providing you are still on speaking terms with your spouse) to speed up the process and keep costs down. Ask what these are and see if you can hurry the process along.