Are you contemplating a divorce? Finding an experienced attorney to protect your rights is the first step in securing a favorable outcome. But what should you seek in your divorce attorney? Bring this list of questions to your next meeting.
Questions for Your Divorce Attorney
- Do you focus specifically on divorce cases like mine? What can you tell me about your track record?
Find an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours. For instance, if you’re divorcing a foreign national, and you’re a native Californian, you might want to choose a law firm that’s successfully handled similar tricky international divorce cases..
- What strategy do you plan to apply to my case?
Depending on your situation, including your shared assets and debts and whether or not you have children, the prospective attorney might have immediate insight regarding a particular type of approach, such as collaborative, mediation or arbitration.
- How quickly do you return phone calls?
Divorces are a stressful business, even when they’re amicable. An attorney should be able to return your calls and emails and address your concerns within a reasonable time frame.
- Who will be taking the lead on my case?
Law offices are full of partners and associates who work together to achieve end goals. If you’re not going to be working directly with the attorney who takes you initial meeting, ask to meet the firm members who will be collaborating on your case.
- How will I be charged?
Each firm has a unique method for charging clients, so ask what method it uses. Will you be charged for every phone call? How much? What is the retainer? Are you charged the same amount for speaking with an associate, partner, and secretary?
- What other costs should I expect?
To secure the best outcome, law firms will often turn to outside experts, like forensic accountants and psychologists. Knowing exactly what to expect will make your divorce proceeding easier.
- What can I expect from my divorce proceeding?
A competent lawyer won’t give you a guarantee of victory. There are too many variables to make a definitive prediction. A lawyer should, however, give you a ballpark idea of how your particular divorce proceeding will play out based on the facts provided. In general, the process becomes longer and more cumbersome if:
- You and your spouse have children either with each other or via another relationship;
- The marriage ended on terrible terms. For instance, you discovered evidence that your husband cheated on you with the nanny while you were on a business trip;
- You and your spouse have substantial and complex assets and debts, and your finances are intertwined and out of order;