Divorces are never easy but can be more challenging if you have the right legal representation. Finding a divorce lawyer who knows the law and has familiarity with Judges in your jurisdiction will help ensure that you are in good hands.
Consider your consultation like an interview, and ask these seven key questions before hiring a divorce lawyer.
How long have you been practicing?
For any legal case, you want to hire an attorney who has been in practice for a sufficient amount of time. This will ensure they have the knowledge and experience to handle your case.
Especially with sensitive issues such as child custody, alimony, and property division, it is essential to find an attorney with extensive experience handling these cases. You may also want to know if they have specific expertise in same-sex divorce.
It is also good to ask how they typically communicate with clients. You will want to know if they can respond quickly to emails, texts, or phone calls.
What is your fee structure?
Divorce is expensive and can cause financial strain on both parties. Before hiring an attorney, determine how much they charge per hour and how their billing process works.
Most attorneys require a retainer fee upfront, which they then bill against as they work on your case. Be sure to find out how frequently they expect to invoice you, what services they provide and the costs for those services, and whether the billable amount includes their hourly rate or a markup.
Additionally, ask the Katy divorce lawyer how they plan to handle your case and who they might assign to it if they are busy or unavailable. This will help you determine how much personal attention your lawyer can give to your case.
Can you give me an estimate for this divorce?
Divorces involve many complex issues, including child custody, parenting time, property distribution, and spousal support. Your lawyer must have experience handling these matters.
You should also find out whether your attorney has handled a similar case in the past and how that case ended. This will help you understand the potential outcome of your divorce.
It would help to ask how often your attorney reaches an out-of-court agreement in divorce cases. An honest attorney will answer that this is often impossible to determine in advance.
How often do you reach an out-of-court agreement?
If you’re partnering with a divorce lawyer for months, choosing someone you can work well with makes sense. Find out how often your attorney will be available for meetings and phone calls.
A reputable attorney will be honest about their caseload and make reasonable commitments to communicate with you, even as they juggle the needs of other clients. If they are not, consider another candidate. Determining if the attorney is a sole practitioner or will share your case with a colleague or associate is also essential.
How often do you take your cases to trial?
Divorce proceedings can be lengthy. If your case goes to trial, it may take even longer. Finding out if your attorney has experience in the courtroom can help you determine whether they are the right fit for your situation.
It is essential to ask your prospective divorce lawyer how often they go to court and the outcome of those cases. You can also ask them if they have any experience with complex divorces.
It would help if you also discussed how your lawyer will keep you updated on the progress of your case. Some attorneys prefer to communicate through email, while others want to meet in person or speak by phone.
Do you have a team of divorce lawyers?
It is essential to find out if the attorney you meet with will be the one who will be working on your case. It’s also good to ask how often you can expect to hear from your lawyer—will they call, text, email, or meet in person?
If an attorney is juggling many cases, they likely won’t be able to give your case the attention it deserves. It would help if you also asked them about their experience with divorce and family law. Please find out how long they have been handling divorces and what percentage of their practice is dedicated to this area.
What will be the outcome?
Depending on your case, ask how long the process will take and whether it will require court proceedings. A divorce is often resolved without going to court, but some cases are more complicated and require a judge’s decision.
In these cases, knowing that your lawyer has experience negotiating financial settlements, such as child or spousal support and large property settlements, is essential. A contested divorce that requires the court to decide can be expensive and lengthy.
Also, find out whether your attorney will be handling the case personally or if they will be delegating some of the work to an associate.