Interviewing Divorce Lawyers? Ask These Questions.
If this is your first time through the process, the legal aspects of your divorce can be confusing and frustrating. Fortunately, your divorce lawyer can help relieve a lot of the stress associated with the process. But before you can place your burdens on his or her shoulders, you must first find a qualified, competent, compatible lawyer to represent you.
When you begin your search for a divorce lawyer, ask family, friends, and coworkers for recommendations. Check the yellow pages. Once you have a list of several potential attorneys, call to arrange for an initial consultation. You’ll want to interview quite a few lawyers before selecting one. Choosing the person to represent you shouldn’t be decided on a whim.
When interviewing potential divorce lawyers, consider asking these questions:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How much of your experience comes from divorce or family law?
- What other types of cases do you deal with?
- What type of relationship do you have with local divorce attorneys? How do they perceive you?
- Have you ever been suspended, disbarred, or reprimanded? If so, why?
- Please give me some current or former clients to contact as references.
- Who will be handling my case? You? A junior associate?
- How much of your time is spent in court?
- How many divorce or custody cases do you have open right now?
- Do you prefer to represent men or women? Why?
- If you are unable to take my call, will someone else in the office be able to help me? If not, how long will it take for you to call me back?
Determining an Estimated Timetable
- How long did your last divorce case take?
- Can you offer an estimate on how long it will take for my case to reach its completion?
Determining the Cost
- How much is your retainer?
- How often do you bill your clients?
- May I see a sample bill?
- Once you have issues a bill, how long will I have to pay it?
- Do you offer a payment plan? Accept credit cards?
- Can you make an estimate of how much my case will cost?
Determining the Outcome of your Case
- Tell me about the different phases of my case. Tell me how the process will progress.
- What is your initial reaction to my case?
- What do you think the outcome will be?
- Do you think I have unrealistic expectations?
- Have you handled cases with my spouse’s lawyer before? If so, what was the outcome?
Make sure you interview enough lawyers so you can make an educated decision. You’ll want to find a lawyer who is compatible with your personality, experienced with divorce lawsuits, and fits within your budget.
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Guest author Julie Clement works for a Clearwater divorce lawyer. While divorce often brings out hurtful feelings, she enjoys helping clients through the emotional experience.