Do you know what questions to ask before you hire a divorce attorney? Finding the right person to represent you in a divorce, custody or support matter is not always simple. To make sure that you find someone you can feel comfortable with, interview the attorney before making a decision about whether to retain him or her.
Some Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Divorce Attorney
- How long have you been practicing family law?
- How many divorce cases have you handled during that time?
- Of the divorces you have dealt with, how many cases went to trial?
- Are you taking on any new clients right now?
How Your Case Will be Handled
- Will other members of your firm, such as associate lawyers, be working on my divorce?
- If so, how many years of experience do they have?
- What kinds of tasks would the other members of your firm do?
- How much of the work on my file would be assigned to other members of the firm?
- Are there certain tasks that you would deal with personally?
- Will you be handling negotiations with my spouse's attorney?
- Will you be available by phone or e-mail if I have questions?
- Can I contact your associate by phone or e-mail with questions?
- What is your policy regarding a time frame for returning calls or responding to e-mails? (Some lawyers or firms have a policy that they will respond to clients within one or two business days.)
- What are your normal office hours?
- Do you have an answering service if something comes up outside of normal business hours?
- Will I receive copies of all incoming and outgoing correspondence in my case?
- Will you provide me with copies of all court documents received or prepared on my behalf?
- What is your normal billing rate?
- What is your associate's normal billing rate?
- Do you require new clients to pay a retainer before you start working on the case? If so, how much?
- Do you charge a separate fee for going to court? If so, what is the daily rate?
- Can I get the billing arrangement in writing?
- Will you let me know at the end of each month how much of the retainer has been spent?
- What other costs, other than legal fees, will I be responsible for paying? (Your lawyer will charge extra for expenses like court filing fees, process server fees, postage, etc.)
- Will I be charged for phone calls?
- Do you bill a minimum amount for phone calls or time spent working on the file? (Some lawyers bill in five or 15-minute intervals, even when the time spent is actually less.)
General Questions About Strategy
- Will you discuss my options with me and allow me to give you instructions about how I want my case handled?
- Will you keep me informed about all developments with my case?
- Can you give me an idea of how much my case will cost?
Find a Lawyer You Feel Comfortable With
The lawyer you choose must be someone can trust with some very personal information about yourself and your marriage. It is possible to find someone whose expertise you respect, while being able to open up with. Take this list of questions to ask before you hire a divorce attorney with you when you interview potential lawyers, and you will find it easier to find the right one for you.