Divorce is never an easy process, and it can be a heart-rending decision to make. Many factors go into this decision, and it is rarely made without any forethought. Still, the first step in the process should be finding and choosing a divorce lawyer to represent you during the subsequent proceedings.
When choosing a divorce lawyer, however, there is much important information to gather. You want to ensure they can represent you and your interests properly, which is understandable. One way to do this is by asking them questions to better understand the parameters of the situation. Below, we look at many of the best questions to ask a lawyer during your first meeting.
How Many Years of Experience Do You Have?
The amount of time and effort a divorce lawyer has put into their profession can indicate a lot about their capabilities regarding your case. Generally speaking, the more experience they have, the better.
What is the Focus of Your Legal Experience?
It is just as important as knowing how long a divorce lawyer has been practicing is knowing what they’ve been practicing. If a personal injury lawyer, for instance, chose to transition into family law just months before you request a consultation, they may not have the right knowledge and experience to adequately represent you.
Remember, the law is complex and encompasses many different areas of the legal system. Understanding just one area can take a lifetime of study, so it is important not to overlook the power of relevant experience.
How Long Do You Expect the Process to Take?
Divorces can be long and drawn-out affairs. Some of them go on for years or even decades. Therefore, asking your lawyer how long they expect the process to take is a relevant and useful question. You shouldn’t look for an exact answer; rather, you should expect a detailed answer that lays out the process and the rough timelines of these steps.
What is Your Fee Structure?
Once you have some of the foundational knowledge about your case, it is time to inquire about the cost of your divorce. Lawyers will typically request a retainer fee to develop attorney-client privilege, and then they may offer one of several payment options. This could be an hourly rate, or it may be a portion of the settlement amount, depending on the circumstances.
How Much Do You Expect My Case to Cost?
Alongside the cost of your divorce lawyer’s work are the other costs that come with a divorce. This includes filing documentation with the courts, processing fees, requesting information, and other expenses. A lawyer can’t give an exact cost because of the many factors involved, but a rough estimate is certainly possible in most cases.
Will My Case Proceed to Litigation?
Knowing whether or not your case will proceed to litigation is an important part of a divorce. It is also difficult to know how your spouse may react, so having this conversation with your lawyer from the outset can prove beneficial.
What Can I Do to Assist in the Legal Process?
Knowing your own role in the process of your divorce is also key to your success. If you are expected to gather documentation, adhere to instructions or avoid certain behaviors, it is best to fully grasp those finer details. This can prevent confusion and frustration further down the line.