Regardless of who initiated a separation, a divorce means the life you planned with someone else is no longer going to happen and now you have to re-evaluate your future. Choosing an attorney is one of the most important steps to protecting yourself during a divorce. Asking several questions can help you decide whether an attorney is the right one for you.
How Many Divorces Do You Handle Annually?
An attorney who focuses on divorce develops relationships with other divorce attorneys as well as with the judges who typically handle divorces. This could help the process run smoother overall if the attorney knows the styles of the other parties who will be working on the case. Asking an attorney what percentage of his practice is devoted to divorce will give you an idea about how much divorce court experience he actually has under his belt.
Are You Accessible?
Nothing is more frustrating than calling your attorney and not having her call back. Ask your potential divorce attorney how long she takes to return calls, does she accept emails from clients and what her policy is about communication with her clients. This can help you match your expectations to the reality of whatever attorney you choose to hire. If you are the type to want little contact and simply want her to do her job, constant communication won’t be as important. If you are the type of person who wishes to have close contact throughout the process, be sure you are hiring an attorney who believes in regular two-way communication with her clients.
What Is Your Fee?
Asking an attorney what he charges per hour can help you avoid shock waves later. Some attorneys charge for every phone call, letter, email sent or received, while others have a flat rate for divorces that includes all correspondence. Asking exactly what and how the attorney charges–including whether you will also be charged for communications with secretaries and paralegals in the office–allows you to determine whether you can afford to hire this person. Find out if any of the costs are refundable when the case is over, or if the attorney offers a payment plan.
What is Your Strategy In My Case?
Finding out exactly how an attorney plans to handle your case can help you relax and go about your daily routine with less stress. Asking the attorney what the strategy is for your case gives you the opportunity to voice concerns and take part in the plan.
Do You Carry Malpractice Insurance?
According to the Divorce Wizards website, asking how much malpractice insurance the divorce attorney carries is an important question to ask. Many people hesitate to ask about this, as it seems like an implication that you do not trust the attorney to do a good job. It is a valid question and your attorney should not be offended. If she plans to properly represent you, there will be no need to sue her later.
- sad image by Alexandra Gnatush-Kostenko from Fotolia.com