When you’re going through a divorce, emotions run high, which means you may not be thinking straight. If you were caught off-guard with the divorce, you may not know what to look for in a divorce attorney. In addition to questions about fees–which can include retainers, hourly fees and office costs–asking the right types of questions can help ensure that you choose the attorney who is right for you.
What Is Your Experience With Divorce Cases?
It’s best to hire a lawyer who either specializes in divorce cases or who has experience with divorce in a broader practice. The specifics of each area of law are complicated and if you choose an inexperienced lawyer or one who doesn’t specialize based on his low price, you may not get the best results from your divorce.
What Is Your Strategy for Divorce Cases?
All lawyers have a specific philosophy when it comes to the right way to do divorce cases. Your lawyer may want to try mediation or she may want to take the case to court. She may want to help you get back with your partner or take him for all he’s worth. Look for a lawyer whose style agrees with your own views.
What Can I Do Without You?
The costs of a divorce attorney can quickly add up, especially if you’re paying by the hour, so you may naturally want to decrease the amount of time that he has to spend on your case. Your lawyer may allow you to talk to your ex without getting him involved, but some lawyers believe that it’s best for all communications to go through him.
How Many Cases Have You Taken to Trial?
In general, the divorce will go more smoothly if you and your ex can come to an agreement outside of court. This isn’t always possible, though. Knowing the percentage of cases that the lawyer has taken to court may give you an idea about her experience in the courtroom and about her experience in coming to agreements without needing to go to court.
Do You Have Training in Mediation or Collaboration?
In mediation, the couple meets with a neutral mediator and usually both sides’ lawyers to try to come to an agreement. The goal is find a resolution that works fairly for both people. The mediator’s job is to not take sides, but your lawyer should still be looking out for your best interests. A lawyer who has training in collaboration may be able to help you avoid a court case.
What Is Your Policy on Payment?
Lawyers charge clients in different ways. Some will charge you an all-inclusive monthly fee, while others will charge you an hourly rate. If your lawyer charges an hourly rate, ask about how she calculates it. For example, she may calculate it every 15 or 30 minutes. You’ll also probably have to pay office charges, such as the cost of printing and postage. You could also ask her to estimate the total cost of your case, which she may be able to do after hearing more of your details.
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