Most people are fortunate enough to rarely, if ever, require the services of an attorney. However, that inexperience can be a bit of a detriment when a divorce is on the horizon. With little knowledge regarding how legal practices operate and what good legal counsel looks like it’s not easy to feel confident that you’re getting the help you need. Even worse, your future livelihood may be at stake. Using an inexperienced, less-than-trustworthy practitioner can mean that you don’t get everything you deserve in the settlement or decision.
Clearly, it’s important to know what kinds of questions to ask your prospective attorney. Use this list as a helpful guide to direct your search, and you will likely be able to hire a practitioner who is experienced, reliable and worthy of your trust. Most practitioners provide an initial consultation, often without cost to the potential client, and this is your opportunity to ask the questions that will help you determine whether or not he is the advocate for you.
1. How much experience do you have with divorce?
Like all areas of law, family law and marriage dissolutions require extensive and specific knowledge. This knowledge is acquired through education and experience. You want a practitioner who is seasoned and has already successfully concluded dozens of cases like yours.
2. What strategy will you use for my case?
Several approaches are possible when it comes to family law matters. Some practitioners will be more aggressive than others. Most will be able to tailor their approach to meet your unique needs.
3. How do you keep in contact? How can I reach you in an emergency?
Good practitioners will provide you with several ways to reach them. Text, phone calls, emails, mail and more. Even if they have a busy practice, they should be able to make frequent contact with you and get back to you in a timely manner.
4. How much will this cost?
A reliable lawyer will be reluctant to provide a figure that’s too specific. Too many variables are in play to be able to determine with any certainty precisely how much the proceedings will cost. Nonetheless, he should be able to give you comprehensive information regarding retainers and hourly fees for himself and staff members.
5. Will anyone else work on my case?
Busy legal practices often share responsibilities for cases. Accordingly, you may find yourself occasionally working with another lawyer, a paralegal or other staff member. You have a right to meet these people and understand the degree of responsibility they may take on for your case. Some firms allow you to elect a specific attorney to handle your case exclusively
6. Given the facts of my case, how do you think a judge will rule on it?
Trustworthy attorneys will avoid offering guarantees and absolutes. That’s because it’s impossible to guarantee the outcome of any legal matter. If you ask this question of a practitioner who makes any kind of guarantee, then you should probably find a different one. Lawyers can make estimates regarding the outcome of a case, but they never offer guarantees.