5 Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Lawyer
Who you choose to represent you in your divorce can make all the difference in how smooth or bumpy the ride will be. A good divorce lawyer will show compassion for your situation while also offering honest and constructive guidance. Looking for the right lawyer to meet your needs can be tricky, but there are ways of determining whether they will be the right fit for your divorce case.
During your first meeting with your prospective divorce attorney, make sure you ask these important questions.
1. What is Your Legal Experience?
It is important that you feel comfortable with your divorce attorney’s abilities. One of the best ways to determine if an attorney can help you is to find out if they have handled cases like yours before. Ask how long they have been practicing family law and what type of divorce cases they have handled. If you are dealing with a high asset divorce, anticipate contested child custody issues, or have some other potentially complex issue, make sure it’s something your attorney has experience with.
Also, you might want to ask what other areas of law your attorney practices. When a lawyer focuses solely on family legal matters, for example, it’s likely safe to say he or she has more experience dealing with divorce than an attorney who handles a wider variety of cases.
2. How Do You Expect to Handle My Divorce?
Divorces are most often settled outside of court, but if you anticipate a fight, you will need an attorney who is skilled at litigation. If you want to try alternative dispute resolution methods, like mediation or collaborative divorce, you need an attorney who knows how to get results with those methods. Talk to the attorney about your case and make sure you are comfortable with how they recommend handling it. Remember, however, an attorney may advise a method they feel is in your best interest that may not be what you envisioned. Carefully consider whether it may be true that your situation needs a different approach than you originally planned.
Also, find out how much personal attention your attorney plans to provide you with. Will your emails and calls go directly to your lawyer or an associate? Discuss how involved other lawyers may be in your case. Does your attorney use a paralegal or support attorneys? Find an attorney who works in a way you are comfortable. It can also be beneficial to seek the advice of multiple divorce attorneys to find the right fit.
3. How Will Payments Work?
It may be an awkward conversation, but it is a necessary one. Ask your lawyer about how they charge for divorce cases, what you should anticipate paying, and how payments will be rendered. If there is a payment schedule or set fees, find out what they are and take note. If the fees are determined by the hours spent on your case, or the outcome of your divorce, make sure you know the range of your attorney’s potential fees. Remember, you need to be comfortable with your lawyer, so make sure the fees fit your financial situation. Beware if a firm or attorney is not upfront about the costs.
4. What Are Your Plans for Achieving My Goals?
Before you begin the divorce process, you’ll want a road map of some kind. Not only will this help you to understand some important things about how the process will work, it should also give you confidence in your attorney. A good divorce lawyer will give you a clear idea of what you should expect from your divorce. He or she should be able to tell you what steps to take to best meet your goals. Nobody can predict the future, but your attorney should know enough to explain the basics of the process as well as the potential options you have as the divorce unfolds.
5. What Should I Do Now?
There are certain things every individual seeking a divorce should do to protect themselves. When you feel ready to take the next step, it is extremely important that you know what to do to protect your family and your assets. Ask your attorney about any pertinent deadlines, whether you should change anything about your bank accounts, credit cards, living situation, social media usage, phone accounts, etcetera. Are there certain things you need to do regarding child custody or living arrangements for your children? Get the answers you need for the time being and find out when you can expect the next big step.If you are seeking a divorce in Oregon, our family law firm can help. Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your case with our divorce lawyers.