Divorce is a huge decision. And the way things are handled during the process can have long-lasting impacts on both parties. No matter what side you are on, it is always wise to seek the help of an experienced, divorce attorney to help you understand your rights and legal responsibilities.
Choosing the right lawyer to guide you throughout the course of your divorce is probably one of the most important factors to consider. Remember, you don’t have to hire the first attorney you meet when you are going through a divorce. There are a lot of lawyers out there, and it can be difficult to pick the right one. So before you hire one, here is a list of top 10 questions to ask your divorce attorney:
1. How Many Similar Divorce Cases Have You Previously Managed?
Shortlisting a divorce attorney is similar to choosing a contractor or a plumber for your home. You obviously don’t want to hire someone who does not have enough experience in the field. Getting a divorce itself is so difficult. And the last thing you want is to be stuck with a lawyer whom you have to monitor and watch over to make sure that they are handling everything correctly. You, as a client, have the right to choose the best lawyer who would understand your situation and handle your case professionally. Therefore, it is important that the lawyer you choose have sufficient experience in dealing with divorce cases so that you don’t have to monitor them or tell them how to do their job right.
2. Do You Have Any Connections with My Spouse?
If your lawyer has any associations or connections with your spouse, it could become a potential problem and may interfere with the case regardless of how your spouse or attorney feels about each other now. Most of the time, personal knowledge or feelings about the other party can get in the way of the case. It can also impact the ability of the lawyer to perform well with utmost honesty and without being biased. So you should definitely steer clear of any lawyer who has a prior connection to your spouse.
3. Do You Have Any Connections with the Attorney of My Spouse?
There are chances that your attorney might know your spouse’s attorney. Even though the chances of your case being impacted by it are less, it is still better to hire someone who has no connections to your spouse in any way. For instance, if your attorney went to the same law school as your spouse’s attorney, that’s okay. But if they were friends or roommates, that’s a red flag you don’t want to ignore.
4. How Well Do You Know the Local Family Court Judges?
Let’s suppose you were to enroll in a class. You would probably wonder what the professor is like, and eventually, you want to ask some of the current students of that class about him. Hiring a lawyer is also similar to this situation. Before you hire them, you want to make sure that they know your local judges, their directions, and their reputations.
5. Have You Previously Handled Negotiating Financial Settlements or Support Claims?
Business settlements or large financial settlements will come up in a divorce case sooner or later. The settlements may involve children as well regarding their custody and rights to visit. Make sure you hire a lawyer who knows how to handle these situations expertly. Your lawyer should have enough experience in negotiating settlements.
6. Will You Be Handling My Case Personally?
You hire an attorney by agreeing with their way of practicing and doing things. Ideally, your case should be handled by the person you spoke with and shortlisted. The last thing you want is your case being transferred or handled by a different lawyer. Although the chances of something like this happening are rare, it is always better to clarify your concerns at the initial meeting.
7. If There Are Other Parties Involved In Handling My Case, Can I Meet Them?
If your case is too complex and requires the involvement or assistance of several other lawyers or third parties, make sure you get to meet and talk to everyone who will be involved. It is important to interview each person and be on the same page with everyone to ensure that there are no ambiguities.
8. How Can I Remain In Tough with You?
The process of divorce requires constant communication. In case something urgent comes up, you must ensure that you can reach out to your lawyer instantly without waiting for a scheduled appointment. You would want to remain connected with them either in person, over email, or over the phone. So make sure that you ask them the most suitable form of communication before hiring them.
9. How Long Will the Process Take?
Divorce can be an overwhelming process, and most often, the time taken is highly unpredictable. A good divorce lawyer will be able to provide you with an estimated time frame and share the necessary information that you need to be available for every important session or meeting that may take place.
10. Will You Provide Copies of All of the Documents Used for the Case?
The phrase ‘on the record’ is a critical part of any legal or court battle because you need to refer to a conversation or document of your case. If you believe that the documents used or presented to fight your case will come in handy later, make sure that you ask your lawyer if you will be given a copy for reference.
Going through a divorce is, without a doubt, one of the most overwhelming and challenging situations in life. The above questions will help you be prepared for your first meeting with a divorce attorney and help smooth out the process along the way.