Before you embark on a relationship with a divorce lawyer, know what you are getting into. Here are the best questions to ask a divorce lawyer.
Divorce statistics in the US are fairly shocking.
Between 40% and 50% of marriages end in divorce in this country.
As horrible as it sounds, that means any divorce has almost a 50% chance of being cut short.
That all means good business for divorce lawyers. However, not all lawyers were created equal. As with every profession, some lawyers are better than others. It’s your responsibility to choose the one that’s best for you.
How can you tell from the initial meeting though? A lawyer might seem great on paper, with all the right credentials and a winning smile, but be awful in practice. Asking the right questions will give you some idea of what to expect.
Keep reading to learn 8 questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them.
8 Essential Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
Going through a divorce is rarely a fun experience. You want to make sure your lawyer will help the process run smoothly. Here is a selection of questions that should enable you to choose the right one.
1. How Long Have You Practiced Law?
Practice usually makes perfect.
The longer someone has been in law, the better. You want to make sure that your prospective lawyer has been around the block a few times. It means they’ve probably already seen a situation like yours a hundred times. They’ve been there, done it and won the case on multiple occasions already.
That’s all good news for you and your particular case.
You might not have to even ask the question. Many lawyers make a point of advertising how many years they’ve been in operation. They recognize it as a selling point.
2. Do You Handle Cases from Other Types of Law?
Some lawyers practice family and divorce law exclusively.
Others are all-rounders. They handle other cases too, with family and divorce law as just one string to their bow. Now, just because this lawyer hasn’t honed in on the type of law you need doesn’t mean they’ll do a bad job.
However, a good rule of thumb is to work with a specialist. It’s a bit like why you want to work with a lawyer with years of experience. It’s just more likely that they know what they’re doing. They’re specifically trained to handle cases like yours. That’s always a positive.
3. Do You Have Experience Negotiating in Relevant Issues?
Every divorce is different.
That said, there will be common elements that come up time and time again. Issues of child support, spousal support, financial settlements and so on will be recurring bones of contention. A lawyer with any level of experience should have come across most of the most common issues.
But it’s a good idea to ask about your specific case. Have they dealt with similar situations in the past? What was the outcome? Based on their past experience, what would they expect to happen this time around?
Experience (of the successful kind) with your predicament is a major bonus to look out for.
4. How Will You Charge Me?
The cost of hiring a lawyer is probably high on your list of concerns.
Be sure to ask about their billing structure. There are multiple levels to think about. Retainer fees, hourly rates, charges for letters and phone calls…you’ll be paying for it all. Ask upfront about how they charge. That way you’ll be able to work out if you can afford the coming costs.
You could even inquire about potential fee caps. These will stop you from spending excessive amounts. That said, you might find it hard to arrange a cap. After all, divorces vary by case and there’s no predicting how much work it will take you and your lawyer.
5. How Much Should I Expect to Pay in Total?
Feel free to ask this question.
However, don’t expect a solid answer.
We just mentioned how hard it is to know the total cost of hiring a lawyer. It depends on all manner of factors. A good, trustworthy lawyer is likely to tell you as much.
Be wary when someone offers you a solid figure that seems too good to be true. They’re more likely trying to make a sale than give you a realistic expectation.
6. How Can I Contact You Throughout the Process?
Divorces can be difficult.
You can feel lonely and out of your depth. Having the support of a professional is reassuring. You’ll want to know that they’re contactable when you need them. Check how they prefer to communicate (phone, email, text…).
Ask about their hours of work too. Can you contact them out of hours and expect a response in case of an emergency?
7. How Much Time Will You Have Available for My Case?
Lawyers tend to be busy people.
It’s incredibly unlikely that they’re working on your case only. Instead, they’ll have a significant workload of multiple cases to manage simultaneously. If that caseload is too high, then the amount of time they have for yours will suffer.
Ask them to be frank about how much they have on already. If you expect to need a significant amount of support and are willing to pay for it, it may be better to find a lawyer with adequate time and resource on their hands.
Similarly, ask if they’ll have other people working on the case with them. Your hard-earned fees may well be paying associates of the lawyer. Ask about the division of labor and how it’ll impact the amount you spend.
8. What Can I Expect from the Divorce Proceedings?
First-time divorces are full of twists, turns, and surprises.
After all, you’ve never done it before and don’t know what to expect. This is a good chance to get an initial idea of what’s to come.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: 8 questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them.
Divorces are now immensely common in the US. The rise in divorce has been good news for divorce lawyers! Not all lawyers are as good as they claim to be. Remember, just because divorces are common, doesn’t make them easy to handle. It’s essential to find a lawyer who will be a good fit for you and your needs.
Hopefully, the questions above will help you do just that.
Are you looking for a divorce lawyer in San Antonio? Be sure to contact us today.