Important Questions to Discuss With Your Family Law Attorney

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  • Author Glenn Doyle
  • Published December 24, 2019
  • Word count 769

When you first hire a divorce lawyer, you’ll be faced with a first-time consultation during which you should be given a broad overview of the state and local laws as they pertain to divorce. During this consultation, you’ll also have the opportunity to discuss your own unique case and highlight your goals and intentions.

It is important that any reputable divorce attorney takes the time to listen and get to know their client and the unique circumstances of their divorce case. Have this discussion will lay some important foundations for the case moving forward. Doing this early on ensures that both the attorney and client are on the same page in terms of priorities and that the attorney has an opportunity to explain any fundamental misconceptions that the client might have.

Once some background and foundations have been established, the attorney should then explain how the law applies to the particular case at hand. Any particular options and action items can then be highlighted clearly so the client has all the information necessary to make informed decisions.

The purpose of an initial consultation is not to give hard legal advice or to predict the odds and outcomes of a particular case but for the client and attorney to get to know the background of a case. Therefore, it is also important that the client comes in prepared to ask his or her attorney some questions of their own. Here are some important questions anyone entering a divorce should ask their attorney at their first consultation:

Questions to Ask

  1. How much experience do you have in the field of Family Law?

Hiring an experienced attorney is important in any field of law, and divorce is no exception. Knowing the nuances of the law in different localities and having familiarity with judges and other lawyers in the area are important factors that come only through experience.

Practicing law and learning the law are very different things. There is significant trial and error involved in becoming an effective attorney, so years in the business are an important factor to consider. There are some pros to hiring a less experienced attorney, including energy and price (which is typically lower for those early in their career), so you should necessarily disqualify a potential attorney based on their years of experience. There is just a risk factor that must be considered when choosing that option.

  1. How many of your cases have gone to trial?

Divorce cases can either be settled or taken to trial. These two outcomes are not the same, and it is important to understand the difference. Cases are settled out of court more often than not. While you should look for an attorney who is not afraid to take a case to trial, eagerness to do so is a sign of an attorney who is looking to rack up legal fees. The best attorneys should be able to settle a majority of their cases outside of court.

  1. How much should I expect my case to cost?

An attorney cannot provide an exact estimate at the onset of a case. There a many factors involved and different choices and developments throughout the process can make the cost difficult to predict. Each case is unique, and clients who require more guidance throughout the process or who have larger estates at stake may be required to pay larger sums to ensure a positive outcome.

All things considered, an experienced attorney should be able to walk you through a number of costs that you should expect and developments that you should be prepared for along the way. If the low end cost estimate exceeds what you are willing to pay, don’t be afraid to discuss other payment options. For example, it may be wise to avoid going to trial at all costs, due to the expenses that come with a contested divorce case.

  1. What can you do now to prepare for your case?

Before the end of your initial consultation, be sure to discuss any action items you can take with you. What should your next steps be to ensure the best possible outcome to your case? Don’t forget to consider factors such as alimony, child support, shared bank accounts and even restraining orders. It is important that you leave nothing on the table, as simple oversights such as failing to pay the required amount of child support could result in incurring more expenses on your part. Making the wrong moves early on could even result in you being required to pay your spouse’s legal fees, which does not come cheap.

The time you spend consulting with your divorce attorney is crucial. Don’t be afraid to look online for other questions to ask your divorce lawyer, as it is always preferable to be overprepared.

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