If you have recently decided to file for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel overwhelmed by what comes next and how you should proceed. Of course, well-meaning friends and family are sure to give their opinions on what you should do, but every family’s circumstances are different. However, the one thing that remains the same despite the circumstances is that you need to find a divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
Hiring a divorce attorney can sometimes feel as daunting as the divorce itself, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what questions to ask can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we will provide you with ten of what we believe are the most important questions you should ask before hiring a divorce attorney.
#1 – How Many Divorce Cases Have You Handled?
When hiring a divorce attorney, you don’t want to hire someone who has never handled divorce cases before. The process is stressful enough. You don’t need to second-guess your attorney’s work.
Another important factor to consider is how many of those cases were settled out of court. The ideal situation is to be able to negotiate with your soon-to-be ex and settle out of court. It’s a good sign if you have an attorney who has frequently settled out of court.
#2 – Do You Practice Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce takes the “fighting” out of the divorce, making it easier for you and your spouse to reach an agreement, free from conflict. A collaborative divorce can help keep things peaceful during a divorce.
Keep in mind that, ideally, settling things out of court is easiest. However, if you are dealing with a combative spouse or if they tend to be difficult, going to trial may be the only way to go, as the courts will be able to keep them under control.
#3 – Do You Know My Spouse or Their Attorney?
Having an attorney who knows your spouse could lead to problems, despite how they feel about them. The same is true if the attorney knows your spouse’s attorney. No matter how professional your attorney is, there is a chance that their personal bias could affect their performance.
#4 – How Familiar Are You With the Judges?
You will want to hire an attorney familiar with the local judges. By knowing the judges’ reputation and how they rule on certain issues, your lawyer can use that information to create a strong strategy for your case.
#5 – How Do You Feel About Mediation and Negotiation?
If you are leaning more towards mediation and negotiation, but the lawyer you are interviewing is thinking of a court trial, or they are not well versed in negotiations, that will not be a good fit. Not seeing eye-to-eye with your divorce attorney can negatively impact the success of your case.
#6 – Will You Be Handling My Case, and Can I Meet Others Who Will Be Involved in My Case?
When you hire a divorce attorney, you do so because you agree with how they do things. You don’t want to find the “perfect” lawyer only to find that they are handing your case off to another attorney in the firm.
The more complicated your case, the more attention it will need, which means there is a good chance that many people will be working on your case. You are putting your future in their hands, so it’s essential to meet those people the same as you meet with an attorney before hiring them.
#7 – What is Your Caseload Like?
If your attorney has a heavy caseload, they may not have the time that they should, to devote to your case. Your divorce is important. You need to find an attorney who can give it the attention it deserves.
#8 – What is Your Preferred Method of Communication?
You will need to communicate with your attorney throughout the divorce process. So if something comes up and you need to speak with them before your next meeting, you will want to find out if they prefer phone or email. You will also want to know if they will bill you for these communications.
#9 – How Often Will I Be Updated on My Case?
Your divorce is just that, your divorce. You should be able to be as involved as you want in the proceedings and the strategic planning. Whether you are the kind of person who needs to be updated constantly or just want to be involved when it comes to the more significant issues, you must find an attorney willing to keep you in the loop as much as you want.
#10 – What Costs Will Be Associated With My Case?
It is essential to make sure a divorce attorney’s costs will fit within your budget before signing a contract with them. Besides the retainer fee, here are some other costs you should ask about:
- What is their hourly rate?
- Are there additional fees if other associates work on your case?
- Are there extra fees if my case goes to court?
- Is there a contract specifying the fees?
- Will I get an itemized billing statement?
- Will you keep me updated on how my retainer fee is being used?
- What is the cost of calls and letters to me or my spouse’s attorney?
- Are there any other costs I haven’t asked about?
Get the Best Legal Counsel Possible With Hunter Fowler
While a divorce can be a trying time, it can be a relief to know that you have someone on your side fighting to defend your interests. Ensuring that you have found an attorney that you are comfortable with and that you can trust is vital.
Hunter Fowler is well versed in the necessary steps and the timeline of divorce cases in the Murfreesboro area. Hunter has provided legal services to many clients in your situation, and he will work through every detail with you to ensure that the outcome is what you want for yourself and your family.
Contact Attorney Hunter Fowler today if you’re ready to work with an attorney who will listen.