Top 5 Questions You Need to Ask a Divorce Attorney Before Hiring Them
Going through a divorce is emotionally and mentally draining for many reasons. What you need during this time is support, encouragement and a professional in your corner. That's why choosing the right divorce attorney is such an important step to take. But how can you feel confident that you’ve found a competent and knowledgeable divorce lawyer who will look out for your interests? Here are the top five questions to ask your potential divorce attorney.
What Areas of Family Law Does Your Firm Focus On?
Family law, including the practice of divorce law, is highly specialized and to ensure your best interests are represented, the attorneys you interview should be able to state that their areas of focus include:
- Family Law
- Divorce Law
- Divorce Mediation
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Support Issues
- Division of Property
Because of the breadth of issues that are covered during a divorce proceeding, it is important that the firm has expertise across a number of areas.
Firms possessing relevant skill sets can speed up case resolution which can reduce billable hours that may otherwise have been logged by those with less expertise or experience. These details matter and should heavily factor into your decision when choosing among many experienced divorce lawyers.
Have You Worked on Child Custody Cases in the Past?
Anyone dealing with child custody issues as part of their divorce proceeding must choose lawyers who are familiar with the complexities of such cases. Child custody cases are a bit more common than you might expect. In fact, data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that there are around 13.7 million single parents in the United States. Though it’s a common element in divorce or separation proceedings, not all attorneys who handle divorces have expertise with child custody cases. Moving forward with an inexperienced divorce attorney is highly risky, and could possibly make all the difference in the outcome of your case. If you have children who are minors, make sure you choose an attorney who has familiarity and experience with child custody cases.
How Long Will the Entire Divorce Process Last in Most Cases?
Many factors play into the length of a divorce proceeding. Everything from the complexity of the marital estate, issues related to child custody and visitation, agreement or disagreements related to child support and alimony, splitting of personal and real property assets and more can impact how long the divorce process takes. The lawyers you interview should be able to give you general guidelines based on the information you provide them about your individual situation.
What Kinds of Expenses Should I Expect?
Cost is another factor you should discuss upfront. During your initial consultation with your attorney, he or she will outline a fee structure and a range of costs you can expect. This can include how much of a fee advance you’ll need to pay, the hourly rate of the firm employees who will comprise your team (attorney, associates and paralegals) and other billable costs. After a case review and cost analysis, they can then outline an estimated price range. Do not be apprehensive about clarifying service costs, since it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer that fits your financial situation.
How Will We Communicate With One Another Throughout the Case?
Communication is key. You may need to get in touch with your lawyer on short notice in a divorce case. Make sure that your lawyer offers multiple viable avenues for communication, including methods for sharing documents, email communications and identifying staff or paralegals at the law firm who you can contact with urgent questions.
At Hite Kaminsky Family Law and Mediation, PLLC, our team of family law attorneys is here to help you as you go through the process of negotiating a divorce settlement, divorce mediation, preparing for a divorce and/or custody trial, child support, post-divorce enforcement and more. Please don't hesitate to reach out and get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns.