Choosing an attorney is difficult and it’s hard to know what questions to ask a divorce lawyer. You want to find someone who will be your advocate, fight for you, understand what you’re dealing with.
You don’t want this person to be your therapist, but he/she will be privy to a lot of your personal details, so it needs to be someone with whom you feel comfortable. It’s also important to understand his/her capabilities as a divorce attorney. Many people claim to handle family law and divorce law, but it might be just one part of their practice. If you have a fairly straightforward divorce, that might be just fine, but if you believe your case to have a lot of complications, consider vetting a few different attorneys.
16 Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
Here are some questions to ask as you interview divorce lawyers:
- Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice? If only part, what percentage?
- How long have you practiced divorce or family law? Are you a “certified family law specialist?”
- Do you have trial experience in divorce cases, or do you usually settle out of court? What percentage or your cases go to trial?
- Will you handle the case personally, or will an associate in your office handle it?
- What is your strategy for my case? How long will it take to resolve my case?
- Would you consider yourself a litigator, negotiator, arbitrator, or mediator?
- How do you charge: hourly, retainer? Do you charge for the time I spend with other lawyers, with paralegals, and/or with secretaries?
- Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut down on the amount you will charge me?
- Are there other costs I need to know about? E.g. private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychologists. How will you charge me for them?
- Are the fees due at a particular time or billed monthly?
- Do you have a written contract or retainer agreement?
- How long do you take to return phone calls?
- (If you have children) What is your attitude about custody?
- Are you an active member of family law committees in your local, state, or national bar association? Are you a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers?
- Based on what you know about my case, how would you predict a judge would rule on it?
- What can you do to help me understand the tax effect of the decisions I will have to make?
If you have interviewed a divorce lawyer, what questions did you ask that you found helpful?