Divorce Attorney Consultation Questions

By Beverly Bird

With a few exceptions, most divorce lawyers can adequately get the job done. The vast majority of divorces never go to trial; spouses generally come to terms regarding a settlement with the help of their attorneys. A lawyer’s courtroom savvy and expertise may not be as important as her ability to negotiate and to communicate with you. Before you consult with anyone, make sure she specializes in family law. Then ask questions to determine whether she’s right for you and your particular case.

With a few exceptions, most divorce lawyers can adequately get the job done. The vast majority of divorces never go to trial; spouses generally come to terms regarding a settlement with the help of their attorneys. A lawyer’s courtroom savvy and expertise may not be as important as her ability to negotiate and to communicate with you. Before you consult with anyone, make sure she specializes in family law. Then ask questions to determine whether she’s right for you and your particular case.

What Kind of Cases Do You Mostly Litigate?

Divorces come in all shapes and sizes. Some are battles over the family business and others focus almost entirely on custody matters. If your divorce is one of the latter and the attorney you’re consulting with tells you her favorite cases involve high-stakes financial issues, you might want to think twice about retaining her. Make sure your greatest concern is a challenge the attorney enjoys working with. If she prefers money cases and you need to prove that your child’s other parent is unfit, she might not have the necessary compassion for your situation.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

When I Call Your Firm, Who Will I Most Often Speak With?

Your divorce process is probably going to be an emotional rollercoaster and you might find yourself reaching out to your attorney on almost a daily basis. You'll have questions, problems and even emergencies. In all likelihood, you will not get through to your lawyer all or even most of the time. That’s OK; in most cases, her paralegal or associate can put out a fire for you just as well. If they can’t, they can get in touch with the attorney to find out how she wants to handle the situation. You problems will usually be resolved much more quickly than if you have to wait for a return call from your lawyer between appointments. If this bothers you and if you think you’ll feel neglected if you can’t speak with your attorney regularly, ask about her procedure for taking clients' calls.

What Happens When My Retainer Fee Runs Out?

Divorce lawyers usually charge a retainer fee up-front and they bill their time against it, as well as that of their paralegals and associates. An experienced attorney will have a good idea of how much time her firm is going to have to invest in your divorce. She’ll set a retainer fee to adequately cover that time. However, she has no way of anticipating emergencies, such as if your spouse begins liquidating your investments and hiding the money. These issues might require an unplanned court appearance and a lot of her time to straighten out. Find out what her policy is when and if your retainer fee is exhausted. Some attorneys require you to put down another retainer. If you’re only midway through your divorce and you’re out of cash, this could be a big problem. Find out how she handles these situations at the beginning so you can be prepared and have a plan in place to cover extra fees.

How Many of Your Cases Go to Trial?

If the attorney you’re consulting with tells you that a high percentage of her cases are resolved in a courtroom, that could be a bad omen. It might mean she’s not able to successfully negotiate settlements on a regular basis, and negotiations are a major part of the divorce process. If you go to trial, it’s going to cost you a lot more money and it will add more stress to an already stressful situation. Unless you’ve got nerves of steel and deep pockets, you might be better off bypassing the aggressive “shark” and retaining someone with a reputation for orchestrating fair and equitable settlements.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Is the Process After I Pay My Divorce Lawyer the Retainer Fee?

References

Related articles

The Average Cost of Divorce in Missouri

Divorces don't just happen to people who can afford them. Attorneys' fees and court costs in Missouri are on par with other jurisdictions, so a divorce in the state can cost you a lot. However, the state offers help for those with limited incomes, and if you and your spouse are in agreement, a divorce will cost you much less.

Legal Fees & Wills

Among the many concerns attendant to the preparation of your will and the eventual administration of your estate is the issue of legal fees. As is the case with any other type of legal service, attorney fees in connection with matters of wills and estates depend upon a variety of factors.

What Can One Do if a Will Is Missing & the Lawyer Who Drafted the Will Isn't Practicing?

If your loved one left his last will and testament with his attorney for safekeeping, the attorney can’t toss the will into a trash bin when he decides to retire or close his office. Not only do the laws in most states prohibit this, lawyers have an ethical responsibility to safeguard their clients’ documents. However, this might not do you much good if you can’t find the attorney to ask where he placed the will. You'll have to do a bit of detective work instead.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Find Professional Advisors During a Divorce

Divorce is often stressful and confusing -- and few people are in a position to make all legal, financial and medical ...

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Georgia?

No matter where you live, the money you must spend to get divorced depends a great deal on what’s at stake. If ...

What Happens If My Lawyer Quits in a Divorce Fight?

When you sign a retainer agreement with your divorce attorney, you enter into a business relationship with him for the ...

Can You Rush a Divorce in Any Way?

Some people are as eager to get their divorces over with as they were to get married in the first place. If you're one ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED