Facing the end of a marriage is never easy. It’s a time of uncertainty and intense emotions. While you’re grieving the failure of your relationship, you also have to deal with the practicalities of divorce. And one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make is selecting the right lawyer.
Choosing a divorce expert needs meticulous research and careful consideration. It’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, these family law professionals will be your advocate and guide throughout the process. In other words, they’ll play a pivotal role in the success of your case.
So, how do you know you’re hiring the right one for the job? Here are some key questions to ask a divorce lawyer during your initial consultation:
1. How Long Have You Been Practicing Family Law?
As you might already know, divorce law is a specialty unto itself. It’s different from other areas of law, such as criminal or personal injury cases. That means you need to hire an attorney who’s well-versed in the ins and outs of this complex field. And the best way to gauge their expertise is by finding out how long they’ve been practicing family law.
Ideally, you want to work with someone who has several years of experience. The rule of thumb is the longer they’ve been in practice, the better. That means they have extensive knowledge of the primary areas of divorce, such as the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
- Spousal support or alimony
Of course, it doesn’t mean that a newer attorney is not a competent one. They may have other qualities that make them a better fit for your case. They might not have the same depth of experience, but they can offer a fresh perspective.
You may find competent and well-qualified divorce attorneys who are relatively new to this field. That means they may just have a few years in service but made a name for themselves early on.
2. What Is Your Success Rate in Divorce Cases?
Once you’ve established that the lawyer has comprehensive experience under their belt, it’s time to check their success rate. This approach will give you a better idea of how they perform in court. To sum it up, you want to know their win-loss record—an excellent indicator of their competence and skills.
You can ask them directly about their track record in divorce cases. If they’re confident in their abilities, they won’t hesitate to provide you with this information. A good attorney will likely give you a detailed answer. Alternatively, you may also read online reviews and testimonials from their previous clients. Check if the feedback is genuine and aligns with what the lawyer claims.
Doing your due diligence will help you paint a more accurate picture of what to expect. Such expectations include the quality of their services, work ethic, and, more importantly, whether they’re likely to win your case.
3. What Is Your Strategy For My Case?
An effective strategy is a key to success in any legal battle. The same goes for divorce cases. You want to know what course of action your lawyer plans to take. You can decide whether you’re on the same page and have the same goals.
Preferably, your lawyer should be able to provide a brief overview of their proposed strategy during your initial consultation. They should be able to explain the steps they’ll take to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Such divorce tactics may include:
- Collaborative divorce
- Settlement negotiation
These are some of the divorce planning basics. Of course, your attorney’s approach will depend on the unique circumstances of your divorce. They might not be able to give you a definite answer straight away. After all, these law experts need time to assess your case and get all the facts before formulating an action plan. Nevertheless, they should at least be able to give you a general idea of how they intend to proceed.
4. Do You Offer Free Consultation?
Most family lawyers offer a free initial consultation. It’s their way of getting to know you and your case better. They’ll try to understand the critical issues at hand during this phase. They’ll listen to your story and give you an honest assessment of your legal options without asking for anything in return—at least, not yet.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity. After all, it costs you nothing but a bit of your time. You can use this chance to get a feel for the lawyer’s personality and how they handle clients. If everything goes well, you can proceed to the next step and discuss the possibility of working together.
5. How Much Do You Charge?
Service cost is probably one of the first things on your mind when looking for a divorce lawyer. Everybody wants to get the best legal services possible, but not everybody is willing to spend a fortune to get them. That’s perfectly understandable.
Some lawyers charge hourly, while others charge a flat rate or on a contingency basis. In general, hourly rates are higher but offer more flexibility. Meanwhile, a flat rate is a set amount that covers the lawyer’s full services, regardless of how long it takes to resolve your case. On the other hand, a contingency fee is only paid if the lawyer wins your case.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your budget and preferences. Discuss your options with the lawyer and decide on a rate that works for both of you. It’s best to note that the cheapest option might not always be the best, and vice versa. The key is to find an attorney whose services fit both your needs and your budget.
It’s no secret that choosing the best divorce lawyer isn’t an easy feat. However, if you know the right questions to ask, it’ll be easier to narrow down your options and find the perfect legal partner.