Going through a divorce can be a challenging experience. The process can be both personally taxing and procedurally confusing. This is why you want to have the best divorce attorney by your side during the process.
Finding the right attorney starts with asking the right questions. Before you hire representation, learn as much as you can about the attorney and the team who will be fighting for you.
Start with these nine questions to ask a divorce attorney before hiring them.
9 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney Before Hiring Them
#1) What experience do you have with similar divorce cases?
Start by getting an overview of the attorney’s experience with divorce cases, particularly those that are similar to yours. For example, if children are involved in your separation, ask the attorney to share past experience setting up custody agreements and child support.
#2) Will you be the attorney I work with?
In some situations, you may meet with an attorney for your initial meeting and then never work with them again. Many law offices have a few attorneys who act as the face of the firm but don’t actually work directly with clients. Once you hire the firm, you work with a variety of other attorneys and legal assistants rather than the attorney you initially met with.
#3) Who else will I be working with?
If the attorney says they will work directly with you, find out who else will be involved. Many attorneys have a team. Find out who the team is, how they will be involved, and what experience they have. Consider asking if you can meet them as well. If you are going to be working with others, you should also get to know them before making a decision.
#4) How often and how will we communicate?
Communication between you and your attorney will be key in navigating your divorce. Find out what the communication plan will look like. Get insights into:
- How often you will meet to discuss your case
- What is the best method for communicating (email, text, phone, etc.)
- How long it will typically take for the attorney to get back to you
- What to do in case of an emergency
#5) How will you charge me?
Attorneys charge fees in a variety of ways. Ask your potential divorce attorney how they will calculate costs for your case. They may charge:
- Flat rate fee that includes the full cost of your case.
- Hourly rate for the time they put into your case.
- Court fees which cover the costs set by the state and/or county.
- Office fees which cover the costs of office expenses such as postage, printing, and producing materials.
#6) What is the estimated cost of my case?
While an attorney may not be able to give you the exact cost of your divorce (unless they offer a flat rate fee), they should be able to offer an estimated cost of taking on your case. In addition to considering the costs listed above, the attorney should factor in the complexity of your case to determine a reasonable estimate for the overall expense. They should also include stipulations and situations that may increase or decrease the cost.
#7) How can I keep the costs of my divorce down?
While discussing costs, also ask what you can do to bring down the cost. Attorneys can advise you on best practices that will make your divorce move faster and cost less. For example, coming to a quick agreement with your spouse can bring down expenses (whereas a lot of back and forth can drive up costs). Find out how you can do your part to keep costs down.
#8) Do you require a retainer, and if so, how much is it?
A retainer is money that you pay up-front to secure the services of an attorney. Many attorneys require a set amount of money to get started on a case. Some even require a specific balance to stay in escrow as you go through the case. Find out if the attorney requires a retainer and how much must remain as a balance.
#9) What are the next steps?
Finally, find out what happens next if you choose to work with the attorney. You will likely need to fill out paperwork and sign a contract. Discuss what materials you need to send over and when you will meet for your first official meeting.
Get Answers to Questions for a Divorce Attorney
Now that you know what to ask a divorce attorney before you hire them, it’s time to get some answers. Schedule a consultation to meet with TJ Grimaldi and see if he is the right divorce attorney for you.
All consultations with TJ are 100% free. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.