Checklist for Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Your divorce lawyer is someone who can answer your questions, provide legal guidance, and assist you in obtaining the best outcome possible when working your divorce case. The legal representation that you hire to help you through your case has the potential to impact how your case turns out. It is essential that you take great care when choosing the right divorce lawyer for you, as the decisions you make in your case may have repercussions for your whole family for a long time even after it is over. Consider this checklist for hiring a divorce lawyer to help you cover all of your bases throughout this process.
- Make a list of divorce lawyers. Seek referrals from friends, family, and anyone else you trust to give you a decent lead. Don't just go with the first divorce lawyer that someone refers to you, and don't be afraid to do some research of your own. Search the web for divorce lawyers in your area. Here is a link to where you can find information about divorce lawyers in each state. Take a look at the web pages of various divorce lawyers, and check to see what areas they specialise in their practice. Some lawyers practice various types of law while others focus specifically on family law or even something more specific such as collaborative practice. Once you have a handful of perspective divorce lawyers chosen, widdle the list down to the ones you are most interested in meeting. Try and cut the list down to at least two or three options.
- Contact the divorce lawyers for a consultation. Some divorce lawyers offer a free phone or in-office consultation; others offer a consultation at a reduced rate. Check each lawyer's website for more information, as their website should say what type of initial consultation deal they offer. If there is a fee involved, decide whether it is worth it for you. A small fee could be considered as an indication that they will take your consultation more seriously and give you an honest opinion about your case. Schedule these appointments close enough together so that you have time to evaluate each consultation adequately and compare your experience with each divorce lawyer.
- Prepare for your consultation with a list of questions. During your consultation, you may be asked to give a short description of what it is you need help with from your divorce lawyer. Be prepared with a brief overview of what you're dealing with, then ask your questions. You may have some questions already in mind, but here are a few you should not pass up the chance to ask your divorce lawyer during your consultation:
- Which kinds of divorce cases do you typically take on? Is litigation your specialty, or are you also trained in alternatives like collaborative divorce?
- From what you know about my case, how successful do you foresee my outcome to be as of this moment?
- What is your fee structure? What will it cost me to have a phone call or email correspondence with you? Do you charge for the time I spend in communication with your office personnel?
- Are you able to work with me on the fee? Do you offer a sliding scale? (If you find that a divorce lawyers fees are rather high, some divorce lawyers might work with you to reduce the cost. If they cannot, they may be able to refer you to another divorce lawyer with lower fees.)
- Will anyone else work on my case along with you? If so, to what degree? How can I get in touch with them?
- If we move forward in settling this case using an alternative method to litigation such as collaborative divorce, how will we go about it? How will appointments be made with the opposing party and their counsel? Do I have to find a mediator, or will you recommend one?
- How much time will you be able to devote to working my case? Are you actively working on many other divorce cases right now?
- How long will it take you to get back in touch with me if I call or write to you? How flexible are you with scheduling appointments?
- Do you have some references I can contact?
- Evaluate. Don't hire the first divorce lawyer you speak with; however, you should make your decision with haste after you have finished your initial consultations. Each divorce lawyer you spoke with might have other potential clients coming to them any moment, so keep this in mind while you take the time to evaluate your meetings. Consider how you felt in each office or during each phone consultation. How comfortable did each divorce lawyer make you feel? How did you feel about the answers you received to the questions you asked? Did each lawyer ask you enough questions to give you an adequate opinion about your case? Can you afford each of their fees, or is one more expensive than you expected? When you asked about which direction to take your case, how comfortable were you with each lawyer's response? In the end, the way you handle your case is your decision, but when you work with a divorce lawyer to makes you feel confident and at ease, you can trust them to drive your case in the right direction for you.
Hiring a divorce lawyer is an important process that you should handle with both attention and care. Having a strategy in place for how to find one before your start looking can help. Even more, knowing the right questions to ask during a consultation can help you to determine who exactly you should hire. There are many other checklists and suggestions online that will give you tips for hiring the best divorce lawyer for you, and reading over a few of these can help you to make sure you're not missing an important piece of advice for how to handle this process. In the end, the choice of who to hire is yours, so dedicate yourself towards making the best decision possible.