Ending a marriage isn’t as simple as just leaving another person. Whether you decided to have a collaborative divorce, or you need to file a restraining order from your partner, you will need a lawyer. Nearly every financial aspect of your life from your taxes to your kids is affected. It’s best to always have quality care and legal expertise on your side.
Knowing what questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them will give you a better idea of what you should expect legally and financially. Here are 10 questions to ask a divorce lawyer before hiring them.
How do divorces normally work?
Chances are, you’ve never been divorced before. It’s best to clarify what happens during divorce proceedings so you know what to expect.
Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice?
Ask your lawyer about their experience in family law, and if they’ve specifically handled divorces or handle other areas too such as custody. Your lawyer doesn’t have to handle divorces solely. Your lawyer’s qualifications need to cater to everything involved in your case. Think of all aspects of your divorce, ask yourself:
- Do you have kids?
- Do you own property together?
- Do you own a business?
- Do you have shared debt?
Think of everything your divorce might entail, and what key points your lawyer will need to focus on.
Do you have a legal strategy for my case, and how long will it take to resolve the divorce?
You may not be able to afford or have the time to go to court. Most lawyers will opt that you settle out-of-court if the case permits it. However, some cases may be more extensive than that, especially if you have an abusive ex or have children together.
How will communication work between us? What do you charge for, and how long will it take for you to respond?
Depending on your lawyer, questions, emails, and phone calls are charged. You should have a lot of trust with your lawyer, and should have open communication about everything happening with your divorce.
How will you charge me? What do you estimate my case will cost?
It’s hard to say for sure how much a case will really be, as legal battles can get messy. The best way to handle anything unexpected is to prepare for anything. Budget more than what you think you’ll need for your legal fees and keep track of everything you’re being charged for. Ask your lawyer if:
- They charge hourly or by a fixed fee
- Any and all calls, emails, or paralegals meetings are charged, and how much each costs.
- They have multiple partners working on your team, and how much they charge.
- You need a retainer after hiring and how much that will cost.
- They have different rates for in-court and out-of-court.
Make sure to get an itemized list of all legal expenses, so you know where all your costs are coming from.
Is there anything I can do to keep my costs down?
Even if you can’t afford a divorce lawyer, speaking with a lawyer can help you understand what your case needs. You do have the option to represent yourself, but have your attorney help with a limited scope retainer or unbundled services.
What other costs will be involved in my case and how will they be charged?
There’s lots of third-party investigators and services your lawyer might recommend such as:
- Private investigators
- Forensic accountants
- Doctors or nurses
This is especially important if you have a complicated case with an abusive or irresponsible partner.
Can I speak or negotiate directly with my ex? What should/shouldn’t I disclose to them.
This is imperative to your case’s confidentiality. Although you might think there’s a lot you could discuss outside the court with your ex, it could actually further complicate your case. This just leads to more stress and even more money spent.
What should I expect to see in regards to alimony or child support?
Every state has different rulings on alimony and child support. Whether you’re paying or receiving the support, your lawyer will let you know what to expect.
A court will access several factors when determining support costs such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Earnings of each spouse
- All income and employment of the spouses
- Different party contributions to the marriage
- Tax implications and changes
- Property and liquid assets
- Parental responsibility
Based on everything I’ve told you about my case, how do you predict it will go?
Your lawyer can’t see into the future, but if they’re experienced and qualified, they can give you an estimated guess. Even if what your lawyer has to say isn’t what you were hoping for, you can always ask how you can prevent or improve your situation.
Need help finding a divorce lawyer near you? Call My Case Helper and we can set you up with a qualified divorce lawyer who can answer all your questions.