When you are going through the process of dissolving your marriage, whether you’re the husband or the wife, it can be an emotional and stressful time. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re choosing a lawyer who’s equipped to handle your case and can give you good advice on what steps to take next. Before meeting with your potential family law attorney, here are ten questions that you should ask in order to ensure that they have the right qualifications to help you through this challenging time.
Have you handled similar cases before?
I understand that many family law attorneys have handled divorce cases before, but that does not necessarily mean they are familiar with my particular situation. Therefore, I will be sure to ask them about how many similar cases they have handled in detail.
This can help me better determine if they will be able to handle my case effectively. How much do you charge?: While it is necessary for family law lawyers to cover their costs while providing their services, I also want an attorney who is affordable and worth what they charge.
How much does it cost to hire you?
The most important question of all. An attorney’s hourly rate, or retainer, should reflect your case and the lawyer’s experience—it doesn’t hurt to ask for an estimate before agreeing on representation.
How will we pay you?
Most legal issues are covered by insurance, and your lawyer should be willing to make financial arrangements with you before he or she begins working on your case. It’s also important that you feel comfortable about how much you’ll be paying per hour and what other costs may be involved with your legal representation.
Will you provide us with references from past clients?
This is very important to consider before you hire someone. You want someone who has experience representing people in your specific type of case, and it’s good to know what clients are saying about their representation.
Your lawyer should have no problem providing you with references from other clients and should be eager to do so, as it can be an indicator of how happy their clients are with their representation.
Do we need an attorney at all?
First, it’s important to know if you really need an attorney. In many cases, especially when dealing with simple divorces or uncontested divorce cases, there’s no need for a family lawyer.
If you do decide that you need legal representation and you haven’t already consulted with a family law attorney about your case, then ask yourself if it’s worth spending thousands of dollars on legal fees.
Can you tell us more about your fee structure?
Before you can hire a family lawyer, you’ll likely have to pay for at least one consultation. If you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, ask lots of questions. Learn more about how much time your attorney will spend on your case and what services he or she can provide.
Can you explain what the process would be like?
Hiring an attorney is serious business, and it’s important to understand your options. Before you can choose how you want your case handled, you need to be confident that you know what all of those options are and how each one would affect your case. Be sure to ask questions during your initial consultation with an attorney so that you understand what happens next.
Can we get a copy of your retainer agreement?
Before you agree to sign on with an attorney, request that he or she email you his or her retainer agreement. This will give you an opportunity to review it, and make sure that your terms of service are reflected in there before agreeing.
Understanding what services you will be paying for will not only help you prepare financially, but it’ll also give you peace of mind in knowing that your expectations and wishes for your case have been taken into account by your attorney.
Are there any issues that would prohibit our hiring you as counsel?
For example, if your issue involves a minor child, your attorney may not be able to represent you due to conflict of interest issues. Sometimes it’s better just to start from scratch with another lawyer in that case.
You should always feel comfortable asking your attorney about any potential conflicts before making a final decision about hiring them.