Top 10 Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
If you’re going through a divorce and need an attorney, keep in mind that you don’t have to select the first one you come across. One of the most essential divorce-related decisions you’ll make is selecting the best lawyer to represent you.
Even if a friend or another lawyer has recommended a family law attorney, you should still do your research; examine the attorney’s credentials and make sure he or she has the expertise to handle your case.
There are many lawyers, and many of them advertise themselves as “family law” or “divorce” attorneys. Family law, on the other hand, is a specialization involving complicated legal principles that take time and experience to grasp. There are even more subspecialties within the field of family law, like child custody law, international custody law, guardianship, and a branch of the law regarding Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), which are special orders that must be used to distribute certain types of retirement benefits.
Divorce also has a number of financial implications, including:
- standards for financial disclosure between spouses
- Before and during the divorce, restraining orders ban spouses from changing beneficiary designations or transferring assets.
- alimony is a phrase that refers to a (how to calculate income available for alimony and the special factors courts consider when determining setting payments)
- support for children (how to calculate child support in your state)
- Property and assets, such as real estate, collectibles, venture capital interests, stock option portfolios, goodwill, or other company interests, are divided, and
- the distribution of pension benefits
There is a large body of law that applies to these concerns (which varies from state to state). The government and/or the courts constantly alter or overturn these laws, so you’ll need to choose an attorney who is knowledgeable with the latest regulations and cases that pertain to your divorce.
You might feel comfortable selecting a less experienced family law attorney if you have a basic case with few financial difficulties and no children. If you’re going through a disputed divorce with significant assets, extensive financial concerns, or a complex custody fight, you should choose a family law attorney that specializes in family law and has experience with the issues you’re dealing with. See our article, Hiring a Divorce Lawyer, for advice on how to hire a divorce lawyer to handle part or all of your divorce case.
Ten Things to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
We’ve put up a list of questions you might want to ask a family law attorney during your initial consultation. These may assist you in determining whether or not this lawyer is appropriate for your case.
1. Do you specialize in divorces or do you handle them as part of your general practice? How long have you been working in the field of family law? How many cases have you handled involving family law? Is it true that you’re a “qualified family law specialist”?
2. What is your plan for dealing with my case? How long will it take for my case to be resolved?
3. How long does it take you to respond calls? In the event of an emergency, how can I contact you? What do you consider an emergency situation?
4. Will you be working on my case with anyone else in your office? What kind of background do they have? Is it possible for me to meet them?
5. What method will you use to bill me? How much do you charge per hour? Do you bill for the time I spend interacting with other lawyers, paralegals, and/or secretaries? If so, what is the rate of increase? What is the amount of your retainer up front?
6. What other costs (besides your own) do you plan to incur (for example, for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychiatrists), and how will you bill me for them?
7. What do you think the total cost of this divorce will be? (Don’t be surprised if most divorce attorneys refuse to answer this question because the cost of the divorce is heavily influenced by the level of contention in your case.) The way attorneys respond to this question, on the other hand, may assist you assess them. An honest attorney will frequently respond that estimating fees in advance is tough. If an attorney offers you a very low fee, it’s possible that they’re just attempting to gain your business).
8. Do you allow me to bargain with my spouse directly? How can I keep my divorce costs down? Is there anything I can do on my own to reduce the amount you’ll charge me?
9. How do you think a judge would rule in my case, based on what you know about it?
10. What can you do to assist me in better understanding the tax implications of the decisions I’ll need to make?
Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?
As proven legal counsel in family court, we have a network of Arizona attorneys, expert witnesses, mediators, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyers, divorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and more.
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.