Divorce is more common than you could imagine. The divorce rate in 2019 was 7.6 new divorces per 1,000 women. That’s more than 1.6 million new divorces during that year.
One reason why divorce statistics are so high is divorce attorneys. It’s becoming easier and more affordable to find a great divorce lawyer.
Yet you shouldn’t hire the first attorney you see in the phonebook or online. You need to meet with a few attorneys and ask them tough questions about their experience and personality.
How can you assess a lawyer’s skillset? How can you determine how much your lawyer costs? What should you do to see if you have a personal connection with your lawyer?
Answer these questions and you can hire a divorce lawyer for your case in no time. Here are seven questions you should ask them.
1. What Is Your Experience Like?
The best divorce lawyer will have extensive experience in the divorce legal process. Ask your potential lawyer exactly how much experience they have with handling divorces.
Then ask them questions about your type of divorce. If you want sole custody of your children, ask the lawyer about their experience fighting for sole custody. If you are splitting a large marital estate, inquire about how they have handled large estates in the past.
The lawyer should give anecdotes and examples of their work. After you’re done with your consultation, you should ask for a list of references and call former clients on the phone.
They should vouch for your attorney and the accuracy of what they talked to you about. If the lawyer lied about certain details, you should not hire them.
2. How Do You Assess My Case?
You should hand over documents to your lawyer related to your case and ask them what they think. Your lawyer should tell you what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They should let you know about anything in your documents that might be inaccurate or needs explaining.
Some lawyers may decline to take your case because the size of your estate is small. Others may not feel like they have the experience to handle your case. It is okay for a few lawyers to decline your case, and you should keep looking for legal help.
3. Do You Prefer Mediation or Going to Trial?
Lawyers have different philosophies about divorce cases. Some of them prefer to negotiate with the other side and reach terms that everyone is happy with.
This means you may get less money or custody than you are asking for. But it also means your case ends sooner.
Other lawyers prefer to take cases to trial. You may win your case, but it can take a while, and a trial can be emotionally exhausting.
Ask your lawyer directly what type of resolution they prefer. If you disagree with what they say, find another attorney.
4. Are You Familiar With the Local Court?
Your attorney should know the local family court well. They should be familiar with several judges at the court, knowing how they rule and what evidence they prefer.
Courthouses can be rather large, so your attorney should give you accurate instructions on where to go to attend sessions and pick up documents. They should also tell you about courtroom etiquette and give you instructions on how to answer questions from the judge. They should advise you on how to make a more effective appearance in court by dressing well and employing a good posture.
5. What Are Your Fees?
Some lawyers have their fees listed on their websites. Even if your lawyer has given you their fee, you should ask about how much their services will cost.
You should break down their expenses. Ask them how much their retainer fee and hourly billing rate are. You should also ask if they will pay for the services of associates or researchers, especially if you need a team of people on your case.
Ask your attorney if there will be extra fees if your case goes to court. It is common for divorce lawyers to tack on extra fees, but make sure they are not too high.
It is okay to spend some money on your court case. You want the best lawyer possible, and your lawyer needs time and money to develop arguments.
6. What Do You Need From Me?
Your lawyer may need additional documents from you, namely financial ones. If you opened new accounts after separating from your spouse, you need to give documents about them to your lawyer.
You should also ask them if they feel you need character witnesses. Friends, relatives, and work associates can vouch for your character and explain why you deserve custody. Your children can testify, but they should be teenagers at the youngest.
7. How Will You Keep in Touch With Me?
Your lawyer should take responsibility for developing your case. But they should not leave you alone or avoid talking to you. You should get updates about how things are going and they should ask you for your consent on their strategies.
It is okay if someone else in their law office reaches out to you. Yet you should be able to contact your lawyer through another means.
The divorce process can take as many as 18 months. Be patient if your lawyer does not return your calls right away. Talk to your lawyer about how you can bring the process to a faster conclusion.
Who Is the Best Divorce Lawyer?
Finding a good divorce lawyer requires asking the right questions. Start by asking your lawyer about their experience. Then inquire about how they analyze evidence and how they resolve divorce cases.
You should also ask about their knowledge of the local courts and how much they charge for their services. If your lawyer seems like a good fit, you can move on to asking about the next steps. Make sure you know how you can contact them.
You don’t have to go far for divorce assistance. Cook & Tolley, LLP serves the Athens area. Request a consultation today.
Cook & Tolley, LLP
304 E Washington
St Athens, GA 30601