If you’re planning to file for a divorce, you’ll need counsel from a reputable family law attorney. But how do you find the right one? It would be a mistake to select the first one you find in an online or print directory. Since no two service providers are alike, and some are better than others, you’ll want tips to help you choose the right family law lawyer.
“Ask any attorney you’re considering using what percentage of their business is divorce cases, and how many they’ve handled in the past year,” says Rowdy Williams, a divorce attorney from Terre Haute. “You don’t want to hire someone who actually spends 90% of their time on another area of law.”
Specialization and expertise in divorce cases are essential. But once you find some candidates who appear to be suitable, you’ll want to ask these four questions before retaining the services of a divorce lawyer.
1. Do you specialize in divorce cases?
You need to find out how specialized the lawyer is. It’s not enough that the attorney specializes in family law. Ask if the lawyer you’re considering focuses primarily on divorce cases or if divorce cases are just one of multiple parts of their practice. It’s also essential to find out how long the family law lawyer has been practicing and how long they have focused on divorce cases. When considering how much is at stake in divorce, you’ll want the best of the best.
2. How much do you charge?
You’ll also want to ask how much you’ll be charged for services rendered. Also, find out what the retainer fee is. Along the same lines, ask about the lawyer’s hourly rate. If you’re working with a larger law firm, you might also work with paralegals or administrative staff. Ask how much, if anything, you’ll be charged to work with other professionals. A reputable divorce lawyer will be transparent about the fee structure so there are no surprises. The last thing you’ll want is to get a big, unwanted surprise when you get the bill at the end of the process.
3. How easy will it be for me to reach you?
When you hire a lawyer, you’ll want to know you can reach them without hassle. It can be challenging if you need to get in touch with your divorce lawyer but have a hard time doing so. Ask the lawyer how quickly your calls will be returned. Does the lawyer usually answer when you call or get back to you within a reasonable time frame? Lawyers are typically busy meeting with clients, representing clients in court, and doing other things. So, your lawyer won’t always be in the office. But can you expect a call back within one business day? Will one of the lawyer’s administrative staff get back to you? Will another lawyer follow up? If you have questions and need fast answers, you’ll want to know how easily you can get in touch with your lawyer. Proper communication is essential — and that includes timely return calls.
4. What’s your plan for my divorce case?
When you consult a lawyer, you’ll want to know their plan for your divorce case. Ask questions about how things will proceed, what the various stages of the process will look like, and how long the proceedings might take. It could take up to a year to finalize a divorce. Getting as much information as you can will help you stay in the loop and give you a realistic expectation as to how long the process could take.
You’ll want to ask these sorts of questions before selecting a divorce lawyer. Don’t just settle for the first one you come across. Ask questions, insist on good answers, and make an informed decision.
This content is made possible by Larry Alton.
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