Looking for divorce attorneys and wondering what types of questions you should ask before hiring someone?
If you are planning on hiring a divorce lawyer but are worried about the cost, consider collaborative divorce. In terms of monetary impact, the cost of collaborative divorce can be significantly lower than traditional litigation. Because every case is unique, the exact cost of a collaborative divorce can vary from couple to couple.
1. Does your law firm routinely handle divorce matters?
Make sure the lawyer you choose is experienced in family law, including divorce. Ask: When did you start practicing family law? How many divorce cases have you handled? Are you a certified specialist?
2. What is your fee structure?
Do you require a retainer/deposit? What is your hourly rate? Will you have other staff members work on my case? If so, what is their hourly rate? How do you bill for the time you spend on the case? Does time spent answering my questions count as billable time? How will you communicate with me about the fees? Will there be other costs involved in my case?
Getting a divorce can be expensive so make sure you know what you are being billed for.
3. How long will my divorce take?
What is your law firm’s strategy for my divorce case? What can we do to move things forward smoothly? How long will my divorce take? What if the other spouse tries to drag things out? According to Nolo, “Cases that went to trial on any issue took an average of 17.6 months to resolve, while the readers who settled their issues were able to resolve their cases in nine months.”
4. What is the divorce process in my State?
There are different divorce procedures you and your lawyer will have to follow depending on what state you live in and the complexity of your case. Getting a divorce requires a major time commitment, so knowing the process and procedures beforehand can help you be more prepared.
5. How Long is Your Average Response Time?
How long does it usually take for your firm to return emails and phone calls? What is the best way to contact you and your staff about day-to-day questions? How can I contact you during an emergency?
6. Will I pay (or receive) spousal maintenance/alimony?
How will you help to determine whether I will owe (or receive) spousal maintenance payments? When would the payments start? How much will I owe (receive)? How long will I pay (receive) the support?
Depending on how long you were married, how much money each of you earns, and other factors, spousal maintenance may be an issue to address in your case.
7. Are there any other attorneys that will be working on my divorce case?
Under what circumstances will other attorneys work on my case? How experienced are they? Am I able to meet with them as well?
You should have the opportunity to “meet and greet” anyone who you will be working with during the course of your case.
8. Are there any out-of-court or peaceful divorce options?
Not everyone wants to battle it out in court. Make sure to ask your lawyer about peaceful divorce options available to you: If my spouse and I agree to the terms of our divorce, or if we think we can reach agreements with some help, what type of divorce would work best for us?
Mediation and collaborative divorce are out-of-court options that can help you and your spouse to end your relationship amicably and in a way that allows you to focus less on the problems in your marriage and more on your family’s future.
9. How can I save money on my divorce?
What can I do to make the process more efficient? Is there any way to lower the cost of my divorce? What are the least expensive divorce options?
There are many ways you can assist with lowering the cost of your divorce. An article titled “10 Ways to Save Money in Your Divorce” by Lawton & Gates, L.C. states, “Fill out the first draft of your financial disclosure statement and gather supporting documents such as: bank statements, credit card balances, mortgage statement, retirement account balances, and past tax returns. This will limit the information gathering that has to be done by your attorney through discovery.”
- Nolo. “Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Attorney.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 16 Sept. 2016, www.divorcenet.com/states/california/top_10_questions
- J.D., Jeff Franco. “Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer During the Initial Consultation.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, info.legalzoom.com/questions-ask-divorce-lawyer-during-initial-consultation-20651.html.
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If you, or someone you know, is considering ending the marriage, contact the professionals at Best Legal Choices to discuss your options, including a collaborative divorce which focuses on reducing stress and helping resolve your divorce out of court.
Collaborative Divorce Is a Peaceful Divorce Option
Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. The legal, financial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.
OUR PROFESSIONALS CAN HELP WITH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS IN ARIZONA!
The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional at Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.