When hiring a divorce attorney, you will want to have a consultation with the lawyers you are considering. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect with your case. Of course, you also need to be sure you are working with the right divorce lawyers for the job. A good way to help ensure this is by asking the right questions during your consultation.
Below are some of the questions you will want to ask, along with the reasoning behind asking them.
How Will You Communicate?
If you decide to choose them as your attorney, how and when are they going to communicate with you? Different attorneys may utilize different methods. Some may prefer email and others phone calls. It may be a combination of both. You will want to make sure that you understand how often the attorneys will communicate and when you can expect communication.
Also, you need to have an understanding of how the attorney will bill you for different types of communication. If you call them or send them an email with questions, when does the charge start? Often, attorneys will bill for each call. They will likely bill for answering certain types of questions in emails, as well.
To help keep the costs down, learn how they bill and make sure you put as many questions into each email/call as possible. This can help to reduce the number of contacts you make.
What Are the Costs?
Along the same lines, you want to know how much it will cost, not just when you will be billed for different services. Different attorneys will, of course, have different rates. Understand how much different services cost and how much will be expected of you. Also, learn more about when the bills are due. Try to get an idea of how much the entire process will cost.
Keep in mind that there are some things you can do that can keep the costs down. For example, you could lower the costs if you do certain things yourself or if you hire a paralegal. They can handle a lot of the paperwork, for example, which is more affordable than hiring an attorney.
Who Will Work on the Case?
One of the other questions to ask is who is going to be working on your case. Although it might seem obvious to you that the attorney you have the consultation with will be the one who takes your case, that doesn’t always happen.
When you have the consultation, the attorney wants to get a better sense of the scope of your case. Sometimes, they will be the right divorce lawyer for the job. Other times, they might feel that one of their associates at the firm would be a better fit.
Try to get a sense of who will be handling the different aspects of your case when you are hiring an attorney. You want to know who your attorney will be before you choose to work with a firm.
What Can the Attorney Tell You About Cases Like Yours?
Ideally, you are going to be working with an attorney who is experienced in divorce cases that are similar to yours. If you are part of a wealthy couple, and you feel that your divorce is going to be messy, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to find a lawyer that has worked on divorces like yours?
Of course, even similar cases are going to end up being different from one another in a lot of ways. Still, you can talk with the attorney during the consultation about what they feel may happen with your case. Their experience should at least give you an idea of what you could expect with your case.
Will I Get/Have to Pay Spousal Support?
Common questions you might have during a divorce are whether you are going to be able to get spousal support, or if you are going to have to pay spousal support. In Arizona, this type of support is relatively rare. Even in cases where it is granted, it is often only on a temporary basis.
If you feel you deserve support, or if you are worried that you will have to pay support, you can talk with your attorney. They can give you an idea of where you stand in your case.
How Long Will the Divorce Take?
There’s no easy answer to this question, as all divorces are different. Countless factors could change how long it may take a divorce to play out. However, based on those factors, attorneys should be able to give you at least a rough idea of how long typical divorces like yours will take. You will find that even if you and your spouse are on the same page, it will take at least 60 days to get a divorce. This is because there is a state-mandated cooling-off period.
Should I Try to Settle?
You will find that most couples will attempt to settle rather than go through a long and drawn-out process in the courts. When you and your spouse can settle, it means you agree on all of the aspects of your divorce. You get to decide what happens rather than the judge. Most couples will want to settle because it can provide them with more autonomy.
Talk with the attorney during the consultation about their plans for helping you settle, and what kind of success they have had in the past.
Does the Attorney Have Experience in Litigation?
Sometimes, negotiation just isn’t possible. You and your spouse might not be able to agree on everything—or anything—with your case. This means it is going to have to go to litigation in court. You should ask the attorney if they have experience in litigation if it comes to it.
Of course, these are certainly not the only questions that will need to be answered. You should come up with your own list of questions that may be specific to your case. Write them down and take them with you.