Top 10 questions to ask your prospective Divorce Lawyer:
Choosing the right lawyer to guide you through your divorce is one of the most important decisions you'll make
Date: November 25 2015
Choosing the right lawyer to guide you through your divorce is one of the most important decisions you'll make. Remaining informed and supported through the significant personal and legal decisions you will face throughout a divorce, can help alleviate some stress from the difficult process. A personal consultation with an experienced lawyer from KWS Legal, can provide you with early advice to ensure that your interests are protected.
The following 10 questions are an important starting point for discussions with a prospective divorce lawyer to help ensure that they are an appropriate fit considering your unique personal circumstances.
1. How long have you been in practice, specifically in family law and are you an Accredited Family Law Specialist?
Choosing a divorce lawyer with extensive experience in the specific field of family law, particularly divorce matters will ensure that you receive knowledgeable and sound advice throughout the process. Choosing a lawyer who is an Accredited Family Law Specialist means that your lawyer would have a minimum of five years full time practice experience and a minimum of three years experience in their area of family law specifically.
2. What are your hourly rates and what other costs, such as court time can I expect to be included? What is your estimate of the approximate overall cost of this case and how will I be billed?
Many firms will have different hourly rates and methods of billing their clients, so it is important to take these financial aspects into consideration when choosing your divorce lawyer. Whilst a lawyer could only offer a rough estimate of your overall cost of the case, it can help to be made aware of the unexpected costs involved.
3. What expectations do you have of me throughout this process?
It is important to be aware early of the expectations a prospective divorce lawyer will have of you throughout this process. This may involve providing personal and other documents in a timely manner, paying on time and a specific amount according to the specific firms billing process.
4. What should I be doing to protect myself now?
This is an important question to ask in the early stages of the divorce process. Forming a proactive strategy in consultation with your lawyer is the best way to protect your personal and financial assets throughout the divorce process. Depending on your individual circumstances, your lawyer is likely to recommend closing any joint bank accounts and other severable shared assets.
5. Do you prefer to negotiate and settle, and does your firm offer mediation services?
In most situations, it is important to find a divorce lawyer who is experienced not only in pursuing matters through litigation, but is also open to mediation and other negotiation techniques. If appropriate in the circumstances, settlement and negotiation is often a much cheaper and easier alternative.
6. What is the best way to achieve my desired outcome in the quickest way possible?
This question is important as it will demonstrate that your prospective divorce lawyer has considered all available options available to reach your desired outcome. This may involve a blended process of negotiation, mediation and other forms of dispute resolution or it may involve litigation to solve parenting arrangement disputes.
7. Will I receive copies of all the documents you generate and receive regarding my case?
Ensuring that their clients are informed and educated throughout the process of a divorce is an important part of the role of a divorce lawyer. This means ensuring your client is up to date on all documents received from the other party involved is aware of which stage the divorce process is in.
8. How will we communicate throughout this process? What is your usual response time for client queries?
This is an important question to ask, particularly for a divorce lawyer working within a large practice. Being able to have regular consultation and open communication with your divorce lawyer can help ensure you remain informed and confident throughout the process.
9. Based on what you know about my case, how would you predict a judge would rule on it?
Whilst an early prediction by a prospective divorce lawyer will not take into consideration further knowledge and evidence, it can be a good way to ensure that your expectations of the outcome align with the circumstances.
10. What financial and other documents will you need me to gather for this process?
Having an early understanding of the financial and personal documents your lawyer will require you to present, can ensure that your lawyer receives all available evidence to help your case progress in a timely manner.