Divorce is a complex process with many issues, including financial settlements, custody disputes, and emotional concerns. Choosing an attorney specializing in family law and regularly keeping up with new legislation and cases is essential.
Asking these questions at your initial consultation can help you find the right fit.
How much experience do you have?
Divorce lawyers must be well-versed in the statutes and case law about family law matters. These laws are frequently updated or overturned, and a divorce attorney Red Bank, NJ experience, can make all the difference in a case.
A lawyer with a significant amount of divorce case experience will be familiar with the laws in your state and how judges most often decide issues like child custody, alimony, and property division. They can also help you estimate the length of your case.
Knowing if your potential divorce attorney prefers sole or joint custody and their strategy for financial assets and accounts (such as retirement) is essential. It will help you determine whether you are on the same page. It is vital if you are looking to mediate your case or settle it out of court.
What is your fee structure?
Knowing a divorce attorney’s rate will be challenging, like any professional service. However, it is essential to understand that the cost of a lawyer is just one component of the overall cost of a divorce case.
The costs of filing fees, alimony, property appraisals, and expert witnesses can add up quickly. By limiting these additional expenses, you can minimize the overall cost of your divorce.
In addition to hourly rates, divorce attorneys may charge flat fees for routine legal matters and uncontested divorces. A retainer fee is an upfront deposit that allows an attorney to begin work on your case immediately. Additionally, it gives the attorney a sense of financial stability, reducing the possibility of delinquent or unpaid fees and freeing them up to concentrate on offering superior legal services.
What is your approach?
The first meeting with a divorce attorney is typically an emotionally fraught one. The day’s emotions may make remembering everything you want to ask difficult.
For this reason, you should prepare any questions you want to ask in advance. It will ensure that no important questions are overlooked.
In addition, it is helpful to ask how the attorney works with their clients. For instance, knowing who will manage your case from beginning to end if you work with an associate.
It is also helpful to know how often you will receive billing statements. For instance, you should be able to expect that a monthly invoice will be sent out.
How are you going to communicate with me?
Research consistently identifies poor communication as one of the leading factors behind divorce. Open and honest communication is necessary, whether it’s an attorney or a client.
Your attorney must understand your goals and desires. They should articulate those in clear and straightforward terms and offer insight that may take time to be noticeable.
In addition, it’s essential to know how often you will communicate with your lawyer and their return call policy. It can help establish a clear and mutually beneficial professional relationship.
Lastly, ask your potential attorney how many cases they currently have and if they specialize in family law (as opposed to general practice). Avoid “jack/jill of all trades” attorneys who dabble in a bit of everything regarding a divorce or legal separation; you want an expert.
Will you be my advocate?
When clients choose their divorce lawyer, they entrust them to advocate for their best interests throughout the legal process. It involves encouraging settlement at every step of the case, avoiding unnecessary court delays that increase expenses, and providing realistic expectations on what will occur throughout the divorce.
In addition, a reputable divorce attorney should be familiar with the Judges in your jurisdiction and be able to shape their strategy by understanding how each Judge tends to rule on specific issues. Ultimately, the divorce attorney should foster an open, honest, professional relationship because they will hear some of your most personal and sensitive information. It can only happen if the client and lawyer are on the same page regarding the legal process and how the case will be handled.