There are many things to consider when you start to explore your divorce options. Interviewing attorneys can be difficult and sometimes it is hard to gather all of the information you need. Here are ten key questions to ask as you try to determine who to hire to represent you in your divorce.
- What are my options throughout the divorce process? There are many different options for the divorce process – from filing papers on your own to mediation and collaboration to litigation. A good attorney should educate you on all of the options, even if they don’t practice all, and help you make the decision that is best for your particular situation.
- Will I need to hire other professionals? Attorneys should be up front about who they suggest you hire – financial specialists or experts, child specialists if there are kids involved, or a mental health professional to help you and your spouse remain civil throughout the process.
- What are most of your cases like? Attorneys often have a typical pattern or style of case. It is good to know what is typical for a particular attorney.
- Do you have particular expertise with a divorce method or issue? Many attorneys specialize in one process (such as mediation) or a particular issue (such as child custody or spousal maintenance.
- Who controls the process? Some attorneys believe the court or attorney should control the process. Other attorneys and processes (particularly collaborative law) allow the clients to maintain much of the control. You should figure out what feels best for you.
- What will my role be in the process? You should know up front what your attorney expects of you – are you a document gatherer or high level decision maker? Are you along for the ride or an active controller of the process?
- How will you advise me to communicate with my spouse during the process? Litigation often requires very little communication between you and your spouse during the process. Other processes, like mediation and collaborative law, provide for you and your spouse to communicate as much as you feel comfortable outside of the process.
- What is your payment policy? In addition to knowing your attorneys hourly rate, you should know if your attorney accepts credit cards or requires a retainer up front.
- Are there ways I can keep the costs down? Ideally, an attorney will work with you to keep costs down. If there are elements that you can do to lessen the financial burden, our attorney should allow you to do so.
- What do you like about this type of work? This question may give you insight into what your attorney is like and why they are practicing family law. Getting to know who is representing you is very important for your happiness with the outcome.
You should feel comfortable with your future attorney and trust they will be honest with you and protect your interests. These questions should help you figure out who is the best fit for you. Call for a free consult with Kimberly Miller.