Choosing a divorce attorney isn’t a selection you should take lightly. As your representative in your divorce, it’s important that you not only trust your attorney to work in your best interest – but that they’re the absolute right fit for you and your situation.
Decide upfront what is most important to you. Do you value open communication? Highengagement and accessibility? What level of guidance are you looking for from your attorney throughout the process, particularly when it comes to communication with your spouse? Is cost a heavily weighed factor?
They’re all things you need to carefully consider. The best way to ensure you’re comfortable with your choice in an attorney is to ask questions. While the full list of questions you want to ask might vary, there are a few that should never be left unanswered.
How often, and in what way, will you communicate with me regarding my case?
Establishing what methods of communication your attorney will use – and how often you can expect to be speaking with them – is essential. If you don’t align with communication expectations from the start, it can quickly lead to feelings of unsatisfaction and anxiety with your case.
It’s helpful to voice your own expectations from the beginning. Perhaps you prefer a cadence or method that isn’t standard practice for your attorney, but if you’re open and honest about your preferences, they’re often going to be more than happy to oblige.
Will there be other attorneys from your practice working on my case?
Most law practices have multiple partners and associates that are eager to assist in helping you achieve the best outcome. But it can be unnerving if you begin receiving correspondence from someone other than the attorney you first meet with – especially if you weren’t briefed on who they were ahead of time.
The best way to avoid this is a discussion at the beginning of your case. Ask your attorney what other members of their practice are most likely to be working with you. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet with them if it makes you feel more comfortable.
How will I be billed for services?
This is a big one, and one of the most common questions we get from clients. Honest law practices are always upfront about how and when you will be billed, at what rate, and how you can make payments.
Depending on your individual case, attorneys cannot always give you a total cost of services upfront. This can be frustrating, but it’s a sign that they are being honest about how changing circumstances can affect the overall cost of a divorce – like the amount of time the divorce will ultimately take or how many court appearances, if any, may be necessary. Going back to question one – communication is key. Express to your attorney any concerns you have in terms of costs and voice your preferences for how you’d like costs communicated throughout the process.
My spouse and I have children – what kind of custody agreement is going to be appropriate for me to ask for?
This is going to depend on a number of factors – and your attorney may need to gather more information in order to answer it efficiently. But making it clear what your desired custody arrangement with your spouse is, and what components are most important to you, can be helpful.
But it’s important to appreciate honesty in the relationship with your attorney, and to expect that if your desired arrangement isn’t truly feasible, they will express that to you upfront.
How long do divorces like mine usually take?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is another question that your attorney may not be able to answer right away. However, you can ask in their experience how long they have seen similar cases to yours take, as well as factors you need to be prepared for that you might not have considered.
These don’t have to be the only questions you have for your divorce attorney. Quite the contrary – you should ask as many as needed to make you feel completely comfortable. But if you’re unsure where to start in selecting an attorney, starting with these five will give you the right foundation.