The following is a guide that explains how to hire the right divorce attorney.
Hire a personable attorney specializing in divorce.
Finding the right attorney to handle your divorce can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Many people who rely merely on advertisements or word of mouth have discovered this fact too late and suffer the consequences. Every prospective client should take it unto herself or himself to make their own inquiry before hiring their divorce attorney.
I've broken the process of selecting the right divorce attorney into four easy steps with some related questions you may want to ask prospective counsel. I hope this guide helps you find the right divorce attorney for your case!
Part One: Hire a personable attorney specializing in divorce.
Hire a divorce attorney with whom you can get along. Don't overlook personality. Try to hire a divorce attorney with whom you can communicate easily. Think of you and your divorce attorney as a team. You will probably spend a lot of time together, so if you don't get along, the divorce process will only become more difficult, more time
Hire an affordable and responsive divorce attorney.
Hire an affordable divorce attorney who is responsive to your needs. The best divorce attorney in the world isn't right for you if you can't afford their fees. Similarly, your attorney is no help to you if you can't contact them when you need them; or if they don't return your calls. So before you hire a divorce attorney, learn as much as you can about how he or she maintains contact with clients and charges for his professional services. You should also learn how the firm handles billing and collection of attorney fees and case related expenses.
o Will you be the contact person for my case?
o How should I contact you to discuss the case: email/phone/fax?
o Do you have a policy for returning client calls?
o What is your hourly rate?
o Do you require a retainer? If so, what are the terms?
o What is the hourly rate for associates and paralegals?
o Who pays for expenses such as: experts, filing fees, court reporters, etc?
o How are your hourly fees charged? (exact number)
Hire a divorce attorney who understands both the legal issues and your view of the case.
Hire a divorce attorney who understands the issues in your case. Think about the potential issues in your case before meeting with an attorney. If you have children, your attorney should be experienced with child-related issues such as custody, visitation, and child support. If either you or your spouse will require financial support, you'll need an attorney experienced handling alimony issues. If you own complicated or sizeable real estate investments, financial investments, retirement assets and/or other valuable assets, look for a divorce lawyer with experience handling more complex financial issues. If you own a business, your divorce attorney should be accustomed to handling cases involving valuation of a business. The list goes on and on. The important thing to remember is to make sure your divorce attorney is experienced with the issues in your case.
o How frequently do you handle cases involving: alimony, custody, etc.?
Conclude the meeting and make your decision.
You are the boss! You may conclude the meeting by thanking the attorney, requesting a copy of any proposed Engagement or Retainer Agreement and making whatever payment was required for the meeting. Explain to your prospective divorce attorney your timeframe for hiring an attorney and what, if any, next steps remain befire you retain an attorney. Ask the divorce attorney if there is any more information they need from you. Ask if you can follow up with any additional questions. Thank the attorney for meeting with you. Absent emergency circumstances, you should definitely leave without having retained the attorney. This gives you additional time to think about your decision. This is a very important decision and not one that you should rush to finalize.
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