Accepting that your marriage is over isn’t easy, but finding the right divorce lawyer should be!
Just because their website includes divorce does not mean a particular attorney is right for you. There are many considerations when selecting the best divorce attorney for your case and the fact they practice family law is simply not enough. This article will outline essential questions you should ask when consulting or interviewing a divorce lawyer for the first time. Attorneys aren’t one-size-fits-all and it’s important to have a connection with your attorney, feel comfortable and confident when working with them, and of course be assured they know the law, the process, and the court.
Before diving into your search, be aware that divorce attorneys cannot guarantee outcomes or predict the total cost of a case. However, an experienced divorce lawyer should be able to walk you through options, establish a roadmap, and set appropriate expectations that help you prepare for the length, expense, and potential results of your case.
Start your search by identifying several divorce lawyers in your area. After doing your due diligence such as researching their experience and reading client reviews, make contact with your top choices. You should ask for a case evaluation which is often offered by phone at no cost and is an opportunity for the attorney to better understand your situation as well as for you to ask questions to help determine your comfort level in working with this attorney.
Make a list of questions to help you narrow down your search.
Question #1: Is divorce your primary practice area?
First, ask what areas of law they practice. It’s not uncommon for Massachusetts lawyers to practice in more than one area of law. However, you should be looking for someone with a complete knowledge base of Massachusetts divorce law and not someone who takes just a few divorce cases a year.
Question #2: Are you familiar with a particular court / judge?
Next, ask about their experience handling divorce cases in the court you will be filing and ask about the judges they often go before. It is important that your attorney knows the court and has experience before the judges who may hear your case. Ask them about the different Judges, their styles, temperament, likes and dislikes and get a feeling for whether this attorney knows the environment.
Question #3: What’s your experience handling this type of situation?
If you have a particular concern such as a situation involving an abusive spouse, custody of children, inheritance, or family business, ask the attorney how they handled such situations with previous cases and what was the result.
Question #4: What is your preferred communication method?
One important and often overlooked aspect of finding the right divorce lawyer is asking how they communicate with clients. Every office has its own way of operating. If you prefer communicating through email but the attorney you’re interviewing only communicates over the phone, this may not be the right fit for you.
Question #5: What are the costs for divorce like mine?
Cost is always important and you want to know how their billing works. Most divorce lawyers require a retainer fee up front from which they deduct billable services. You want to get a general idea of the potential total cost, what will be the large fees like court appearances as well as what administrative tasks and services you can expect.
Question #6: What can you tell me about you as a person, not just an attorney?
Finally, feel free to ask them about who they are personally. It’s a good idea to get a sense of your attorney on a personal level to ensure they share your values and can represent you effectively in a respectful manner.
A great deal of your personal life will be shared with your divorce attorney, which is why it is imperative to work with someone you can trust. Hiring the right lawyer requires a great deal of care to ensure your interests are best represented.
If you are in search of an experienced divorce lawyer, contact our office for an evaluation today! We can answer all of these questions and more about your divorce case.