If you have recently separated from your partner and are looking to file for divorce, one of the first things you’ve probably got on your to-do list is finding an experienced family lawyer
who will be able to guide you through the process and help you avoid costly mistakes that you might regret for the rest of your life. Before you decide to walk into any law office, it is important that you arm yourself with a list of questions for your lawyer, in order to ensure that you find an attorney whom you feel most comfortable with. Today, we look at the top 6 questions you should ask during your first meeting with a divorce lawyer, so read on to find out more.
How Does Billing Work?
Let’s be honest -- divorce can be an incredibly costly affair, on top of lawyers fees and court fees. This is why you should never be ashamed of discussing matters such as billing and fees with your divorce lawyer. Working within your budget is of utmost importance, and any reputable lawyer will be upfront and entirely transparent about their hourly rate and fee structure. You should discuss your fee arrangement and also come up with solutions that will help you reduce your costs as much as possible.
For example, it may be more cost-efficient for you to gather all your questions over the week and then email them to your lawyer so that you can schedule a quick phone call rather than eat your client hours up by asking them a few questions every day.
Discuss Communication Rules
Right off the bat, it is important that you discuss your lawyer’s communication rules in order to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. It is important to ask your lawyer how often they will need to communicate with you and what the best means of communication are for not just them but yourself too. Would you prefer having phone conversations over emails? Perhaps you’d rather meet with your lawyer in person to discuss matters surrounding your divorce. Setting expectations early on in the game will help ensure that both you and your lawyer are comfortable and always know what to expect.
What Is Their Approach To The Divorce Process?
Every family lawyer will have a slightly different manner in which they approach the divorce process. Even though the divorce process is relatively the same with each case in terms of paperwork, each lawyer’s approach will differ. Asking your lawyer what their personal approach to the divorce process is and what their strategies are will help you gain invaluable insight into their methodology in order to choose the best lawyer for your specific needs. Some matters to discuss include child custody, financial settlements and other points of conflict. Ask your lawyer about how they have helped other clients reach an amicable outcome when they have worked in similar situations in the past.
Can Your Lawyer Assist With Mediation?
As a general rule of thumb, most family lawyers will try to get couples to settle their differences via mediation. This is often the preferred route for most families as it helps to avoid costly court appearances that may drag out for years. Be sure to ask your lawyer about how they will be able to help you with mediation in order to come to a mutual agreement in order to ensure that you receive a fair settlement without having to fight it out in court.
How Will I Be Able To Monitor The Status Of My Case?
No one likes to be kept in the dark, especially when it comes to their own divorce. This is why you should always ask your lawyer about how you will be able to check up on the status of your case. In cases where divorce proceedings are more complicated, it's usually possible for divorce lawyers to provide clients with updates by phone or email. In a less complicated divorce, sometimes lawyers will tell their client in person when documents have been filed. Your lawyer will discuss with you the best way to keep you informed about the status of your case.
Is Divorce Law Your Strength?
Last but not least, the most important question of them all -- is divorce law your strength? It is important to gather information about your lawyer’s experience in the field of divorce, so don’t be shy to ask them about their success rates when it comes to amicable splits and mediated divorces. Some other questions you should ask include how long they have been practising law or what they would do if they were in your shoes.
Asking the right questions is a guaranteed way to ensure that you are able to communicate clearly and work with a lawyer who best matches your particular needs. If you require any legal advice from an experienced family lawyer, don’t hesitate to call us at (03) 9670 7577