Five Important Question to Ask When Interviewing a Divorce Lawyer
- How long have you been practicing family law?
Your divorce attorney will play a big role in negotiating key aspects of your divorce such as how familial assets will be divided and the terms of your child custody arrangement. Therefore, it only makes sense to hire a lawyer who has relevant family law experience and the legal knowhow necessary to zealously fight for your rights. During your initial consultation consider asking how long the attorney has been practicing family law and what percentage of their practice is devoted to handling divorces.
- Has your license to practice law ever been revoked or suspended?
While you may feel slightly uncomfortable asking this question of someone whom you just met, it is very important that you do. Most lawyers have never had their license to practice law revoked or suspended, but if they have you definitely want to know. If the lawyer that you are interviewing tells you that they have been disciplined by the state bar simply ask what happened so that you can better determine whether or not this is someone you are willing to work with.
- Can you please describe how your firm handles divorce cases?
Each law firm has a unique office culture as well as their own approach to handling divorce cases. During your initial consultation ask any questions that you might have about the divorce process and what your role in that process will be in order to get a feel of how this lawyer and their firm will handle your case. For example, consider asking the following questions:
- Will there be an associate lawyer working on my case? If so, can I meet them?
- Which aspects of my case will you handle personally? For example, if my case goes to trial will you be the attorney representing me in court?
- Do you advocate mediation and negotiation in divorce cases or do you prefer to go to trial?
- If I need to reach you, do you prefer an email or a telephone call? And how long will it typically take you to get back to me?
- How much do you anticipate that my divorce will cost? And what is your fee structure?
Some divorces are straightforward and can be quickly concluded, on the other hand, messy divorces can take years to resolve and can be very expensive. Therefore, it is important that you have a good idea from the onset how much you will be spending so that you aren’t surprised later on down the road. Ask the divorce lawyer you are interviewing how much they estimate that your case will cost in total, and how you will be billed under their fee structure.
Some family law attorneys charge a fixed fee for handling your case while others charge by the hour. If they charge a fixed fee, ask how much that fee is and whether there are any other costs that you also need to take into account. For example, you may be required to pay for a forensic accountant or a private investigator. If the attorney charges an hourly fee, ask what their fee is and about the hourly fees of the other lawyers and paralegals working on your case. In either instance be sure to ask how you will be billed and whether or not you will be required to pay a retainer.
- How long will my divorce likely take?
After an initial review of your case an experienced family law attorney should have a rough idea of how long your divorce will likely take, however, unanticipated complications such as a custody battle can easily extend a divorce. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your lawyer gives you only a rough estimate while explaining the various issues that may complicate your divorce.
Need Legal Advice?
At Derek L. Hall, PLLC we understand how important it is to find a divorce lawyer who you trust and who is a good fit for you and your family. We offer a free initial consultation for prospective clients who are contemplating getting divorced in Mississippi so that they can meet our team and get their initial questions answered. Contact our Jackson office to schedule your free consultation today at (601) 202-2222.