In any type of case hiring an attorney is an important decision. Finding the right Divorce Attorney or Custody Lawyer is no exception. It is crucial that you have a consultation with an attorney to learn about your options, but also to be sure that the lawyer is right for you. Here are some questions that should be asked when consulting with an attorney for your Divorce or Custody matter.
1) Do you have experience with cases like mine?
Your Divorce or Custody case involves the most important aspects of your life (your children, your home, your property, etc.). It is vital that your attorney has experience with cases like yours. The attorney should not be offended by the question; rather, he/she should be willing to freely discuss his/her experience. If the attorney is not willing to discuss it, that may be a sign to find another attorney. Keep in mind, though, that all cases are unique and not all will end up with similar results. Attorneys cannot guarantee outcomes, no matter how experienced they are.
2) What is your (the lawyer’s) plan of action in my case?
Everyone is different, and the same goes for Divorce Attorneys and Custody Lawyers and how they approach cases. You need to find out if your goals will be supported by the lawyer’s plan. Some follow-up questions should include: How long will the other party have to respond to the case? What happens in the meantime? Is mediation available? Are there other ways to try resolving the case? How long will cases like mine typically take? How much involvement will I have in my case? In a nutshell, what will the process typically look like?
3) How will we communicate (and how quickly should I expect a response)?
One of the most common complaints people have about attorneys relates to sufficiency of communication about the client’s case. When you consult with an attorney, ask your Divorce Lawyer or Custody Attorney how the two of you will communicate – are phone calls or emails best? Will you be in primary contact with his/her staff, or will the contact be directly with the attorney? How quickly should you expect a response? Answers to these questions should help you and your attorney get on the same page and know what to expect.
4) What fees and costs should I expect?
This is always a tough question for attorneys to answer, but a good question to ask so you can begin planning for the financial side of your case. Attorney fees, the sums charged for the attorney or staff time spent on your case, are distinct from costs, which are in addition to attorney fees and include filing fees, postage, copies, witness fees, etc. Litigation cases can be very expensive, and your Divorce Lawyer or Custody Attorney will not be in control of all of the expense. Since Divorce and Custody litigation can be unpredictable, you should not expect an attorney to quote you a maximum fee for your contested litigation case (and if they do, you should be cautious moving forward with that attorney). But after consulting about the details about your case, many attorneys experienced in such matters can give you an estimated range of the fees and costs to expect.
5) What will a Judge need to know when deciding my case?
Many issues are involved in Divorce cases – such as custody of the children and an appropriate parenting plan, child and spousal support, and the division of property and debts. It is important to tell your potential Divorce Attorney your goals and ask what you need to do, or provide, to help support your claims. This will ensure that your lawyer (and the Court, if it comes to that) has the most important information to advocate for you. Asking this question will also let you see whether the lawyer appears knowledgeable about the law.
The Custody and Divorce Attorneys at Eggert & Associates, P.C. have years of experience dealing with Family Law matters, and are ready to help you guide you through your case. Call (503) 837-6111 or schedule your consultation today.