26 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring A Divorce Lawyer? (Part 1)
Ask the questions you need to ask to ensure an attorney can handle your specific divorce case. If the process of hiring a divorce lawyer is overwhelming and a little daunting at this point, consider the following list of 26 questions as your guide.
How many divorce cases have you handled?
Hiring a divorce attorney is a bit like choosing a doctor for surgery: you don't want to hire someone who has never done this before. Divorce is stressful enough that, barring the emotional and logistical implications, the last thing you want to do is review your attorney's work to make sure everything is being done right. After all, you are the customer.
How many cases have you settled out of court?
Ideally, you want to keep the divorce out of court to avoid additional drama and an extension of the agreement. Out-of-court settlements are essentially compromises, so finding a talented divorce lawyer and often out-of-court settlements bodes well.
Do you practice cooperative divorce?
Similar to an out-of-court settlement, a cooperative divorce requires a "let's fight!" mentality so that you and your spouse can reach a reasonable settlement in a non-aggressive manner. It's a problem-solving way to stay calm during a divorce. A cooperative divorce can end up with you and your ex being on good terms to be friendly with each other.
Do you know my spouse?
If your attorney is in touch with your spouse, it can be a big deal no matter what your attorney thinks of him or her. Our own personal feelings or knowledge of another person can often stand in the way of our ability to act without prejudice, so never hire anyone associated with your spouse.
Do you know my spouse's attorney?
Whether your attorney knows your spouse's attorney may not be as important to you as your attorney knows your spouse, but it is still something to consider. You are welcome to contact your attorney if they are attending a seminar together in their freshman year of law school, but if they are law school roommates, you may want to consider hiring someone else.
Do you know your local family judge?
Before you go to college you could ask several other students what a professor is like, what their grades are like, what their attitude towards tardiness is, etc. The same goes for hiring a lawyer because before you do this you want to make sure he understands the reputation of the local judge and the direction in which he tends to judge. If the judge assigned to your case is lenient about custody and you are seeking sole custody, you want your attorney to be aware of this so she can develop a strong strategy.
Do you think mediation and negotiation are better than litigation?
When hiring a divorce lawyer, the most important thing is that you agree. If you want to mediate and negotiate but your lawyer goes all out in court, this disagreement could affect the success of your case.
Do you have experience negotiating financial aid or settlements?
For example, any divorce case involving children or business will inevitably involve child or spousal support, large financial settlements, or business valuations, so you should make sure your attorneys know what they are doing.