By Colleen Honquest
If you are contemplating a divorce it is important that you get the right legal help for you and your situation. Writing the Marital Settlement Agreement (also called the Divorce Decree) and, if you are a parent, your Joint Parenting Agreement is very important and you must be thinking ahead. The decisions that you make now will determine the course of your future and your ability to move forward in a sane and healthy way. It is important for you to interview your prospective attorney to decide if he/she is the right person to be your advocate in court. I have spoken with professionals who deal with divorce (attorneys, divorce financial specialists, and therapists) and I have also researched some questions that may help you to decide on an attorney for your case. Here is a short list for your reference:
Divorce Lawyer Consultation Questions:
- Is Family Law your specialty? (ex. Knowledge of the UCCJEA Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act)
- Do you know the Divorce Attorney for my spouse?
- Have you worked on a High Conflict Case before? If so, what was the outcome? Your strategies for dealing with the attorney and the ex-spouse?
- Who will assist you on my case? What is their hourly rate? What work will they do?
- Do you charge for calls to your administrative assistant? If I have questions whom do I call?
- Who will attend court appearances? Do you recommend that I attend all court appearances?
- Do you charge a full hour for filing motions, etc.?
- What hours are you normally in the office? Do you answer your phone?
- What is your retainer?
- What do you bill for phone calls?
- Does your paralegal do some of your work? What would he/she do in my case?
- Will you keep me informed each month as to how much of the retainer is left?
- How can I get my spouse to pay for legal fees?
- What issues do you anticipate during my case?
- What extra costs should I expect besides hourly charges?
- How will I be kept updated on developments in my case?
- How much do you think my divorce will cost based on my situation
Colleen Honquest, Divorce Mediator and Certified Divorce Coach
Founder, DivorceMD, LLC.