Filing for divorce, especially when children are involved, can be a highly emotional process. Coming to terms with the end of a relationship is difficult enough without going through the frustrations and pain of a court trial. Meeting with a divorce attorney can be understandably overwhelming — it’s a lot to take in all at once. That’s why it’s important to gather your thoughts, stay organized, and be sure to go through this list of four questions to ask a divorce attorney before hiring him or her to represent you in your case.
- Do you specialize in family law?
It’s important to ask your potential family law attorney about his or her background and experience. Although there can be benefits to hiring a lawyer who specializes in many different areas, it’s usually better to use an attorney who has a lot of ongoing experience in divorces and family law. If children are involved, you’ll definitely want to seek child custody advice from a parental rights lawyer, and you’ll want such an attorney by your side in court.
- Do you prefer to mediate, litigate, or settle amicably?
Attorneys have all different styles. Some love to argue and win cases in court. Others try to settle cases amicably when they can. And still others are highly skilled at mediating, which can save a lot of time, money, and frustration for clients. This is one of the most important questions to ask a divorce attorney, as it can help inform your decision about which strategy will be best for the sake of everyone involved.
- Are you familiar with family court judges in my area?
If your lawyer practices within a large location or across several counties, he or she may not be as familiar with the judges in your town. This is not to say your family court lawyer will get preferential treatment if he or she knows the judge on your case, but it certainly can’t hurt and can help you to know what to expect in a divorce proceeding.
- How do you see my case panning out?
Not only will your attorney go over the basic process of a divorce with you in your consultation, but he or she should give you an idea of how your case is likely to go. Ask about your attorney’s approach or thoughts on your case and be sure to get clarification for any questions or concerns you may have. You can get an idea of how your potential lawyer will tackle your case and whether they feel it will be settled amicably or may present a lengthy battle.
Filing for divorce is a decision that can have a huge impact on your life. Don’t feel pressured to work with the first lawyer you meet with if you feel the partnership wouldn’t be a good fit or in your best interests. Be sure to keep these questions to ask a divorce attorney in mind when meeting with a lawyer to ensure your divorce is as painless as possible.