Getting divorced is an emotional rollercoaster, not only for the couple involved but for the whole family. It is a difficult and stressful time for anyone, especially when it comes to handling the complicated divorce process. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate your case and find some relief during this uncertain time.
It is important to find the right attorney to represent you, as not all divorce lawyers are created equal. Use this list of questions to know what to ask a lawyer when choosing the right fit for your divorce case.
The first question is about the attorney’s experience in your practice area. Your lawyer should specialize in divorce cases or at least in family law. Ask the attorney how long he or she has been practicing family law and for an estimate of how many divorce cases the attorney has handled. A specialization in divorce law in Washington can give your lawyer a better grasp on how these cases work in your state and how to successfully navigate them.
Ask specifically about who at the law firm will be working on your case. The person you are consulting with may not be the same lawyer who will handle your divorce case. If so, ask to meet the lawyer who will be working on your case. Some family law firms pass cases off to paralegals, assistants or other staff members who may not be as qualified as one of the lead attorneys. Look for a law firm that pairs you with a licensed divorce lawyer who will be dedicated to your case and its success.
Communication with your lawyer is important during a divorce case. You will likely be curious about the status of your case, where it is in the legal process, how things are going and whether the outcome looks favorable. You do not want to end up with an attorney who is impossible to reach. Ask about the methods that will be available for you to contact your lawyer, such as by phone or e-mail. If you are concerned about an emergency, such as domestic violence, parental abduction or restraining orders, ask about contacting the law firm outside of office hours, as well.
Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer directly how much he or she charges for the types of services that will be needed to resolve your divorce case. The attorney that you hire should be straightforward, transparent and upfront about how much he or she charges. Divorce lawyers may charge a flat fee or hourly rate, as well as a retainer and additional fees for services such as experts or going to trial. Note, however, that case costs can be highly variable – it is normal for an attorney not to be able to give you an exact estimate before learning more about your case.
While law firm reviews and client testimonials aren’t always accurate, they can give you an idea of what to expect if you hire the lawyer. Ask if there are any reviews or positive client experiences that you can read about to help inform your decision. These can help you get a feel for how the lawyer treats his or her clients, what the legal experience looks like overall, and if past clients have been happy with their results.
Finally, before your consultation ends, ask if there is anything you can do to help your case. You may be able to cut down on legal costs, for example, by handling some of the divorce paperwork yourself. There are also ways you can protect your rights leading up to a divorce, such as by not talking to your ex-spouse, posting on social media or badmouthing your ex in front of the kids. A lawyer can give you advice on things you can do now to help your case later.
If you’re ready to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Clark County, contact Cohen Family Law, LLC.