Divorce lawyers play an important role when a marriage breaks down. A divorce lawyer not only helps finalise the divorce, but is instrumental in negotiating parenting arrangements and property settlements. These decisions can have a significant impact on your life moving forward, which stresses the importance of making the right decision, and feeling confident when choosing your lawyer.
When you meet a lawyer for the first time, it is likely they will have many questions for you. But these initial consultations also provide the opportunity for you to ask the lawyer questions and gauge whether they suit both you and the particular circumstances of your divorce.
Asking these questions of a prospective divorce lawyer will help you determine whether they are the right lawyer to get you the best possible outcomes for your case.
– What are your fees, and can you give me an approximate figure of what this process will cost? Cost is one of the most important considerations when choosing a divorce lawyer. Sydney prices may differ to Melbourne prices, as will fees differ from lawyer to lawyer, which makes it important to be direct about this question to avoid any nasty shocks later on. Divorce can be costly, and staying within budget for your lawyer feels will lessen the financial blow.
– What’s your approach to divorce? Different lawyers approach divorce cases in different ways. Decide whether you prefer an aggressive or a soft approach, and choose accordingly. Considering the approach of different lawyers is useful if you want your lawyer to match your spouse’s lawyer. For example, do you want an aggressive male lawyer to go head to head with your partner’s aggressive male equivalent? Or will a softer approach be more effective?
– Will there be other staff working on my case? This is a good question to ask to gauge their current workload and how much time they can dedicate to your case. It’s also good to be told transparently who in the firm will likely be working on your divorce (they will likely have varying fees). Also ask whether they are generally contactable, and what the firm’s policy is for returning calls. It’s important to choose a lawyer that can dedicated the time and effort needed to your case.
– How many of your cases went to trial last year, and do you have experience in collaborative law? This is an important question, particularly if you definitely do not want to go to court, or if a break up is particularly acrimonious and you suspect it will have to go before a judge. If you want to avoid the courtroom, ask the lawyer whether they usually encourage mediation.
– What is your experience? Choose a divorce lawyer that has worked on cases similar to yours. For example, if your child support and parenting arrangements are going to be difficult to negotiate, make sure that the lawyer you choose has a high level of experience and expertise in this area. Alternatively, if you had a prenuptial agreement, choose a divorce lawyer whose experience will help you get all that you’re entitled to.
If there are any specific questions that relate directly to your circumstances, make sure you voice them in initial consultations. It’s best to start the process being completely transparent with your lawyer. Divorce can be a stressful experience and it’s important to feel confident in your choice of legal representation. Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question!