A divorce attorney is your lifeline to ensure your divorce progresses as smoothly as possible.
The first step when hiring an attorney is an initial consultation, where you share information about your divorce and ask questions. You should be prepared for this consultation with relevant documents, like a prenuptial agreement or any earlier legal proceedings to help your attorney get a good understanding for your story and provide you an accurate timeline and cost estimate, local family law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC suggests.
Because a divorce attorney will need to know some intimate details about you, you may want to meet with a few attorneys until you find one you feel comfortable with.
Here are five questions to ask during your first meeting with a divorce attorney.
How much experience do you have with cases like mine?
You can find out before your meeting whether an attorney specializes in divorces or general family law, but you may not know about specific cases they’ve handled.
After you’ve shared the details of your case, you can ask whether it’s similar to other cases they’ve had. You can also ask for any details the attorney is permitted to share to determine if their experience will help them handle your situation.
How does your practice handle divorce cases?
While Arizona law will be the same for everyone going through a divorce, individual law firms may divide their work differently between lawyers and paralegals.
Some firms may have one attorney handle your case from beginning to end, while others may divide the work between a lead attorney, legal assistants, or other attorneys with experience in certain aspects of the case. Knowing how a law firm divides work will prevent confusion down the road with regards to who to contact with questions.
What are your fees?
Attorneys are legally required to be transparent about fees. There are variables in every divorce case, and they may not know exactly how much your case will cost, but they can tell you how to get the most value for your money.
For example, if they charge per interaction, they may recommend you save your questions and send them in a single email or make a single call at the end of the week.
No matter what attorney you choose, trials are costly — they can double your cost, according to legal encyclopedia Nolo — so you will likely pay less if you have an uncontested divorce, and your attorney should be willing to help you settle out of court whenever possible.
How long will my case take?
Case lengths vary based on complexity, but an experienced attorney can give you an estimate of how long your case will take. The average amount of time is one year, but they can take as long as 18 months if a trial is involved or as little as 8 months when uncontested, according to Nolo.
What advice can you give me?
Asking for advice during the initial consultation is important for two reasons: First, you can benefit from a divorce attorney’s knowledge and experience. Second, you can get a glimpse into whether this person is someone you can work with.
At DeShon Laraye Pullen, the attorneys have years of experience focusing on family law. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.