When two people come together, get married, and start a family, the last thing they want is to see everything they worked toward come to naught and end in a divorce.
But it goes without saying that divorces happen. So, it’s essential to know what to do if your marriage has run its course and you need to part ways with your spouse.
Do you need to speak to a family law attorney ahead of a divorce proceeding or child custody issue? If so, here are seven questions you need to ask before retaining a lawyer.
1. How Long Have You Been Working as a Family Law Attorney?
When you hire a family law attorney, you’ll want to know that they have experience. You don’t need someone just out of law school to help you with things like divorce, custody, and property matters. Before hiring a lawyer, you should ask about the level of experience the lawyer in question has. It’s also best to find someone whose practice centers around family law rather than around a handful of different areas of the law.
2. What Process Do You Recommend for My Specific Case?
Before answering this question, the lawyer will need to take the time to get to learn about your situation. You’ll want to know what options are available, the odds of success for each option, the pros and cons of each strategy, and more. While divorce cases are often contentious, they don’t have to be. You’ll want to hear about negotiation, mediation, and court options. You can’t make informed decisions if you need to know your options. All options need to be on the table.
3. How Long Will the Process Take?
It’s essential that you find out how long the process could take. The answer will depend on factors like the course of action the attorney takes and the willingness of the two principal parties to complete the process with as little drama as possible. But having even a ballpark estimate on the duration of the process will help you prepare accordingly.
4. What’s the Next Step to Get the Process Going?
You’ll want to know the next step in the divorce process. A good family law attorney will explain where you are in the process and the steps to come. Your mind will be more at ease if the lawyer outlines the various steps between where you are and where you want to go.
5. How Much Do You Charge?
You’ll also want to ask for an estimate of how much your case will cost. A family law lawyer will also charge a retainer. Ask how much the retainer fee is. A reputable family law lawyer will be transparent about pricing. That includes letting you know about any possible extra charges during your divorce case. You won’t have to worry about getting any surprises when you get the bill.
6. How Can You Help With Custody or Property Issues?
When looking for a family law lawyer, you’ll also want to know how the legal professional can help with custody issues if you have kids. Do you want shared custody or full custody? What’s the likelihood that a judge will approve your custody request? What about the family home? What options are on the table? And which one will be in the best interests of all parties?
7. How Much Bandwidth Do You Have?
It’s also essential that you find a lawyer who has the time to represent you. A good lawyer will always be busy. But he or she shouldn’t be so busy that your case gets neglected or needlessly prolonged. Oftentimes, lawyers will have support staff who can assist the lawyers and their clients. Even so, you’ll want to find a lawyer who can make your case a priority.
These are the sorts of questions you must ask any prospective family law attorney. Asking the right questions should get you the answers that’ll help you make an informed selection.