Tip 5: The Interview

Hi there,

Glad you’ve followed through to the last tip!  Read on for information to assist you in completing your search for the right attorney to handle your divorce.

Remember, and keep remembering, the purpose of the initial consultation -it is to enable you to decide if the person conversing with you is going to represent you in the divorce process. That person is going to be your guide, your advocate, your advisor, and something very close to a best friend during an incredibly stressful time in your life. There are important specifics, but the most important thing is this: at the end of the interview, do you think that this person will do his or her very best for you?  Specific questions:

1. How long have you been a lawyer? How long have you concentrated in family law? What’s your best estimate of the percentage of time in a year that you spend on family law work?
2. Do you belong to any professional associations? Do you attend CLE classes or seminars in family law?  Do you teach at any such classes or seminars? How often? For how long?
3. How many cases have you handled with issues such as mine? (Issues can be as diverse as: very short marriage, gay/lesbian divorce, challenged ante-nuptial agreement, violent abuse with ongoing physical/mental damage, minority interest in family business, huge expected inheritance, etc.)
4. What is your hourly rate? How often do you bill? If the hourly rates change during the divorce, will I be charged the original rate or the new one?
5. Who else will be working on my case? What are their rates? What’s their background and experience? May I meet them?
6. Will you or one of your associates represent me in court? Under what circumstances would you send an associate?
7. What will be the location, usually by county, in my case? Do I have a choice? How often do you appear before those courts?
8. What percentage of cases like mine that you handle end in settlement?
9. What’s your estimate of the likelihood that I will obtain (or have to pay) court ordered attorneys’ fees? At what point in the case?
10. What’s your best estimate of what you think this case will cost me? Remember no attorney in a divorce matter can give you a definite here but they can and should give you an estimate. 

*Remember these same tips apply if you are switching attorneys.

Now you are ready to rumble!

Stay tuned for information about the new Child Support Guidelines.

Nancy