Five Tips for Hiring the Best Divorce Attorney
One of the most important decisions you may make during your adult life is the selection of legal counsel to represent you in a marriage dissolution proceeding. Due to the importance of this selection of legal counsel, there are five key tips to bear in mind when trying to hire the best divorce attorney:
- Take full advantage of initial consultation
- Obtain recommendations for potential representation
- Prepare list of key questions before initial consultation
- Obtain references from prospective divorce lawyer
- Obtain a written agreement with divorce attorney
At the top of the list of tips associated with retaining the best divorce attorney is to take full advantage of the initial consultation with a prospective divorce attorney. As a matter of nearly ubiquitous practice in the United States, a divorce lawyer will schedule an initial consultation with you at no obligation and no cost.
The initial consultation provides you an opportunity to learn more about some of specifics associated with divorce law in your state. The session also permits you the ability to flesh out more information about a particular divorce attorney or divorce law firm. Some of the points of information you want to ascertain during a preliminary consult with prospective counsel include:
- Overview of the experience of an attorney in representing clients in divorce matters, specifically marriage dissolution proceedings similar to your own.
- Explanation of how an attorney's office or law firm will handle your affairs as a client, including who in the office will be your primary point of contact.
- Specific information about fees and billing matters.
If you are like most adults in the United States, you have people in your life who have been through the divorce process. Somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce.
As pay of the overall due diligence process in finding an attorney to represent you in a marriage dissolution case, reach out to family, friends, and other colleagues for information about who they retained for their own cases. Through this process, you will be able to identify divorce attorneys recommended by people in your life you trust. You will also be able to obtain information about divorce lawyers who men and women you trust suggest you avoid. Both categories of information can prove invaluable when you are on your own search for divorce-related legal representation.Prepare a List of Key Questions Before Initial Consultation to Assist in Your Quest to Hire the Best Divorce Attorney
As part of taking full advantage of an initial consultation with a divorce attorney, you are well served by preparing a list of questions for that session with legal counsel. You do not want to go overboard in developing your question list. You do not want to skimp either.
A list of between eight and 10 fundamental questions pertaining to legal representation by a particular attorney is a reasonable list. These questions can include:
- Question about an attorney's experience in divorce law
- Question about a lawyer's education
- Question about court process in a divorce case
- Question about what role you play as a client in relation to the work of a lawyer
In a manner like obtaining recommendations of divorce attorneys from people in your life, you will want to obtain from any prospective lawyer you may consider hiring the names of references. Three references are an ideal amount. References can include former clients, but also colleagues in the legal community of a particular attorney.
When you obtain the names of references, be certain to reach out to these individuals. Time and again people seeking a divorce attorney will obtain names of references but never actually make contact with these individuals.Obtain a Written Agreement with a Divorce Attorney
Finally, make sure that the engagement agreement is in writing. The contract should specifically delineate the nature and extent of representation. Moreover, the agreement needs to specifically spell out all information relative to the attorney fee. This includes:
- Fee rate
- Amount of retainer
- How future billing will occur
As a final thought, bear in mind that a written agreement lessens the prospects that some sort of conflict arise about fees, billing, and payments. Moreover, if a fee dispute of some sort does arise, attorney and client can turn to the written engagement contract for guidance in attempting to resolve a problem. If you are looking for an experienced divorce attorney, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free consultation.