Key Questions to ask a New Jersey Divorce Attorney During an Initial Consultation

The decision to seek and pursuit of a divorce is an emotionally and legally challenging experience. Consequently, when the decision is made to legally end a marriage, consulting with a qualified NJ divorce attorney is the order of the day. A person wanting to end a marriage is able to best protect his or her rights and interests by retaining an experienced, tenacious NJ divorce lawyer. Whether it is ensuring you receive all the property to which you are entitled, or if your primary focus is on becoming the custodial parent, a competent attorney can give you the best possible chances to reach your desired outcome in a divorce.

The first step in hiring a NJ divorce attorney is scheduling and attending an initial consultation. An initial consultation is a preliminary meeting that permits a lawyer the opportunity to obtain general information about a case. In addition, the session provides a prospective client with an opportunity to assess and evaluate the NJ divorce lawyer. These consultations are a crucial part of the process in selecting a NJ divorce attorney.

Because most attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, they limit the amount of time they offer. Therefore, preparation is fundamental to a successful initial consultation with a New Jersey divorce attorney. As a result, a set of specific questions need to be prepared in advance, and you should bring them with you to the meeting.

The Focus of a Lawyer's Practice

Questioning a lawyer about the focus of his or her practice is important. An attorney may advertise that he or she practices in the area of divorce law, but that may not be the focus of the firm. Although an attorney can successfully practice in different areas of the law, some people have a preference for a practitioner who focuses specifically on divorce cases. Even then, some lawyers specialize in high-value estate divorces, but do not have much experience in custody matters. The theory is that such a lawyer significantly hones his or her skills in that area when that is the sole focus of his or her professional endeavors. Determining what is most important to you and finding a matching skill set is ideal.

Education, Special Accreditations and Time in Practice

A person will also need to discuss a lawyer's education, time in practice and any special accreditations he or she may have received in the area of divorce or family law. In NJ, if the lawyer is a certified matrimonial lawyer, you can be confident that they have passed a difficult examination, received recommendations from their colleagues, and are in good standing within the industry of matrimonial law. Although a lawyer with less experience may be capable of decently handling a divorce case, depending on the facts and circumstances of a case, a person may want a more seasoned litigator.

The Attorney's Existing Caseload

Questions about a lawyer's caseload are also fair and important. A lawyer with a particularly large caseload may not have enough time for your case. A lawyer with a smaller caseload may not attract clients - and there may be a reason for this deficiency in numbers. Regardless, you should always ask who will be in charge of your case in the event the main fee earner is not around. If you have an urgent matter, you will need to ensure that someone in the office will be available to provide counsel.

Fees and Payment Schemes

Obtain comprehensive, thorough information about fees and payment expectations on the part of the attorney. For example, a person must find out what an attorney requires in the way of a retainer and what that lawyer assesses in the way of an hourly fee.

About Peter Van Aulen

Peter Van Aulen is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial attorney. He has over twenty-three years of experience in divorce and family law. Call his office today for a free 30 minute in office consultation with an experienced NJ divorce attorney at 201-845-7400.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances