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You don't want to hire a divorce attorney without asking a few questions first. After all, depending on your issues, you may not even need a divorce attorney.
Because divorce litigation can be expensive and exhausting, you'll want an advocate by your side who is worth every penny.
With that in mind, consider asking your potential divorce attorney these five questions:
1. Can You Give Me a Timeline of My Divorce?
You may end up seeking a divorce with your potential attorney, but you need to know that he or she has a good sense of how your case will go. Ask for a timeline of your divorce if you chose to pursue it.
This will give your attorney a chance to give you a step-by-step overview of the divorce process in your state, as well as cue you into any deadlines or waiting periods.
2. What Is Your Experience With Divorce Cases?
A family law attorney may be experienced in various types of family disputes, but not necessarily divorces. Be direct. It's not rude to ask your attorney how many divorce cases he or she has handled, or what percentage of the firm's time is devoted to divorces.
This will give your attorney a chance to discuss his or her legal experience -- hopefully in a way that impresses you to hire him or her.
3. Are You Also Experienced in Child Custody/Visitation?
If you have kids, child custody problems are likely to pop up as a result of your pending divorce. The same goes for visitation issues. You'll want an attorney who won't hand you off to other counsel once the divorce is wrapped up but your kids are still in the mix.
Ask about your lawyer's experience in handling child custody and visitation cases -- especially with clients in situations similar to yours.
4. What Can I Reasonably Expect From My Divorce?
You need to ask your attorney, if you hire him or her, what you can reasonably expect out of litigating or mediating your divorce. Your attorney should be able to paint you a range of likely outcomes based on your case, giving you a good basis for what to expect.
5. How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
Your attorney should be able to provide a rough estimate, all told, of what your divorce may end up costing. This should include court fees, attorney's fees, and potential costs of mediation.
Of course, each divorce case -- and each lawyer -- is different. Talk to an attorney soon to see if you he or she is a fit for your needs.