Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce, you need to have the right legal team on your side. An experienced, effective family law attorney can ease the process of divorce, helping you understand your rights and obligations and ensuring that you are protected every step of the way. Ideally, your attorney can get you what you want out of the divorce quickly and painlessly through a settlement. If you and your spouse cannot agree, however, it’s important to have a divorce lawyer who is ready to take your case as far as it needs to go. Below, we’ve compiled a few questions to ask a prospective lawyer during your initial consultation to ensure that they are the best divorce lawyer for you. If you’re facing divorce or other family law matters in New Jersey, consult with a dedicated New Jersey divorce attorney for advice and representation.
What Areas of Law Do You Practice? Do You Concentrate in Divorce?
When considering whether to hire a particular divorce lawyer, you should first consider their level of experience. How long have they been practicing law? Where did they go to law school? How many divorces have they handled? Do they specialize in family law, or is family law just one part of their practice? Law firms that handle every type of legal matter might not excel at family law. Make sure your attorney actually concentrates their practice in family law and divorce, and that they have enough experience to handle the intricacies of your case.
Do You Have a Record of Success?
Whether a lawyer’s prior clients are satisfied is one of the strongest indicators regarding that lawyer’s quality. Ask about the law firm’s previous matters, including settlements and trials. Do they have a record of success? Did their clients get what they wanted? If you happen to know any of their former clients, you can reach out to ask them whether they were satisfied with the attorney’s services.
What Is Your Fee Structure? How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
Your first conversation with a prospective divorce attorney should cover your anticipated costs. Ask about their fee structure–do they charge by the hour, by the task, or by the case? What other costs do they expect to arise, such as retainer fees for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, psychologists, and other expert witnesses? How will those costs be handled? The lawyer might not be able to give you an actual estimate of your total costs, but they should be able to explain what costs may arise and how you will be charged for those costs.
Do You Have Experience in My Type of Case?
If there are any special or unusual circumstances that apply to your case, make sure you raise those issues with the attorney early in the process. If your case involves celebrities or other high-profile individuals, for example, then you need a law firm equipped to handle the publicity side of things. Does your case involve complex assets such as joint ownership of a family business? Are you or your spouse a foreign citizen with foreign assets, such that international law may come into play? Make sure your chosen lawyer is ready to handle whatever twists and turns your case may hold.
Do You Have Mediation Experience? Do You Have Trial Experience?
Ideally, you can resolve your case through mediation and/or settlement. Most cases do settle before trial. A good divorce attorney will have mediation experience and will be well-versed in resolving disputes in order to reach an acceptable settlement. If you and your spouse cannot agree, however, then the case may proceed to trial. Make sure you hire a lawyer who knows how to handle a trial and who has a record of success at trial. You do not want to be on the eve of trial and discover that your counselor is a novice when it comes to presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and arguing in court.
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
When you hire a large law firm, you might think you are getting the partner–and you may even be willing to pay entirely based on the partner’s reputation–but in reality, your case will be handled by some junior associate. Make sure you know who will be handling your case at the firm. If your case is relatively simple, then you might benefit from the cheaper rate of a junior associate; just make sure you’re being charged the proper rate based on who’s doing the work.
Call Today for Seasoned Legal Help With Your New Jersey Separation or Divorce
If you need seasoned legal help with child custody, separation, divorce, child support, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.