One of the most frequently asked questions about hiring a divorce lawyer is, “What questions do I ask?” To help you ask the right questions so you get the answers you need during an interview of a divorce lawyer, the Divorce Lawyer Questionnaire is copied from Divorce Strategy.
Use the following list of questions to conduct an interview and learn information about a divorce lawyer before you hire that person to represent you.
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How much of your entire practice is specifically in family law?
- What is your hourly rate?
- Do you have other people who usually work on your cases with you? If so, what is their profession and experience? What do you charge for their time?
- What do you anticipate is the role that these people will have in my divorce?
- What is the retainer amount? Is any of it refunded if I should change my mind or we decide to not go through with the divorce?
- What other types of charges besides attorneys fees will there likely be? (long distance telephone, copies, facsimile charges, etc.)
- Describe a time line for how you believe my divorce will progress.
- Do you have a set procedure for handling a divorce case., If so, please describe how you would proceed with a typical divorce case.
- What do you expect from me as a client?
- What percentage of your divorce cases are resolved by a trial versus the percentage that are settled?
One question that isn’t on this list is: “Given the facts of my case as I have presented them to you, what do you believe is the best, reasonable outcome that I can expect to get from the divorce?” Unless you are paying for a consultation, most divorce lawyers will not answer that question in full until after you have hired him or her to represent you in your divorce. Even then, some divorce lawyers will “hem and haw” and tell you that there’s no way to know what the outcome be as it is all in the hands of the court. You shouldn’t accept that answer. The answers to these types of questions are very important to you as they will become the basis for your evaluation of any settlement proposal. Keep pushing for specific answers to specific questions.