4 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

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Posted on: 30 March 2016 by Gael Milton

Here are four important questions to ask a potential divorce lawyers before going ahead to hire him or her.

When you're going through a divorce, your mind is always fixed on "settling the scores" as soon as possible. And if you're like most people, chances are you’ll hire the first lawyer that comes your way—especially if a relative or friend referred you to him or her.

However, you need to be very careful when choosing a divorce lawyer, especially since many lawyers out there care more about their pockets than their clients. And since divorce is one of the most important events you can experience in your life, you need to have it handled by a competent lawyer who would place your interests above his or her own.

Here are four important questions to ask a potential divorce lawyers before going ahead to hire him or her.

1. What are your areas of specialization?

Although many lawyers will boast of their ability to handle divorce cases, not all of them are specialists in family law. It goes without saying, but a lawyer who exclusively practices family law or handles only divorce cases is better than one with a diverse focus.

That's not to say that a lawyer who handles different types of cases will not be a good divorce lawyer for you. But whenever you have many options, it makes more sense to favor someone who handles divorce cases all the time over someone with a wider focus.

2. How many divorce cases have you handled in this state?

The number of divorce cases your candidate has to his or her credit speaks volume about their experience—more is always better. But be sure to emphasize the "in this state" part of the question, as this alone can make a huge difference. You sure don't want to end up with a lawyer who has handled several divorce cases in another state but has just moved to your state and isn't very much familiar with the divorce laws there.

So, if you're in Arizona, for example, your best bet is one of Arizona's top divorce lawyers who has practiced for several years in the state and has successfully handled several divorce cases there.

3. Can I have some references?

A reputable attorney should be confident enough to give you the contacts of clients he or she has helped handle divorce cases in the past. Take your time to contact each of the references, and ask them about your candidate. What was their experience with your candidate like? Would they be glad to recommend him or her to others? Feel free to ask questions that will help you make a well-informed decision on whether to hire the candidate or not.

When asking those questions, don't just take yes or no answers. Ask for reasons. For example, if the past clients of your candidate say they would gladly recommend him or her to others, ask for their reasons.

4. How specifically will you charge me?

As the client, you have the right to know how much you'll be paying altogether before hiring a divorce attorney. So, ask how much your candidate charges per hour and how his or her fees are billed. Also ask how you're expected to make the payments and how much you need to deposit initially.

Be careful of lawyers who charge flat fees. Although paying a flat fee might make more sense to you, it will most likely be against your best interest because most flat-fee cases involve limited work. And if your divorce case will require multiple court appearances, the flat fee will most likely end up as a waste of money because it won't cover all the full services you need.

However, for summary dissolution cases or others cases that require just one court appearance, then a flat fee might be preferable.

While there are many other questions you might want to ask a potential divorce lawyer, these four important ones are just enough to help you select the right candidate for the job.

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