If you’ve never been through a divorce, seeing a lawyer might feel a little intimidating. When you sit down with your lawyer, you may be unsure of how to go about it. Are you covering everything that needs to be covered? Lawyers cost money — you want to make the most of your time. The laws of each state are different. You need to make sure your lawyer is fluent in Texas law. You also need to make sure that he/she is an effective communicator. And, most importantly, you need to know what the process will be like moving forward. We’re going to go over some essential “must-ask” questions to ask a divorce lawyer in that first meeting.
Important Questions to Ask Your Divorce Lawyer Hiring Them
Before you officially hire a divorce lawyer, you want to make sure you’re both on the same page. Here are some things you should consider asking before you make the leap to hire:
“How often will we communicate?”
Do you need a lawyer that is going to keep you updated daily, weekly, bi-weekly? If you want a divorce fast, you need a lawyer who prioritizes communication. Are they going to call you or email you on the day of a new development? If they can’t, is that okay with you?
“How are you keeping my information secure?”
Peace of mind is huge in a divorce case. You don’t want anyone having access to your file aside from your lawyer and yourself. What is your lawyer doing to keep your personal information safe?
“Can I have a list of your references?”
Hiring a lawyer is like saying: “Come on into my life! Take a look around!” Are you 100% sure your lawyer is successful in what they do? If not, ask. Calling a list of references can give you the assurance you need. Those references will tell you about the lawyer’s relationships with clients in the past. The references will also tell you how successful your lawyer has been and how professional he/she has been in the past. If a lawyer refuses to give you a list of references, it isn’t a great sign.
“How much is my divorce going to cost?”
This is a big question. A lawyer will not be able to tell you exactly how much your entire divorce will cost. He/she doesn’t know what complications will arise, and it isn’t always predictable. But your lawyer should be able and willing to provide you with a broad estimate.
“What does this process look like from start to finish?”
Your lawyer should be very knowledgeable about the divorce process. Listen when he/she tells you about this. It’s a very good sign if your lawyer is comfortable giving you a step-by-step rundown on what’s about to happen. This is another thing that will give you peace of mind. What’s going to happen next? This will allow you to plan.
These five questions are a great start. They’re the five main questions to pose before you even think about hiring your lawyer. Remember: your privacy is important. Your rights are important. Your time is important. Don’t be afraid to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
Important Questions to Ask the Divorce Lawyer You Hire
So, what’s next? You’ve now found your lawyer and decided to hire. Now, you have more questions to ask. Hundreds of questions might be running through your mind. It’s easy to feel disorganized in a meeting like this. Here are some of the most important ones (especially if you have children):
“How does a judge usually rule on this type of case?”
This question is not going to tell you what the end result will be. It will, however, give you a good idea. Especially if there are children involved. You want to know what the common possibility is for the outcome. This will help to prepare you. You can also ask “what is the best-case scenario versus the worst-case scenario?”
“What kind of communication should I be having with my spouse?”
It’s important that you play by the rules. Take your lawyer’s advice on any and all communication between you and your spouse. You don’t want to do anything that’s going to hurt your case.
“Should I move out, or should my spouse move out?”
This could be a question at the forefront of your mind during this tricky time. You may not want to share a home with the person you’re divorcing. What is the best way to go about this? If you kick him/her out of your house, is that going to hurt your case? Or do you have the right to do it? Your lawyer will be able to answer this for you.
“Who gets custody of our kids right now?”
If you and your spouse are having difficulty figuring out who gets the kids and when, this is a crucial question. What are your next steps in this regard? Your lawyer will be able to direct you here. You may need other legal interventions that you hadn’t previously thought of. There are ways to do this amicably. There are also ways to make this easier on your child/ren.
“What do you think are going to be the biggest contested issues in my divorce?”
Being prepared, as mentioned, is great for your peace of mind. Awareness of possible problems that arise is going to be important. This allows you to prepare for any issues that come up.
You may or may not want to add more questions to your list. These questions are a great foundation. They will give you the information you need to get started. They’re also the questions that will bring you the greatest peace of mind. Remember that you can always go back and ask your attorney more questions later.