9 Critical Questions to Ask Your Divorce Lawyer
Finding the best legal representation for your divorce can feel overwhelming. There are hundreds of options, and it may seem difficult to evaluate whether a lawyer is qualified and a good fit for your unique circumstances. When you are looking to retain an attorney, take consultations with a few candidates and make sure their skill-set, usual case type, and billing rates are compatible with what you have at stake in your divorce case. Read on for the 9 critical questions to ask your divorce lawyer.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Divorce Law?
When you hire a divorce lawyer, make sure that you retain an experienced one. You do not want a general practitioner who accepts whatever case type walks through their door next. If you have a lot at risk, you will want a State Bar of Nevada Board Certified divorce law specialist. Make sure to ask your attorney how long they have been practicing, and how long they have focused on divorce law specifically.
What Kind of Divorce Cases Do You Typically Handle?
In addition to divorce law specifically, it is important to retain a divorce lawyer that has worked on many divorce cases similar to yours. An attorney who primarily does uncontested divorces for a discount rate usually does not have the skills appropriate for a contested complex matter. So it is important to consider the facts of your case. Does your case involve a cross-state or international custody dispute? Do you and your spouse share complex assets such as multiple real estate holdings or a business? Are you and/or your spouse concerned about your privacy? Are you worried about your spouse hiding assets? Make sure that your divorce lawyer can tackle the issues that make your case unique.
What is Your Fee Structure?
Before you retain a divorce lawyer in Las Vegas, one of the most important things to know is how much you may have to pay for your divorce. Different attorneys have different fee structures; some charge by the hour and some have a flat fee for certain types of divorce cases. If you have a complicated contested case, do not expect an exact amount but rather a general range. Marital law cases can have many twists and turns that are impossible to predict. Additionally, no attorney knows how your spouse and their divorce lawyer will behave.
In your initial consultation, the prospective attorney should be comfortable when informing you of their fees. If they do not offer the information, ask about their fee structure and a possible cost range for your case. Reputable divorce lawyers have no problem answering this question. The absolute most important issue is to make sure that their fees are appropriate for what you have at risk in your divorce. In other words, you should never hire a high-powered divorce lawyer for a case where there is no financial or child custody reason to do so. Conversely, hiring a discount attorney for a complex matter is a huge mistake. This often results in you dismissing your first attorney and hiring a second one when you realize that your first choice is not up to the task. Further, your new divorce lawyer has to take additional time to “adjust” what your first lawyer has done and get you on the right course.
What is Your Communication Style?
The best divorce lawyers encourage you to communicate with them any time you have a concern. They are also prompt at responding to you. It’s a big red flag if your attorney or their staff is not communicating back to you. Some attorneys like phone calls while others prefer email. Some attorneys keep their clients updated very regularly, while others only update their clients when something important happens or when a matter requires the client’s input. During the coronavirus pandemic, it is even more important to know how your lawyer communicates, such as whether they have video conferencing capabilities. When you meet with potential attorneys, ask about their communication methods, and make sure that it lines up with your expectations and needs.
Who, Exactly, Will Be Working on My Case?
Some divorce lawyers will have support staff manage much of the issues of your case. While there is always a need for an attorney’s staff to perform skill appropriate tasks, they should not be in charge of your case. In these instances, you may believe that you are getting dedicated work from the experienced divorce lawyer (which is what you are paying for) when in reality you are not. In your initial meeting, find out whether your attorney will directly work on and manage your case. You may also wish to meet key support staff members that work under your attorney’s direct supervision so you are comfortable with the entire team. Every divorce matter in our law firm is directly worked on and managed by either State Bar of Nevada Board Certified divorce attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams or Vincent Mayo. There are no exceptions.
Do You Have Any Disciplinary History With the Bar?
It may feel awkward to ask, but it is important to find out whether your potential lawyer has ever been disciplined by the state bar association. In most states, you can contact the state bar and find out this information if you do not want to ask the attorney directly. If they have ever been in trouble, find out the details so you can evaluate whether their history will be a problem for you. They may have been disciplined for something as innocuous as being late with an annual fee for the state bar, or it may be something more problematic like misappropriating client funds.
Can You Help Me Understand All the Implications of My Divorce?
The effects of divorce pertain to more than just property divisions, child custody, and child support. Ask your divorce lawyer if they can help you understand and deal with other issues connected to your divorce, such as tax consequences, asset valuations, child custody experts, and other matters of concern. Most, if not all, experienced divorce lawyers know specialty lawyers and court certified experts in these areas. It’s not uncommon for divorce attorneys to consult with colleagues and experts in complex matters.
What Will My Divorce Entail?
Unless you have been through the divorce process in Nevada before, it is likely that you only have a vague idea of the process. A few words of caution: Do not rely on the input from well-meaning family members and friends. Their divorce case was unique, as is yours, and their experiences could very well be completely different than yours will be.
Different states have different divorce procedures and requirements. Moreover, depending on how cooperative you and your spouse are able to be, the time frame and cost for your divorce can vary widely. Ask your attorney to explain the steps involved in a divorce proceeding, the possible timelines, and what you should be doing while your divorce matter is active.
What is Your Strategy for My Case?
Once you have discussed your case with your divorce lawyer, ask them to give you an idea of their anticipated strategy. What will they do to protect your share of the marital assets such as real estate, investments, retirement plans, checking and savings accounts, etc.? What will they do about temporary spousal support and alimony? What’s their plan for child custody disputes? Get a sense of how they will handle the details of your divorce matter to ensure that they can properly fight for you.
Board Certified Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers
Our divorce lawyers in Las Vegas have decades of experience in all manner of divorce and marital law issues. Whether you are currently seeking a divorce, looking for a new divorce lawyer, or dealing with post-divorce issues, our legal team is here to help. Divorce lawyers Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo offer courtesy phone consultations at no charge. Call 702-222-4021 to speak with one of them about your important concerns.
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