Asking your attorney the right questions gives you a broader understanding of divorce proceedings and also gathers more information to help prepare you for your case.
When you’re in the beginning stages of a divorce, things can be overwhelming to say the least.
In addition to going through a life changing event, now you’re faced with choosing an attorney to represent you.
During this stressful time it may be helpful to compile a list of questions BEFORE your initial meeting with the attorney, that way you won’t forget anything in the moment.
- Do you specialize in divorce? If so how many have you handled, how many were settled without having to go to court? Sometimes things can be easily agreed upon in divorce matters, but sometimes it can get complicated. You deserve to have an attorney represent you who is well versed in ALL areas of divorce law, not one who doesn’t have much experience.
- What are your fees? This question may seem like an awkward one to ask, but it’s a very important one. The attorney you’re meeting with should be able to give you a clear answer about their fees and how it will work going forward.
- Will I have to pay my ex-spouse’s attorney fees? Just like we discussed before, divorce cases can get tricky. In California, Family Code sections 2030 state that each party must have access to equal representation which means one spouse could potentially be responsible for their ex’s attorney fees.
- Who will be actively working on my case? Depending on the size of the law firm you’re working with, there could be multiple people working on your case. For example, if you have your initial with the managing attorney or a partner, they may have an associate attorney and paralegal also working on their team for your case. It’s good to know exactly who will be working on your case and who the main points of contact will be.
- How will my personal information be kept safe? During divorce proceedings, a lot of your personal information will be collected, such as social security information, property documents, etc. Ask your attorney how that information will be stored – most firms use secure file sharing software or something similar to make sure your information stays safe and confidential.
- How do you communicate with your clients and how long should I expect to get a return call when I contact your firm? Communication is key when dealing with your case, make sure your questions will be answered in a timely manner when you reach out to your attorney and/or legal team.
- What child/custody arrangements would you recommend for my situation? This question is very specific to your current family situation (and may not apply) and again where an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with custody agreements really comes into play.
- What can I expect in regards to receiving (or paying) spousal support? Again this is a question that may or may not apply to you, but if it does, your attorney should be able to review your information and give you an idea of what to expect regarding child support.
- How long does the divorce process take? There is no “one way” to get divorced. Sometimes an out-of-the-court divorce is an option and things can be resolved rather quickly, other times mediation is possible, or litigation is necessary. Your attorney should be able to recommend the best option for you, and give a general timeframe of how long it may take.
- What’s the best way to divide my property/assets? California is a community property state. This means that all marital assets, including property, are divided equally by spouses. Again, this is when a seasoned divorce attorney comes in handy as things with property and assets can get incredibly complex.
By asking your attorney these questions you’ll start off getting a great base line and general understanding of who to expect in your specific case.
When you’re going through a divorce, you deserve the absolute best representation possible. Our firm has proven success and experience in divorce law, as well as current knowledge of all its complex, changing laws.
Contact our firm today to go over your options.