Did you know that you can interview divorce lawyers? And that you should since they are working for you and not the other way around. Many people, myself included when I went through a divorce, think that they have to kiss a lawyers ass when they are in a pinch and looking for legal guidance. Nothing could be less true. Most lawyers are dying for work and you need to make them earn your money.
There are a few questions that you need to get locked down before you enter an agreement.
What is your hourly rate?
Make sure you know their hourly rate because that is a key factor in how much your divorce is going to cost. My lawyer kicked ass, and I knew what I was getting into when I locked her in at $325 an hour.
Also ask how granular they get with their billing. I was able to negotiate down to 6 minute increments, that way a quick phone call didn’t kill me (but $32.50 for a 6 minute call is still pricey). Make sure you aren’t getting dinged for 15-30 minutes every time they read an email. Review your monthly billing statement and ask questions.
Do I have to keep a balance on account with your firm?
You might have to drop some money on your lawyer to get them to start work. I think I started off by depositing $1500 into her account to get the ball rolling, then received monthly billing.
What arrangements that can be made for payment of your services?
After about a year, when we realized we weren’t going to settle, and a full trial was in order, I had to negotiate payment with my lawyer. I had a townhouse that I bought prior to getting married and we felt it was going to be a safe bet that I would retain that asset in my divorce. Either way, I was able to convince her to proceed with my case and that I would settle up once the dust cleared.
You can probably work out monthly payments. It’s recurring income for them, and they can get a court order to recover fees. These people look out for each other (Judges, trial lawyers).
Additional Questions To Ask Your Divorce Attorney
Here are some additional questions to ask your divorce lawyer before putting them on retainer. Hopefully you can get specific answers. Even if the lawyer isn’t willing to go into specific answers related to your case, you will get an idea about how they think and will approach your case.
Regardless, be sure to get answers to these questions, you will save a ton of time (money):
- Under what circumstances should I have phone conversations with my
- Should I attempt to tape record in-person conversations with my
- Should I let my spouse know about routine medical or dental care
appointments I make for the kids?
- Should I provide my spouse with copies of documents I receive from the
- Should I hire a private investigator?
- Should I let my child’s school administrator know what is going on?
- Should I change the locks on the house?
- Does a custody dispute need to go to trial?
- What are the guidelines for spousal and child support?
- How is child custody decided?
- Should I have someone evaluate my relationship with my child?
- Should I have a psychological evaluation done on my spouse? ($$$)
- Should I have social services perform an inspection on the residence of
- What if my spouse attempts to alienate the kids from me?
- My kids want to live with me. Will their wishes be considered?
- What is a custody agreement? Do we need one?
- What is a property settlement agreement? Do we need one?
- Should I talk with my kids about where they want to live?
- How will a visitation schedule be created?
- Should we decide upon a neutral location for visitation exchange of the
- When can the judge deny visitation rights?