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).