Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a huge decision, and how it’s handled can have lasting impacts on the rest of your life. Before hiring a divorce lawyer, you need to do your homework and go into the conversation with potential lawyers armed with the right questions. This will ensure you get the best lawyer for your unique circumstances. With over 40 years’ experience in divorce law in Melbourne, the team at Robert Wood and Associates are here to assist you with every aspect of the process. Here’s our guide to help you choose the best divorce lawyer for your situation.

Ask How Long They Have Been Involved with Family Law

This is an important question, especially if you believe your divorce is going to be difficult or contested. Divorce cases can often go to trial and if that happens, the lawyer will have to conduct cross and direct examinations, present evidence to the court and make objections to evidence among other things, so it is vital you choose an experienced solicitor with expertise in family law. To assess their expertise and experience, you can ask:

  • How many divorce cases have you handled?
  • How many of those cases were you able to settle out of court?
  • Do you believe it is better to mediate and negotiate than go to trial?
  • Do you have experience negotiating child support, spousal support, large financial and property settlements? 

Ask About Communication

Poor communication, especially involving such an important matter as divorce, will lead to added stress in an already difficult time. Find out how frequently and by which medium they will check in with you throughout the process. It should be clear from the beginning if emails or calls are preferred and speak up if you want regular face-to-face meetings to discuss your case. Lay out your expectations up front. A few questions to ask to streamline communication:

  • How often will you contact me?
  • Will I be contacted through you directly or through your team?
  • What will be the mode of communication: phone, e-mail, or in-person?
  • What is the typical turnaround time for a return call?
  • What is the best time of day to contact you?
  • Will I receive copies of documents filed with the court, all communication with my spouse’s legal representation and any other documents related to my case?
  • Will I be kept informed of all developments in my case?

Ask About Fee Structure

Specifically, you want to know whether they will bill you for each hour they spend on your case, or whether it’s a fixed fee. Complex divorce proceedings can sometimes take years to finalize, so you must be prepared for the financial implications. Some good questions to ask include:

  • Do any fees I pay include the services of any associates who work on my case?
  • Will there be extra fees if my case goes to court?
  • Will I sign a contract outlining the fee arrangement?
  • Are there any other costs that may arise later in the process? 

Ask How They See Your Divorce Going

After you’ve laid out our case shared the outcome you are hoping to achieve, the answer to this question will provide insight into your solicitor’s thinking and approach to your case. If they respond that you will have to go to court and battle it out, be prepared for a high legal bill and a lengthy process. If they talk about mediation and settlement options, this is a good sign that they will work to minimize court appearances and costs and work hard to achieve a speedy result. Experienced divorce lawyers should be able to advise a clear strategy to help you achieve your goal. They should also outline any red flags or challenges they think may arise throughout the process so you can better prepare yourself. You want your solicitor to be upfront and honest about the result that can be achieved.

If you are looking for highly experienced, compassionate and understanding legal practitioners to guide and support you thorough this emotional time, the divorce lawyers at Robert Wood and Associates are here to help. We encourage an open dialogue and aim to provide a comfortable environment where you can ask any questions and feel confident with the answers and advice you receive. Call us today to speak with one of our professional and friendly divorce solicitors.

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