For most people, hiring a divorce attorney is something they have to do for the first time. Shopping for the right attorney is different than searching for the right pair of shoes. There are some questions that you will need to ask before you hire to make sure you get the right fit for your needs and your budget. Below are some questions to put at the top of your list.
What is Your Fee Structure?
You may not have a lot of available cash so working on contingency sounds like the ideal solution for you. Once your case is settled, you will have the cash to pay your attorney. The problem is that the method of payment that sounds the most convenient could end up costing you a lot more. Get the specifics about whether the attorney charges on a per-hour basis or at a fixed rate. Keep in mind that a divorce that drags out for months or even years could end up costing an astronomical amount at an hourly rate.
What are the divorce requirements for your state?
A good divorce attorney will know the specific requirements for divorcing in your state by heart. Attorney Peter J. Russo explains that when filing for divorce in the state of Pennsylvania, one of the two spouses is required to have been a state resident for a minimum of six months immediately before filing.
Do you specialize in divorce?
Divorce falls under the heading of Family Law, along with a number of other areas of law. You need the expertise of a divorce attorney who has in-depth knowledge of the state divorce laws and who has handled a lot of divorce cases. The little details that an inexperienced lawyer might miss could have a serious impact on the outcome of your divorce case.
Will other lawyers in your firm be working on my case?
If the answer is “yes” you should be able to meet with and question them the same as you are the primary lawyer in your case.
Do you offer mediation services and what are your qualifications as a mediator?
In Pennsylvania, divorce mediation is a popular process for couples who want a faster, more affordable resolution to their divorce. The process offers numerous advantages over litigation but it requires the skills of an experienced mediator. Not only should they have extensive experience as a litigating divorce attorney, but also as a divorce mediator.
Do I only have one option for filing a divorce?
Depending on which state you live in, your only option may be to file a no-fault divorce, which is exactly like it sounds. There are also some states, including Pennsylvania, which offer the option for at-fault divorce but it requires the filing party to prove that the other spouse was the cause of the end of the marriage. A good divorce attorney can advise you on your options and guide you on which type of divorce to file for.
In addition to providing you with all the right answers, the right divorce attorney for you is someone you feel comfortable with and have confidence in to get the best results for you.