Questions to ask divorce lawyer at first meeting

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Top 5 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney

Choosing a lawyer can be overwhelming. Not only do you want someone to be experienced, but you want them to be approachable too. A mix of professionalism and someone who is personable is necessary during what can be a very stressful time in your life.

Here are some questions that would be helpful to ask at an initial consultation meeting with a prospective lawyer.

1. How long have you been practicing divorce law?

Experience matters. Knowing the judges, the local rules, and opposing lawyers is very beneficial to helping you save time and money on your divorce. Actual trial experience is also invaluable for a divorce lawyer, as is experience in drafting and negotiating Separation Agreements, Pleadings, and Court Orders. Depending on the judge on your matter, can sometimes change the legal strategy. An experienced attorney is one who has experience with lots of different divorce cases, because a varied experience leads to someone who can help you formulate the best approach towards your case.

On the other hand, less experienced attorneys are at times less expensive, more up-to date about law changes, have more experience with online paperwork and communication, and perhaps could bring more energy and enthusiasm to your matter. You need to decide which approach best fits your personality and your case.

2. How many divorce or family law matters have you gone to trial with?

There is a big difference between simply working on divorce matters and actually preparing for and completing a trial. In Onondaga County, over 95% of all divorce matters settle before a full trial. It is invaluable to have an attorney that knows how and what to negotiate on your behalf.

Sometimes, lawyers will take every case to trial, which can lead to an excess of legal fees. In addition, some lawyers are hesitant to go to court at all. You want to find an attorney who wants to use their time and your time in the most efficient way to land the best results in your divorce case.

3. What is my case strategy?

This is a general question that requires legal knowledge and experience in resolving divorce matters to answer.

If the lawyer regularly works on divorce or family law matters, they should have a general strategy and be able to describe what the key legal issues are in your matter. On the other hand, if the lawyer is unable to provide information without any specific detail, this is a red flag.

Every divorce case (although unique) has certain specific legal issues to address. The lawyer should be able to critique your matter in at least general terms with a roadmap of helping you reach your goals and outlining the legal issues associated with your matter. Also, if you are anticipating conflict, the lawyer should be able to explain the pros and cons of an approach you might want to take towards your case.

4.  What does a divorce cost?

This is a question that should be asked and answered easily with a ballpark figure, or range. Divorces are billed based on the amount of legal time spent, so there is usually not a set price for all cases. However, when you give a lawyer information about your case and discuss a case strategy, they should be able to quote you a baseline amount.

If the lawyer has a set price, you may anticipate little to no work done on your matter should things become contested or if things are not agreed upon.

As a general rule, if the lawyer works at a large law firm, you can expect the prices to be generally higher and if the lawyer has a smaller practice, you can expect the fees to be lower.

5. Im having major disagreements with my spouse, what can I do right away to protect myself?

Make sure to communicate with your lawyer about any physical, emotional, or financial challenges you currently face or anticipate facing in the near future, due to the current relationship with your spouse. Some situations require urgent decisions, such as; needing an order of protection (physical or emotional safety), order to show cause (temporary custody, child support or spousal maintenance or exclusive use of the marital residence), temporary hold on accounts (financial safety). Clear communication is the best way to have a positive working relationship with your attorney.

New York Divorce Law is complicated so you should meet with an experienced divorce lawyer – even if you think your divorce will be easy or straightforward. The Underwood Law Firm is one of the few firms in the Syracuse area that offers free consultations on Divorce & Family Law so that everyone has an opportunity to speak with an experienced attorney about their case.

We have the experience to help guide you on your divorce. Our team will help you get the results you deserve.*

The Underwood Law Firm handles all aspects of family law including child custody, child support, separation, adoption and divorce cases in the following areas: Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Watertown, Oswego, Binghamton; Onondaga County and Madison County, including the towns, cities and villages of: Fayetteville, Manlius, DeWitt, Morrisville, Cicero, Liverpool, East Syracuse, Syracuse, Baldwinsville, Camillus, Clay, Fabius, Elbridge, Geddes, Jordan, Lafayette, Lysander, Marcellus, Minoa, North Syracuse, Otisco, Pompey, Salina, Skaneateles, Spafford, Tully, Van Buren, Eaton, Cazenovia, Canastota, Brewerton, Solvay, Central Square, Cato, Chittenango, Oneida and many other areas.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.