Engaging in the process of filing divorce does not require that you hire the first attorney that you meet with. For one reason or another, you might determine that you need to shop around before settling on a final decision. Here are several questions you should ask your potential attorney before agreeing to take them on to assist you in your Texas divorce.
How Many Family Law Cases Has Your Firm Handled?
Many firms like to advertise themselves as practicing family law, but this does not always mean that your attorneys come with the commensurate experience you might expect from a talented family law firm. You should be able to tell relatively quickly if your firm has helped numerous individuals through the process of divorce. When this is the case, you’re likely to be more confident in their ability to handle your case.
Who Will Be in Charge of My Case?
Bigger firms tend to advertise that they have lots of resources, but this often comes at a price: sometimes work gets handed off to researchers or paralegals. This isn’t to say that paralegals or researchers can’t do their part or that they are wholly unqualified, but you may want to know upfront if someone else is actually going to be doing the work on your case.
Divorce is very personal and it may ease your fears to know the exact person that you’ll be communicating with throughout the process.
What Are the Estimated Costs? Do You Charge a Retainer?
Each divorce case is unique and it’s very unlikely you’ll get an exact number, but an attorney with experience in the field can probably give you a ballpark of the costs you may need to invest. Many Texas family firms work on a retainer and on an hourly basis. The more complex your case is, the higher the chances are that your estimate will be bigger. Typically, the most complex cases are those involving contested child custody, but you and your spouse may have difficulty coming to agreement on other terms that can also delay your final decree.
Are There Other Costs?
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be other costs associated with it. This might include physicians, forensic accountants, or private investigators. At the outset of a case, your attorney might have a better idea of what tools and resources should be used to help prepare your case in the most effective way for court.
What Are Your Communication Guidelines?
Who will you be talking to during the process of your divorce? Who are you supposed to provide documents to? If you leave a message for your attorney, what’s a reasonable timeframe to get a response? If communication is critical for you, find out ahead of time what you can expect. Not setting up expectations at the outset of a working relationship can be problematic for the future, so you want to have an idea of what to do well in advance.
Don’t hesitate to take notes and use your findings to help you select the family lawyer right for your situation.