Getting a divorce is fortunately something that most people experience only once or twice in their lifetime. Yet, that first meeting with your divorce lawyer is often intimidating. Not only are you under an intense amount of stress with your relationship breaking up, but you are also completely out of your element since you have never had a divorce before. Always keep in mind that divorce lawyers are just normal people who have made it their mission to help people through one of the most difficult times in their life, so to keep it simple: don’t be nervous. In fact, your divorce attorney is eager to answer your questions. Arriving with prepared questions like the ones below will make you feel more confident as you begin working together to complete your divorce process.
How Long Have You Been Practicing?
Ideally, your lawyer should have an impressive combination of education and experience that enables him or her to successfully advocate for clients. Knowing how long your lawyer has been practicing clues you in to their level of experience and their relationships within the community if you anticipate your case going to court. For instance, a lawyer who has been practicing for a long time will have be more likely to have some type of relationship with the judge, opposing attorneys, and be very clear about your state’s laws. It is important, however, to note that a recently graduated lawyer can also bring energy and passion to your case that makes up for their lack of experience. This is a personal choice that becomes easier to make as you develop a rapport in this first meeting.
Do You Have Experience With Situations Like Mine?
There are divorces that are so simple that you need a lawyer only to help get the paperwork finalized. Then, there are divorces that involve complicated divisions of assets or extensive negotiations regarding child custody and visitation. In this first meeting, you will share some of the details surrounding your divorce. Be honest so that your lawyer can let you know how they can help. The ideal lawyer for your divorce should be one with a proven track record of successfully handling similar cases.
Do You Think Mediation Is an Option For Our Case?
It is always preferable to keep your case out of court, provided that you and your partner can agree upon each component of your divorce. As your lawyer gets an idea of the circumstances surrounding your case, they will be able to let you know if mediation is an option. During mediation, you will be able to work with your partner to make your own decisions regarding things such as child support and visitation, instead of letting the courts decide.
What Is Your Preferred Method of Communication?
Knowing how your divorce attorney prefers to communicate helps you get the answers to your questions faster. Technology today has made it possible to do most of the work with your divorce attorney online, since documents can be scanned and emails, along with instant messaging, are excellent tools for streamlining communication. Working with your lawyer using strategies like these will minimize the amount of time that you have to spend in actual meetings so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.
What Should I Expect During The Entire Process?
By meeting with an attorney, you are already taking those critically important first steps to get a divorce, yet you must remember that every divorce is different. Ask your lawyer about what you should expect along the way for your specific case. For instance, you will likely need to gather information, meet with your ex-spouse to negotiate your agreement, and prepare for a trial if you cannot resolve your divorce through mediation. Understanding which steps of the divorce affect your case allows you to prepare mentally for what is ahead.
Once you have met with and selected a divorce attorney, you will feel more confident about taking the next steps to get your divorce. Since you will be working closely with your attorney over the next several months, and even years in some cases, developing a good rapport is essential for successfully resolving your divorce.