Questions to Ask When Interviewing a San Francisco Divorce Attorney
If you are thinking of filing for divorce in San Francisco or are in the midst of a divorce, you need an experienced San Francisco divorce attorney on your side. If you have never divorced before, you may not know how to hire an attorney. But by asking a lot of questions, you can find the right family law attorney to represent you in your divorce.
If your marriage is ending, you have already been through an emotionally difficult time. There are many different approaches you can take. Your divorce may be amicable, or you may need to fight for what is rightfully yours. California is a community property state, but you need to make sure you know about all your spouse or domestic partner’s assets to get what you are entitled to. A San Francisco divorce lawyer can help you decide on the right approach.
The initial consultation will be your opportunity to have an in-depth talk with San Francisco divorce attorneys. In this meeting, you can discuss your situation, get an impression of the lawyer and find out some answers to your questions about California divorce law. The ultimate goal of the meeting is to decide whether you want to hire the attorney.
Meeting with a San Francisco Divorce Attorney
You will have a lot to discuss in your initial consultation, so bring a list of questions. Also bring some writing material so you can take notes. There are several topics you should be sure to cover in your list of questions.
Background and Experience:
- When did you begin practicing law?
- How many cases divorce cases have you handled?
- Do you focus just on family law, or do you also practice in other areas of the law?
- Will you handle my case, or will someone else at the law firm do it?
- Do you belong to the Bar Association of San Francisco, the State Bar of California or any other bar associations and professional groups?
Tactics and Approaches:
- How long do you think my divorce proceeding will take?
- How often will you give me updates?
- Should I pursue an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce in San Francisco?
- If my spouse won’t cooperate, how do you suggest we proceed?
- If my domestic partner or spouse may be hiding assets, what can we do?
Child Support, Child Custody and Alimony:
- If we have minor children, how much child support will I receive from my ex, or how much could I have to pay in child support?
- What type of child custody arrangements can I pursue?
- Am I entitled to alimony, or is my spouse eligible for alimony?
Billing Arrangements and Rates:
- Do you bill by the hour or on a flat-fee basis?
- If you bill by the hour, what is your hourly rate?
- How much do I need to pay up front?
- If you use a flat rate, what is the rate?
- Does that include filing fees, courts costs and any other expenses?
- Considering my specific situation, what could be the cost of divorce in San Francisco?
After the initial consultation with a San Francisco divorce attorney, you need to think about your meeting.
- Did the divorce lawyer make you feel comfortable?
- Did the lawyer seem to understand you and your situation?
- Were the costs and fees reasonable?
If you are still not sure of which attorney to hire, contact references and get a sense of the attorney’s style, approach and effectiveness from a client.
Divorce is never easy or painless. But the right attorney will be with you at every step of the process. By asking a lot of questions, you can find the right San Francisco divorce attorney for you.