Questions to Ask When Hiring a Florida Divorce Attorney
Before deciding to hire a Florida divorce attorney, you should schedule a preliminary meeting to discuss your case. At this meeting, called an initial consultation, you can take the time to describe the specifics of your case and learn more about the lawyer's relevant experience.
Here are some questions to consider asking before hiring a Florida divorce attorney.
Background & Experience
Questions to ask about an attorney's experience and education include:
- How long have you been handling divorce cases?
- How many divorces do you handle in an average year?
- Where did you attend law school?
- Have you previously handled divorce cases similar to mine?
- Do you have experience using mediation or arbitration in divorce cases?
- Do you have any other experience or special training that's relevant to my case?
- Are you a member of the Florida bar?
- Optional: Do you also handle child custody cases?
Assessment of Your Divorce
Questions to ask about the attorney's assessment and opinion of your divorce include:
- What is your opinion of my case?
- What kind of divorce settlement can I reasonably expect to receive?
- Would you anticipate any potential problems that could cause delays or affect the outcome of my case?
- What is the likelihood that we will have to go to trial?
- How long does a divorce like mine typically take to complete?
- Is mediation or arbitration an option in my case?
- Optional: I know Florida is a no-fault divorce state, but my spouse committed adultery. Will I be entitled to more alimony?
Questions to ask about how your divorce will be managed include:
- Do you have the time available to handle my divorce?
- Will you personally be managing my case, or will another attorney have that responsibility?
- Will other attorneys or experts be working on my divorce? What will they be doing?
- How frequently will you provide progress reports and what will be included in those reports?
- Will you personally handle my divorce negotiations and court appearances?
- Will you be my day-to-day contact?
- What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?
Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your divorce include:
- How much do you charge?
- How frequently do you send out bills?
- When is payment be due?
- Do you require a retainer payment?
- What other fees and expenses will I have to pay?
- What do you estimate would be the total cost of my divorce?
- What is the likelihood that my spouse will be required to pay for my legal fees?
- Optional: Are there less experienced lawyers or paralegals who can do some work on my divorce at a lower rate?
Legal Philosophy & Style of Offering Divorce Legal Advice
Questions to ask about an attorney's style of practicing law include:
- What is your philosophy or approach to handling divorce work?
- How will you present options to me? Will you tell me what to do, or are you more likely to offer options and expect me to make a decision?
- How would you describe your personality as an attorney?
Wrapping Up Your Meeting
Before ending the meeting, ask the lawyer if there are other questions you should have asked, or anything else the attorney wants to tell you. What else you should know before deciding whether to hire him or her?
Hiring a Florida Divorce Attorney
After you've met with one or more Florida divorce attorneys, take the time to reflect on your meetings and compare each lawyers answers to your questions. If you felt uncomfortable with an attorney's experience, philosophy or attitude, eliminate that lawyer from consideration. Can you afford the legal fees? Did you feel particularly comfortable with any one attorney?
The decision to hire an attorney is a very personal one. You shouldn't hire an attorney just because a friend or family member used the attorney. Your lawyer will be your advisor and advocate during a major life event, and you want to hire someone you trust.
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