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Questions to Ask When Hiring a Chicago Divorce Attorney

If you're going through a divorce for the first time, you will have lots of questions—most of which are best directed to an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. The lawyer can help you assess the situation, decide on a strategy and fill out Chicago divorce forms. He also can give you the support you'll need during this potentially difficult time. Because divorce cases are so personal, you'll want to find an attorney who not only is skilled but also puts you at ease and inspires your trust.

Interviewing Chicago Divorce Attorneys

Choosing a Chicago divorce attorney to represent you in your case is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. Before you’re ready to hire an attorney, you’ll need to make sure he's qualified to handle your case. You'll basically need to view yourself as an investigative reporter or a hiring manager—someone who asks a lot of questions to find the facts.

Chicago divorce attorneys will fully expect you to ask many questions before you decide whether to hire them. Most of them won't charge you for the meeting where you have the opportunity to ask these questions. That meeting is called an initial consultation, and it gives you and the lawyer the chance to find out everything you need to know about each other and the case. When you call to schedule your initial consultations, confirm that you will not be billed for these meetings.

Before your first initial consultation, you'll want to prepare a list of questions that will help you understand who each Chicago divorce attorney is and how he practices. The answers to the questions will help you decide which of the interviewed lawyers to hire, so take notes to use during your decision-making process.

The following are questions you can ask during your initial consultations. Note, though, that these are only examples. You may want to ask some or all of them, but you'll also want to ask questions specifically relating to your divorce case and the filing of Chicago divorce forms. Asking thorough questions will help you find out which lawyer is best to handle your case.

Questions About Background & Experience

These questions and others like them will help you evaluate the Chicago divorce attorneys’ related knowledge and skills.

  • What degrees do you hold and at which schools did you earn them?
  • How many years have you been practicing family law?
  • How many of your cases have involved Chicago divorces?
  • Which professional organizations are you a member of?
  • Have you received any awards or special mentions for your law work?

Questions About Fees

Cost is an important consideration in your hiring decision. Questions related to divorce fees and expenses will help you determine if an attorney's costs are reasonable.

  • How do you charge?
  • What is an estimate of your fees?
  • Does that estimate include expenses?
  • If expenses are extra, how much should I expect to pay for them?
  • When will I have to pay?

Questions About Case Assessment

Questions about your case itself will show you what the Chicago divorce attorney understands about your situation and what strategy he would take with your case.

  • What strategy would you follow for my case?
  • What are the potential outcomes?
  • Does anything in my case work against me? Work for me?
  • How is my case different from or similar to other ones you've handled?
  • What are the different stages in a divorce case and what happens in each one?

Questions About Case Management

Asking questions about case management will help you understand how your case would be handled on a daily basis.

  • Who will manage my case? Who else will work on it?
  • What is each of those people responsible for?
  • Will you represent me in court, or will someone else do it?
  • What's the best way for me to contact you?
  • If I send you an e-mail or leave you a message, how soon will you respond?
  • How often will you update me on my case?

Deciding on a Chicago Divorce Attorney

When you are done with your initial consultations, you should be ready to choose one lawyer to represent you in your Chicago divorce case. Review your notes and see if one lawyer stands out among the group you interviewed. If so, your decision will be clear. If not, get additional input by asking the lawyers for references. Although no two divorce cases are the same, hearing about another client’s experience with an attorney may help you decide one way or the other. Once you make an informed choice, you'll be ready to file your Chicago divorce forms and proceed with your case.