By now, you’ve likely heard all about the different things you need to ask a family law attorney before you decide to work with them. Since hiring an attorney to represent your interests in a family situation is such a personal matter, it is a pretty significant decision that will directly impact your case’s outcome.
Alongside the questions you may already have prepared or in mind, add the following three crucial ones that you must ask any family law attorney before you decide to go with them.
What Percentage of Your Cases Go to Trial?
Despite what you may have seen on TV or in the movies, very few divorce cases actually go to a trial. However, this is still an important question to pose to your attorney because the answer will give you insight into whether the firm is right for you. For example, if you are hoping to resolve your family law case through mediation and you learn this particular attorney takes 80 percent of their cases to trial, you may decide you’re not going to be best served by that attorney.
Similarly, if you already have trial dates set for your family law issues, you probably don’t want an attorney who has no real trial experience.
Who Would Handle My Case?
When you first go to a consultation with an attorney, you may meet with the firm’s owner or a partner as this is common practice. However, after the consultation, your case could be passed on to another attorney if you decide to go with that firm. At some other firms, you may work with the attorney you meet originally.
Neither of these practices is poor, but you might have a preference when it comes to which attorney you want to work with. You will want to know what to expect once you decide to go with a firm, and that includes their process for handling cases such as yours.
What Are the Billing Details?
It is very important to know just how you will be billed for your case, including any initial retainer, the firm’s expenses, and court fees. An initial retainer may be charged, and that amount will depend on the work that is involved in your case, how complex the issues are, and other factors. It’s always possible you will end up having to pay more than your initial retainer because of factors involved in your case.
Find out what work the attorneys will complete versus the work that their support staff will do, the billing rates that apply for each staff member, and how the firm handles internal expenses involved with your case, such as copying expenses and postage fees. The court will also have its own filing fees, which may come out of your retainer or be paid by you separately.
When you have a complete understanding of how a firm’s billing works from the start of your case, you will have an easier time understanding your bill and how your actions could add to your expenses. It’s also far easier to budget for your legal expenses when you have a better understanding of what those costs may be.
Always make sure you are confident in and comfortable with your family law attorney before you engage them. You will have to be very honest and direct about personal matters with your attorney, so you will need to be comfortable enough with them to do so. Since they will be representing you in a very sensitive matter, it’s crucial that you have faith in their ability to do so from the very beginning.