•1) How much of your practice is dedicated to family law? The terrain of family law is ever-changing and your attorney should be intimately familiar with all aspects of the law relevant to your case. An attorney who dedicates his or her practice to family law will be able to guide you and set your expectations of the process. Ultimately, this will save you time and money.
•2) What do you think the result of my case will be? While attorneys are not clairvoyant, an experienced attorney should be able to give you some idea as to how your matter will be resolved. Will you be expected to pay alimony or child support? If so, about how much and for about how long? How will your business interests be treated?
•3) Can you go through the Retainer Agreement with me? This is the best way to ensure that you understand the billing process, how you will be billed and what your initial retainer payment will be. Further, this will cover what services will be provided to you and what will happen if your initial retainer payment is exhausted.
•4) How much will this cost? Many factors can increase or decrease the total cost of your case, such as your willingness and ability to resolve issues with the other party, the frequency of motion practice and how much attention you require from your attorney. Also, your attorney should advise you if you will need to retain experts, such as forensic accountants, employability evaluators or custody experts, as these experts will add additional cost.
•5) How long will this take? The time your case takes many times depends on you and the other party. However, your attorney will be able to give you some idea as to the total time frames and tell you the time frames for certain stages of your case which are set by Court rules. For example, your attorney can tell you how long it will take before your motion will be heard, or how long your spouse will have to answer a Complaint for Divorce once he or she is served.
If you ask the right questions, you should be able to make your initial consultation with your attorney productive, efficient and informative. You will also leave with a good sense of the direction of your case. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.