You’ve decided that divorce is your only option moving forward. Hiring a divorce attorney is the next step, but how do you know when you’ve found the right divorce lawyer? During each consultation, use your time to ask plenty of questions. This process will be stressful and consume a large part of your life in the coming months, so you want to be sure you have the right legal team on your side.
The team at Coumanis & York is here for you during this challenging time. Schedule a consultation with us now by calling our Daphne office at 251-990-3083 or our Mobile office at 251-431-7272.
How much of your time is spent on divorce cases?
Ideally, you’ll be able to choose an attorney who spends the majority of their time working on divorce cases. If they just do divorce cases “on the side” or as an income boost for their main area of practice, it’s unlikely you’ll get the attention and expertise you need.
Who will I be in contact with if I have questions or concerns?
At some large firms, you’ll meet with a big-name attorney for your consultation but then be passed off to paralegals and legal assistants whenever you call for an update. Make sure you know who you’ll be talking to if you choose to go with their firm.
What costs should I expect beyond the quoted fee?
Your attorney should tell you what their hourly rates are for divorce cases, how much your retainer will be, and the rates for anyone else working on your case. However, there will likely be other fees to budget for, such as forensic accounting, private investigators, and financial planners. It’s important to know what you’ll be responsible for before you sign a contract.
What’s your ballpark estimate for how much this divorce will cost?
Watch carefully how an attorney answers this question. If your attorney is honest, they’ll say that a huge range of factors contribute to a divorce’s final cost, and they may give you a general estimate based on what you’ve told them. If they immediately answer with a low number that sounds too good to be true, they may just want your business—even if it means lying.
Can you help me minimize conflict and work toward peaceful resolution of issues?
Conflict-laden divorces can be a huge source of revenue for attorneys, as both sides get to charge more when they spend more time negotiating with adversarial spouses. If your goal is to preserve your co-parenting relationship and get through the divorce with minimal stress, make sure you don’t choose an attorney who refuses to compromise.
How do you prefer to approach disputes in the divorce process?
The right answer to this all depends on how you hope to approach your divorce. Perhaps you are tired, and you simply want the marriage over with minimal financial damage. In that case, you may be more open to compromise that speeds the process along.
Maybe you have children, and you want a solid coparenting relationship, so you’d prefer to work with your spouse versus against them. Maybe your spouse wronged you and you want to get every single penny out of them you can. No matter what, make sure your attorney’s approach matches yours.
What should my top priorities be as I prepare for divorce?
This can be a revealing question. An attorney with your best interests in mind will prioritize what you prioritize in your divorce, rather than expecting you to follow what they think is most important.
How do you expect a judge to look at my case?
A strong family law attorney should have a working knowledge of the family law judges that may be assigned your case. This gives them insight into how your specific issues will be viewed by the court.
Can I get my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees OR will I be forced to pay my spouse’s attorney fees?
In Alabama, one side may be ordered to pay the other side’s court fees if there is a massive earning discrepancy or other factors at play. You want an attorney who answers this question honestly, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to hear.
Discuss Your Legal Options with Coumanis & York
Divorce is a little easier when you have the right legal team on your side. To find out how we can help you with your divorce needs, reach out to us online. You can also call our Daphne office at 251-990-3083 or our Mobile office at 251-431-7272.