Choosing your divorce attorney is a lot like picking out a new car to buy. You need to know the cost of the car, the different features the car offers you and your family, and really, how you can get the most for your money from the car in the long run. Similarly, these are just a few of the same things to consider when choosing your divorce attorney. You would never just choose a random car you found on Google, or pick a car based solely on someone else’s experience, so why would you do that with your divorce attorney? There are enough attorneys in Chicago, that if you do your research and prepare for your meetings with potential attorneys you will end up with someone you feel comfortable with and someone that you trust with your case.
6 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Divorce Attorney Consultation
Your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer should provide you with information on how the divorce process works, information about your legal rights going into the case, and your obligations as a client. Tip The most important step to preparing for the consultation is to
Tip 1 – Prepare a List of Questions You Want Answered
Make a list of questions to ask the attorney during the consultation. Doing this will ensure you don’t forget to ask something important or something you might have been thinking about for some time. There are no wrong questions to ask. For most, the divorce process is scary and completely foreign, and attorneys understand that. So, they know to expect questions.
Tip 2 – Learn About Your Options for Getting Divorced
When most people picture divorce, images of screaming attorneys, contested court hearings, and emotional clients come to mind. However, in reality, divorce can actually be a much more calm, organized, and court-free process. Your divorce case does not have to start by jumping into court and start arguing. Couples and their attorneys can instead initially work together to try to amicably resolve the case with the best interest of the family as a whole in mind. There are resources such as divorce mediation and the collaborative divorce process that you can use to resolve your case. Make sure you ask the attorney during the consultation if these options might be right for you.
Tip 3 – Have Knowledge Of Your Marital Finances
Plan on bringing basic financial documents with you to your initial consultation, or have them handy nearby if your consult is over the phone or on Zoom. The basic financial documents you will want to have include:
- Income tax returns;
- Recent pay stubs and W-2 forms for both yourself and your spouse, if you have access to them;
- Current mortgage statements;
- Current bank statements; and
- Current credit card statements.
The more financial details and hard numbers you can bring to your consultation, the more specific advice the attorney will be able to provide.
Tip 3 – Ask About the Attorney Fees
Understanding how the attorney fees work is important so that you are not confused or lost when you read your monthly invoices. This also ensures you know what to expect as to what the monthly bill might be so you can set a budget. On that note, be sure you have a budget regarding attorney fees so you can figure out what attorneys might not work for you based on that specific budget, and which are more wallet-friendly.
Tip 4 – Ask the Attorney About Their Experience With Similar Cases
You should be aware of how long the attorney has been practicing and if divorce or family law is their main practice area. Often more important than the length of time an attorney has been practicing law is if they have sufficient experience regarding the specific family law issues in your case. Divorce can be complex especially when children and marital property issues are involved. Ask about their experience with financial aspects of the case as well as the parenting side of things if there are minor children to think about.
Tip 5 – Have a General Idea About What You Want From the Divorce
Although you may not be completely knowledgeable about the family laws that might affect your case before your consultation, you should still go into the meeting with some idea of the financial and child-related results you are looking for. Let the divorce attorney know realistically what your goals are, and how you hope to accomplish those things.
Tip 6 – Listen and Be Open During the Consultation
Listen to what the attorney tells you during the initial consultation. They are the expert in divorce issues and will know best how to advise you. As experienced Chicago divorce attorneys, we know this is a tough process for anyone to go through. But good or bad, you need to consider all of the advice a divorce lawyer provides so you have the ability to make the most informed decisions for yourself and your future.