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Specialty tag(s): Divorce for Men, Pre-Divorce Guidance, Divorce, Divorce for Women

Preparing for a Divorce Consultation: Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer in Your First Meeting

Karen Bryson | June 13, 2024

photo of lawyer talking to client at a conference table

The beginning of a divorce is a tumultuous time. Anxiety or depression can make it difficult to focus and often lead to feeling lost or uncertain. Fortunately, an experienced family law attorney can help show you how best to proceed.

At Goranson Bain Ausley, we believe in empowering our clients with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate this challenging life event with confidence and clarity, and that all begins with understanding what divorce consultation questions to ask. Knowing which questions to ask a divorce attorney during an initial consultation can help ensure that you’re well-prepared for the next steps of the divorce process.

What Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer During a Consultation

What Are Your Legal Fees?

One of the most important questions to ask during a divorce consultation from a practical standpoint concerns their cost structure. It’s essential that you understand all of the fees associated with your chosen legal representation. Be sure to ask about hourly rates, retainers, billing increments, and any additional costs that may arise during your divorce proceedings. Transparent communication about fees will help you manage your financial expectations and planning. Sometimes unforeseen events arise during the divorce process that could either add to or alleviate certain legal costs. Open dialog about what is important to you, and what you would like to dedicate resources to in your case is a critical on-going conversation that should span beyond just the consultation.

What Is the Divorce Process Like?

Every divorce is unique, and the process can vary significantly based on your specific circumstances. Asking about general timelines and what to expect throughout the proceedings can help alleviate some of the anxiety you may be feeling. You should also discuss what legal options are best suited for your specific case facts. In certain circumstances it may be more favorable for you to attempt to settle matters outside of Court. Alternatively, some matters require immediate litigation. In your consultation with your attorney it is important to discuss both your case facts and Court appearance preferences so together you both can choose the path that is best suited for your case.    

Do You Have Experience With Divorce Cases Similar to Mine?

Experience is important, especially in divorce cases involving complex issues such as high net worthbusiness ownership, or child custody. During your divorce attorney consultation, ask questions related to your specific circumstances. It is important to provide your attorney with all the important facts of your case, whether they are good or bad facts. This will help your attorney asses the complexity of your case, set realistic expectations, and provide suitable solutions. Understanding your attorney’s experience with similar cases can offer reassurance and insight into potential strategies for your situation. Additional tip:  Ask your attorney about their experience practicing in the county your case is located in or in the particular Court that your case may be set in. It is sometimes helpful to know that your attorney is familiar with the local rules of that County and Court.

How Will We Communicate Throughout the Divorce?

Communication is a topic commonly overlooked when considering what questions to ask a divorce attorney in a first consultation, but it’s important for you, as the client, and your divorce attorney to be aligned in your communication expectations. Effective and timely communication is the foundation of a strong attorney-client relationship. Ask your potential divorce attorney about preferred methods and modes of communication (email, phone, in-person meetings), the frequency of updates, and the best way to reach your attorney for urgent matters. Additionally, share your communication style preferences with your attorney. If you prefer short concise communication or if you prefer detailed explanations step by step, do not be shy to tell your attorney how you would like to receive information regarding your case.

What Should My Next Step Be?

Before ending a consultation, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the next steps for everyone involved. It is very likely that there are tasks that your attorney will immediately begin to work on. There may also be tasks that your attorney needs you to immediately begin to work on as well, like gathering documents, or putting together a potential witness list, etc. Your attorney’s advice on urgent actions, potential negotiations, or preparations you need to make will help set the stage for a proactive approach to your divorce. 

Should I Continue to Communicate With My Spouse?

Your list of divorce consultation questions to ask should also include those concerning future interactions with your spouse. Navigating communication with your husband or wife during divorce proceedings can be a delicate matter, and it can be beneficial to gain guidance from an attorney experienced with these situations. Provide your attorney with information about your previous or current communication style with your spouse. Advice regarding future communication may help prevent unnecessary conflicts and complications, ensuring that any necessary interactions remain constructive, and that all important communication is preserved in the event that it is necessary for litigation.

How Will You Keep My Information Private and Secure?

The confidentiality and security of sensitive information are essential. Ask the attorney about the measures their firm will take to protect your privacy and secure your personal and financial data during the divorce. Specific security systems will likely vary between different law firms, but typically any documents that are provided to your attorney will be kept confidential and only available to employees within the firm, unless otherwise discussed with your attorney.

Can My Spouse Increase the Divorce Cost, and How Can I Prevent This?

Yes, your spouse’s actions could increase your legal fees, and sometimes those increased fees are difficult to avoid. There are many paths that will result in a divorce, and if your spouse chooses a costly or highly litigious path, some additional costs may be incurred to adequately address your spouse. However, understanding tactics that may increase your divorce costs and strategies to mitigate these risks can save you financial and emotional resources. Your attorney should offer practical advice on maintaining a cost-effective approach to your divorce, both during your consultation and throughout the divorce suit.

Will I Have Access to My Files?

One of the other important questions to ask during a divorce consultation that’s frequently overlooked is whether or not you will be able to access your case files and documents. This transparency will be essential for your record-keeping, so be sure to ask about how documents will be shared with you and the format in which you will receive them. Typically, any work product that is created during the course of your case, belongs to you, the client. Do not feel shy about requesting copies of any case documents at any time throughout the divorce suit.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Consultation

Now that you have reviewed what questions to ask a divorce attorney during a consultation, you’re ready to schedule one. Contact us today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced divorce lawyers, or fill out our online questionnaire to receive instant personalized feedback.

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About the Author

Clients can count on Karen Bryson to be straightforward, honest, and compassionate. She approaches each client’s unique story with genuine curiosity, offering guidance to navigate the best path forward. Her goal is to help clients acquire the tools they need to begin the next chapter of their lives successfully. When clients need her most, Karen is a dedicated advocate, giving her all.

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Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.

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At Goranson Bain Ausley, we strive to deliver clarity about what comes next and confidence that you and your family’s future are more secure. Contact our team and discover how we can help you.

“My goal is to empower clients to thrive post-divorce, whether that is through effective co-parenting, newfound confidence, or peace of mind, knowing they are going to be okay.”

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