When you said your vows, divorce law was the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, divorces happen for a variety of reasons. Ending a marriage can be an emotional and painful process that oftentimes involves complex legal procedures. Although, you may not think you need to hire a divorce attorney, not doing so may have an unexpected effect on the final outcome, so it's best to hire a qualified lawyer to help guide you through the process. It's easy to become overwhelmed during the divorce process, so when meeting with your divorce attorney you may forget to ask a few important questions. Here are five questions you should remember to ask the attorney during the initial consultation:
What is Your Fee Structure?
This is often a difficult question to ask, but you will need to know whether you will be charged an hourly rate or a fixed rate for all of the work performed for your case. If a flat rate is used, ask if there is a payment schedule or if the payment is due in full before the attorney begins working on your case. It is also important to ask what services are involved in the fees. For example, if your attorney feels there is a need for a private investigator, will these services be included in the flat rate, and if the fee is per hour, is the cost for the private investigator included in your attorney's hourly rate?
What is the Communication Policy?
When discussing the firm's communication policy, be sure to ask what the typical response time is for routine questions. It is also important to ask whether the firm prefers to communicate via email or telephone calls and make sure you specify which form of communication you prefer. Knowing the firm's communication policy can play an important role in how quickly your case moves forward as well as how you can expect to receive valuable information from the law firm.
Will You Be the Only Attorney Handling My Case?
If the divorce law office that you are working with has a high volume of cases, it is important for you to know their procedures on managing cases. In some situations, there may more than one attorney communicating with you throughout the procedure. If you are uncomfortable dealing with more than one attorney during your divorce proceedings, it is essential that you clarify this upfront.
How Will Child Custody Be Determined?
If you have children, one of the most difficult issues when ending a marriage is deciding who will have custody of the minor children. It is extremely important to understand that if both parties cannot come to an agreement; a judge will step in and make the decision based on the available evidence. It is important to for you to understand what factors are taken into consideration in order for the judge to make this decision, so you should ask your attorney to counsel you on exactly what you should expect.
How Will the Marital Assets Be Divided?
Another significant, as well as often time-consuming issue relating to divorce, is finances and how your marital assets will be divided. In most situations, if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on this issue, most states have a formula that will determine the division of jointly held assets. So, be sure to ask your divorce attorney to explain the legal framework for how the assets are divided in the case of a disagreement among the two of you.
Each divorce case is different in its own way and every state has its own unique requirements for how a divorce must be filed. The amount of time that it will take from start to finish varies depending on your specific situation. However, your attorney should be able to give you an approximate timeline as well as an overview of the steps you should expect throughout the filing process.
Check out a website like http://www.siouxlandlaw.com for more information and assistance.