At the end of my last blog (Part 1), on hiring a Kalamazoo divorce lawyer, I said that after we talk and decide that mediation might not be for you that I would then recommend the right kind of lawyer.
Here I want to list a couple of questions you might want to ask that prospective divorce attorney.
1. Do you specialize in family law and divorce? If not how much of your practice is devoted to divorce work and how long have you been practicing.
Comment: There are a number of highly qualified and experienced attorneys in Kalamazoo. Naturally, with their well deserved reputations, they tend to get the high asset and high conflict cases, and just as naturally, they charge the highest fees.
You need to evaluate the facts of your case realistically to see if you really require a high powered attorney.They’re usually very busy and may not be able to give your case the attention you b elieve it deserves. They may assign your divorce to a junior associate you might not want.
You may want to shop around and find a young, less experienced attorney if your case is relatively simple. For example, there may be few assets to divide and no major fights over child custody, parenting time or support.
A new lawyer, especially one who has access to the advice of a more experienced mentor, will probably be eager to take on your case. It should b e less expensive and you’re more likely to get the personal attention you might not get from the “star” attorney.
2. Ask the attorney what your options are in getting a divorce. You should be told about the benefits and drawbacks of alternatives to an all-out contested court battle. The lawyer should review mediation, arbitration, collaborative practice, and even about a do it yourself “kitchen table” agreement where you and your spouse work out the settlement and the lawyer merely handles the court paperwork. (Be aware that a lawyer can only represent one of you in the divorce; he/she can’t represent you both.)
Be sure the attorney has explored all the options.
Of course, find out how much and for what services you will be charged, and whether you have to pay a retainer and if you can use a credit card. Ask how long the process will take and what the total cost is likely to be.
3. If the attorney brushes aside the alternatives and wants to litigate the case aggressively with promises of a large award for you, then you may want to continue shopping around. Otherwise, the only large award could be going to the lawyer.
I hope this has been helpful. More later.