EP 89: Ask Your Divorce Attorney These 3 Questions BEFORE Paying that Retainer

Episode 89 of the Divorce and Your Money Show discusses three questions that will help you understand the differences in quality of legal representation.

The nature of a divorce is a legal affair, so your lawyer is central to your team.  However, do not be fooled by grandiose offices or high fees. All attorneys are not the same, and you need to know the differences.  Below are three questions to help you.

1) Are they experienced and persuasive?

The job of an attorney is to persuade others, so you can get what you want from the arrangement.  In the first meeting, ask yourself if they seem persuasive to you.  If not, move on. The odds are that they will be even less persuasive with the other legal team.

Also, understand how much time they devote to family law.  Family law can vary from county to county, and it is different from other types of law. Therefore, make sure it is their main competency.

2) How will they interact with you?

Remember, this relationship is client/provider. Therefore, you should understand how you will be in communication, and how often you should expect to hear from them.

Are all meetings face-to-face, or will they be using email? You should know ahead of time.  More importantly, how much is the minimum charge per communication?

3) What is the full scope of services provided?

Are they going to use the same legal process that you prefer?  Do they employ or have access to a financial team of specialists?  Lawyers are competent with aspects of the law, but not necessarily with the intricacies of forensic accounting or the financial world.  It is important that you understand what you are signing up for.
Key Learning Points
Divorce is a legal process, and finding the right representation is key.  These three questions will help you make an informed decision about the right representation for you:

  • Are they persuasive and experienced?
  • The job of your attorney is to persuade your ex-spouse and their legal team to give you what you want from your divorce.  If the attorney does not persuade you, they won’t persuade a judge.  Also, make sure they devote most of their time to family law.
  • How will they interact with you?
  • Will they only meet face-to-face? Email? And most importantly, how often?  Also, understand what the billable hours are for each interaction.
  • What is the full scope of services provided?
  • Attorneys are experts at law, not numbers.  Do they employ (or coordinate with) a team of specialists?  If not, that burden may fall on you.


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