Five Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Virginia

questions to ask virginia divorce lawyer

Choosing a divorce or family law attorney can be a difficult undertaking. Depending on the complexity of the situation, it can be challenging for regular people to wade through the legal options and make the best choices for themselves. However, in general, when you’re meeting with an attorney, you should feel comfortable asking the attorney to explain unfamiliar concepts with you, and go over your possible choices.

I have provided a few questions you should consider asking during your initial interview with a divorce/family law attorney. These may help you determine whether he or she is right for your case.

1. Do you practice family law exclusively?

It is definitely preferable if your attorney ONLY practices family law. You want an attorney that is up-to-date on divorce/family law. Also, there’s a higher likelihood that your attorney would be familiar with your specific circumstances.

2. Have you handled cases similar to my situation?

Experience matters and you should definitely feel confident in your attorney’s abilities and familiarity with local laws and courts regarding family law.

3. Are my expectations realistic?

Once you tell your story in the initial consult, ask this question. The answer will help you keep everything in perspective and see what the attorney’s thoughts are. Some attorneys will promise a client the world to secure their business; you don’t want this. You want your attorney to be completely honest in his or her opinion.

4. Are there options other than going to court?

Court may be unavoidable in some cases, but the vast majority of divorce cases are resolved outside of court — and there are many ways to resolve a divorce case. Ask your attorney about options like negotiation, mediation, and collaborative divorce, and see if he or she thinks your case would be suitable for one of those approaches.

5. How does billing work at your firm and how can I keep my costs down?

You should clarify with the attorney how you will be charged — not only for his or her work product, but for other costs like communications and staff assistance. You should leave an initial consultation comfortable with the attorney’s billing practices.


Jessica Arena  
About the Author
Ms. Arena is a member of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar, a certified Guardian ad litem, and admitted to practice in Virginia and the United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia.
 
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