Hiring a Divorce Attorney
How can I make my time with my attorney cost effective?
Attorney’s fees in most divorce cases are handled on an hourly basis. You can save money by saving your legal counsel time. A few ways you can make your divorce more cost effective include:
Begin with the best. Changing attorneys is costly, do your homework ahead of time and start with legal counsel who will meet your needs.
Be prepared and organized for your meetings. Make extra copies of any needed documents, keep them organized and properly labeled.
Communicate effectively. Consolidate your questions and information into one e-mail or phone call.
Inform yourself. Take the time on your own to learn about divorce in Virginia. While this should never be used as a substitute for the advice of experienced counsel, this education empowers you and can help frame your discussions with your attorney.
Take advantage of your attorney’s support team. When appropriate, use the paralegal assigned to your case.
What preparations are needed for my initial consultation? What should I bring with me?
Your first meeting is a chance for your attorney to get to know you and your situation, and for you to get to know your attorney. It is also the time to get some advice on any immediate issues, and discuss long term strategies. You can prepare by writing down any questions you might have, compiling any documentation you feel is pertinent to your divorce, and creating notes that include a chronology and summary of the events that have led to the separation. While bringing documents is not necessary, it may help to bring recent tax returns, bank statements pay stubs, important e-mails and letters, and other similar documents. You can also contact your attorney’s office and ask for a list of what else to bring to the meeting.
What should I expect in my first meeting with my attorney?
You should expect your attorney to ask a number of questions about you and your overall situation. Your attorney should give you some advice on your situation at the initial meeting, including what to expect as you situation moves forward. Your attorney should also give you clear guidance on the options available to you, and discuss what further work may be necessary.
What should I look for in a divorce attorney?
Finding legal counsel when beginning the process of divorce is much easier when you know what to look for. In your search, you should be searching for an attorney who:
- Dedicates all or a significant portion of his or her practice to family law.
- Has extensive experience, both in and out of court, with divorce and related family law issues
- Has a proven track record
- Is familiar with the court system in your jurisdiction
- Maintains a support team of paralegals and/or legal assistants
- You feel comfortable working with.
- Listens to your concerns, communicates clearly, and answers all your questions to your satisfaction
- Runs an organized and professional office
I am just beginning the process of divorce. What are my first steps?
The decision to divorce is not an easy one. This is a challenging time and making major decisions can be complicated by emotional issues. For many, divorce begins with finding an attorney to guide them through the process.
It is in your best interest to have an initial consultation with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney who will maintain your best interests throughout the procedure. Your attorney will help guide you through all the legal aspects of your separation and divorce such as:
- Property and asset division
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- How marital fault may impact the divorce
- Options for finalizing the divorce
Even if you are unsure of how you want to proceed, you should at least have an initial meeting with an attorney to have your questions answered and know your legal right and options.