A divorce is rarely stress-free. Not only do you have the emotional turmoil and financial uncertainty, but you may also need to navigate legal hurdles that often arise in a high asset or contested divorce. Knowing how to choose the right divorce lawyer is key in ensuring the process goes smoothly and your rights remain protected throughout your divorce. Here are a few questions you should ask when choosing a divorce or family law attorney:
What percentage of your practice is family law?
Some lawyers offer a wide variety of services, making them seem like an appealing one-stop shop for writing a will, incorporating your new business, and getting divorced. However, this is rarely a good option. You want an attorney who knows divorce and family law inside and out. Laws change frequently, courts interpret and re-interpret laws, and experience plays a major role when it comes to understanding the personalities and preferred procedures of different judges.
For this reason, you need a lawyer who does most or all their work in Spokane family law. Your lawyer should have experience with contested custody, high asset divisions, and complex financial situations. This experience will mean more skill and competency when it comes to your case.
What is your experience with high asset divorces or complex financial situations?
If your case involves high assets or complex financial situations, it is paramount to find a lawyer who handles this type of case frequently. There are a number of factors in play in a high asset divorce that go far beyond identifying and valuing the assets in a typical divorce.
Ask any potential Spokane high asset divorce lawyer about their experience with tax and debt issues, hidden assets, stock portfolios, business valuations, or any other complex financial matter in your divorce.
What about child custody?
Your children are the single most important thing to consider in your divorce, so it is important that you trust your lawyer has their best interests in mind.
Most Spokane family law attorneys have some experience with child custody negotiations. But when it comes to your time with your children, you will want a lawyer who can calm your fears and fight for the time you deserve with them. Contested custody, especially, requires an attorney who understands Washington State case law.
Do you think we will need to go to trial?
Most divorces or other family law disputes resolve out of court. Mediation or other settlement opportunities provide a time for reaching an agreement on some or all the contested items in a split. If this is a route you prefer, you need a lawyer who encourages mediation and helps clients strive for a more amicable split. However, your prospective lawyer should let you know that not all cases can reach a settlement, and some do go on to trial.
What is your approach to a Spokane divorce?
Asking this question is a good way to get a peek at the personality of a prospective lawyer. Say you need someone who is going to aggressively protect assets. You will want an attorney who is willing to do whatever it takes. However, if you need guidance through a mostly amicable divorce, this same lawyer probably is not for you.
You will need to find someone whose approach matches your desired outcome.
What is your communications policy?
Perhaps more than many other areas of law, Spokane divorce lawyers spend a lot of time in court and mediation. Getting in touch with your attorney is often difficult, unless they have a policy in place outlining when and how communication occurs. Ideally, you will want to know they return calls or emails within 48 hours, or that there is support staff available to you any time you have questions.
What is your fee structure?
Knowing how much your divorce could cost you is important. Many people shy away from asking about the cost, because it is not polite to talk about money.
But for most people this is an important consideration. Most Spokane divorce lawyers charge by the hour, and there will be an up-front retainer to begin. There will likely also be additional costs, such as filing fees, court costs, the expense of hiring appraisers or expert witnesses, and even copying costs for necessary documents. The lawyer should outline all this information in the fee agreement.
What are the possible outcomes in my case?
No Spokane family law attorney can predict the future, but his/her experience should give him/her a good idea of how your case could go. The lawyer can probably offer several scenarios, and tell you which are most likely. This allows you to get a good idea about the best and worst case scenario for your case.
Call a Spokane Family and Divorce Lawyer at Crouse Erickson
As Spokane divorce lawyers, we help our clients make the most educated decisions possible and then we advocate on their behalf to secure the settlement or judgement they deserve. You can reach one of our skilled Spokane family law attorneys at 509-624-1380 today.