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    September 27, 2016

    10 Questions to Ask a Greenville Divorce Lawyer During Your Consultation

    If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you probably have a myriad of questions and may be feeling overwhelmed. This is perfectly understandable. Getting a divorce is a life-altering decision. There are serious financial ramifications and it may take an emotional toll on you, your spouse, and any children you may have. This is why it is so important to retain an experienced and competent Greenville divorce attorney to represent you.

    Consulting a professional in family law makes sense. You visit a doctor if you need professional advice on a health issue. You go to an accountant to discuss tax and financial planning issues. Sitting down and speaking with a Greenville, South Carolina divorce lawyer is no different.

    Most, if not all, competent and qualified divorce attorneys should offer an initial consultation to discuss your case. During this consultation, it is important you ask pertinent questions to determine whether the lawyer is the right one for you and what you should expect during the divorce process. Below are 10 questions you should consider asking any Greenville divorce attorney:

    Question No. 1 – How much experience do you have in family law?

    You do not want to hire a lawyer who works in tax law or corporate law to handle your family law matter. Like with most other professions, attorneys specialize in particular practice areas. You want to hire a lawyer who has actual experience representing South Carolinians in divorce cases and other family law matters. There are many intricacies and nuances that can only be learned through actual experience.

    Question No. 2 – How much do you charge for your legal services?

    This is an extremely important question to ask early in the process, for both you and the lawyer you are speaking with. It makes no sense to waste each other’s time if it simply unworkable on the financial end to go forward with representation. It is also important to bring the issue of legal fees up because lawyers routinely have different billing rates for in-court time versus out-of-court time, whether a divorce is a no-fault case or a fault-based case, and whether you and your spouse are open to mediating the divorce. If the attorney bills on a per hour basis, ask in what increments of time you be billed. Some attorneys break down their time into tenths of an hour, while other divorce lawyers charge a minimum for drafting letters, briefs, and motions or appearing in court.

    Question No. 3 – How much do you expect it will cost?

    In most divorce cases, a lawyer will not be able to give you a specific quote on their total fees. However, the attorney should be able to give you a rough estimate and a list of services covered by that estimate. You should be extremely skeptical of any divorce lawyer who quotes you a fixed rate or guarantees that your entire divorce will only cost a specific amount. The lawyers who engage in this form of marketing generally spend very little time on the cases themselves and task staff members with doing the actual work. It is a fact – you get what you pay for.

    READ  How Can I Prepare for Mediation for my Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina?

    Question No. 4 – What are the primary legal issues you anticipate we will have to deal with in my case?

    After you have given the lawyer an overview of your case (e.g., why you are seeking divorce, whether you have children, whether you own a home, etc.), the lawyer should be able to identify and explain some of the primary legal issues that are likely to arise in your case. For example, if you have children, the issues of custody and child support are going to have to be addressed before your divorce will be finalized.

    Question No. 5 – How do you typically communicate information to your clients?

    One of the most common criticisms levied against divorce attorneys is the lack of communication between the attorney and their client. You should raise this issue with the attorney early on and state your preference for how you want to be reached. If you prefer communication via e-mail or a phone call, your lawyer should be able to work with you and provide you with consistent updates concerning your case.

    Question No. 6 – Do you have a general game plan or strategy for handling my case?

    Depending on the facts of your case, the divorce attorney should be able to provide you with a general strategy for how to proceed with your case. One of the first steps will probably be to collect pertinent documents such as tax returns, mortgage deeds, bank statements, and so forth. But keep in mind, the strategy you discuss at your consultation is subject to change during the divorce proceedings since it is possible new facts will arise (e.g., you discover your spouse has been hiding funds in an offshore bank account).

    Question No. 7 – Do you have any experience litigating against my spouse’s attorney?

    This question is applicable if your spouse has already retained an attorney. It is important to know if your attorney has dealt with the opposing counsel in the past since it probable gives them some insight on whether the case can be resolved amicably outside of court, or whether you should be prepared to go to trial.

    READ  What Should I Know About Divorce Law in South Carolina?

    Question No. 8 – How much work will be done by your paralegal or other staff members?

    Most attorneys have a paralegal and/or other staff members who handle certain aspects of their client’s cases. Ask about their involvement. It is important to know that if you have a specific question, it may be better to contact their paralegal first before talking to the lawyer.

    Question No. 9 – Have you ever been disciplined by the South Carolina Board of Professional Responsibility?

    This is an awkward question, but it needs to be asked. If the attorney answers yes, you should learn all of the details before going forward. Why? Because the lawyer may have been disciplined for mishandling client funds or forging a document. These are serious issues you need to be aware of before deciding to hire that attorney.

    Question No. 10 – Do you stay in contact with clients after their case has concluded?

    At the end of the day, the practice of law is about relationships, especially with family law matters where there are serious emotional implications with getting divorced, arguing over child custody, spousal support, and so forth. It is important to know whether you will be treated like an actual person by the attorney and they will actually be concerned about you both during the case and afterwards, or if you will be treated like a case number.

    Contact an Experienced Greenville, SC Divorce Attorney Today for Your Initial Consultation

    The divorce process can be an emotionally traumatizing experience. Lauren M. Taylor, Attorney at Law, is here to help and will work to make the process as efficient and painless as possible. She is an experienced divorce attorney who proudly represents South Carolinians in all types of family law matters including divorce, child custody, spousal support, adoption matters, and so forth. Contact her office today to schedule a initial, confidential consultation.