Posted By AUTHOR eAttorneyQuotes.com Div. CandleGrove Media on 03/30/2018 in Law Tips

Tips for Men Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

Tips for Men Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

8 questions every man should ask when hiring a divorce attorney


There is no law mandating that you hire an attorney, but a successful outcome almost always depends upon doing so.

No matter what the reason is for your divorce, choosing an attorney is one of the most important decisions a party can make. By being very selective, you will have greater confidence in the representation and in the legal proceedings. Of course, you need to know "how much?" But do not base your hiring decision on legal fees alone – there is a lot more to the analysis than that, as you will soon see. Of necessity, you will be placing a lot of trust in the person you hire over the most important aspects of your personal life. Phoenix divorce attorney Scott David Stewart wants you to choose your attorney wisely and get answers to the eight essential questions that follow.

1. Is Your Law Practice Focused Exclusively on Divorce and Family Law?

With our courts continuously interpreting laws, our legislatures passing new laws and amending existing ones, our judges applying rules differently in their courtrooms, the last lawyer you need representing you is someone who dabbles a little in divorce cases. To navigate the ever-changing waters, you need a seasoned attorney whose practice is focused exclusively on divorce and family law. Someone who will be up to speed on the current laws affecting your case. Someone who has tried many divorce cases successfully has dealt with complex asset divisions and has handled contested custody matters. Look for the attorney who anticipates and strategizes with professional confidence built on years of experience.

2. What Attorney Credentials Do You Bring to the Representation?

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Any attorney that you consider must be knowledgeable about Arizona's laws and the federal laws affecting your divorce – insurance laws, tax laws, domestic violence laws, child support laws, child custody laws, and so much more. Before you hire, examine the profiles and credentials of the entire legal team at the law firm – from partners to associates, to paralegals. A favorable outcome in your case may depend upon it!

3. Have You Ever Been Sanctioned for an Attorney Ethics Violation?

Attorneys are held to high ethical standards with regard to the practice of law and to the customer service they provide to their clients. You need assurance that the moral character and legal competency of the attorney justify your hiring decision. The State Bar of Arizona regulates all of its attorney members and, when necessary, disciplines those lawyers with sanctions intended to punish for acts of professional misconduct. A grievance filed against an attorney may lead to reprimand, probation, suspension, restitution, and disbarment. If the attorney has been sanctioned, then you need to know about it.

4. Will You Be the Attorney Handling My Divorce or Will My Case Be Handed Off to Another Attorney With the Firm?

At some law firms, the attorney who meets with you at the initial consultation is not the one who will be representing you in court. Reject having your case assigned to the attorney with the lightest caseload that week. Reject assignment of an attorney because he or she "could use the experience" your case offers. If you are interviewing one attorney but will be represented by another at the same law firm, then take the additional time to interview the attorney who will actually be handling your case. Yes, you have taken up some of the firm's valuable time with the first interview. But really, is it asking too much to simply meet with your prospective advocate before you sign a representation agreement and pay a retainer fee?

5. How Much Will the Legal Representation Cost?

Find out how much you will be charged for lawyer services and what the retainer fee will be if any. Managing your legal expenses requires planning and budgeting. To budget properly you need to know when you will be billed, so ask what the attorney's billing practices are. Some lawyers will not send statements out to their clients for months at a time, resulting in surprisingly high bills covering months of services. As you get a handle on your finances during a divorce, you don't need bills that exceed the funds you have available to pay. Additionally, some attorneys will charge a premium rate for their court appearances. Make sure to ask how the lawyer's time will be billed when working on your divorce. Some law firms charge a 15-minute minimum for any task, regardless of whether the work took the attorney five minutes or 15.

6. Will I Receive Copies of Every Document in My Case and Will My Calls Be Returned Promptly?

When you interview a prospective attorney, be certain to ask how the law firm assures that you will have access to all case documents whenever you need them. You do not want the added worry of not knowing what has transpired in your divorce. And you do not need the frustration of being told to respond to pleadings that you have never seen and know nothing about. Unfortunately, some attorneys fail to provide their clients with copies of filed court documents (like motions from either party), orders issued by the court, or correspondences between the attorneys. To make matters worse, some lawyers chronically fail to return their client's telephone calls within a reasonable time (like within 24 hours of receiving the message). Do the attorney and the law firm have adequate internal management systems in place to assure that you are always apprised of what is happening in your divorce? Will you be able to reach your attorney when you need to, without unreasonable delay? If the answers to these questions leave you with doubts, then look elsewhere for competent legal representation and responsive customer service.

7. How Much Experience Do You Have With Complex High Asset Property Divisions and Finding Hidden Assets?

The division of assets and debts in some divorces may be very complex and openly contentious, which can be challenging for the parties, their attorneys, and the court. Adding emotional tension to an already taught situation, some individuals will attempt to conceal assets from the other spouse. Not all divorce attorneys are knowledgeable about business valuations, stock portfolios, financing matters, tax and debt issues, or how to identify and successfully uncover hidden assets. Before you hire, learn whether the person is experienced in dealing with complex and high asset divorce cases. Does the attorney know how to go about searching for clues to hidden assets? Knowledge of and a connection to experts in electronic discovery can help significantly in this regard. If you suspect your wife is deliberately concealing assets, then aggressive legal action must be taken by your lawyer to bring those assets before the court.

8. How Much Experience Do You Have With Contested Child Custody Matters?

If you have minor children, then it is essential that your attorney be experienced with contested child custody matters. You want to hire the person who knows how to avoid problems without diminishing your legal position. You do not want your attorney inflaming, intentionally or unintentionally, an already highly emotional situation to your kids' detriment. The attorney must be prepared to advocate your position through litigation if you and your wife cannot agree on custody.

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