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What to Ask at Your Divorce Consultation

By: Allison Schreiber Lee

I was talking with someone the other day who told me that she did not know what she did not know and was therefore having a hard time asking questions about an upcoming divorce. Having represented people going through divorce for quite some time, I was able to provide her with a pretty general overview of the divorce process and of the issues that may arise in her situation. If you are going to meet with a divorce attorney, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • Do you have experience with the unique issues in my case?
  • What do you think I should do about documenting my/my spouse’s drinking/drug/mental health issues?
  • Have you appeared in front of the judges in my jurisdiction?
  • Are you familiar with the other family law attorneys in my jurisdiction?
  • What is your philosophy about going to trial or settling a case?
  • Have you tried a lot of cases?
  • What hours do you work, and how are you available to me (email, phone, cell phone)?
  • What if I have a question or an emergency that does not occur between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on a weekday?
  • Will you be working on this matter yourself, working with a team, or supervising an associate or other attorney?
  • What are your rates? If I want an attorney who bills at a lesser rate to work on my matter and just have you supervise, is that an option?
  • Do you have a paralegal and, if so, what is that person’s role?
  • How does an initial deposit work, meaning, will that cover all of the work or, if not, how often will I have to replenish it?
  • Do you think my case is a maintenance (also referred to as “alimony”) case or, if not, why not?
  • Will I have to pay my spouse’s attorneys’ fees?
  • Will they have to pay mine?
  • Can I move out of the house now?
  • Should I get a restraining order?
  • Is there something I should be doing to protect myself?
  • Is there anything I should be looking out for?
  • Is your initial meeting free of charge and, if not, what does it cost, and how long will it last?

You should also list your concerns about the future and have the lawyer address them. Your divorce attorney should be someone you are comfortable with, so make sure that you feel confident in their ability to answer your questions.

For any family law issues, please contact the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.

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Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee is a seasoned trial attorney and has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. In 2011, Ms. Schreiber Lee was co-lead counsel in one of the longest jury trials in the history of the City of St. Louis. Ms. Lee has also tried more than 100 non-jury trials to verdict, including representation in divorce and modification hearings.