Going through a divorce is not anyone’s wish. And when inevitable circumstances force you into parting ways with your partner, it’s usually not one of the easiest decisions to make. The first impulse may prompt you to seek counsel from “legal experts” on the internet. You will also have family members and well-meaning friends bombarding you with thousands of legal advice. Let’s not talk about the dilemma on how to broach the subject with your children. Anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you that the journey can be pretty challenging.
In the midst of all this, the best thing you can do is seek sound legal advice from a qualified attorney. And this is where the other challenge arises—not all attorneys are the same. There are over 15 different types of attorneys, and each category has a distinct area of specialization. So, how do you get the right one from the vast pack? There’s only one way out—shopping around until you find an attorney that you feel understands your situation and is qualified enough to guide you through the divorce process.
Vanden Heuvel & Dineen S.C. has served eastern Wisconsin residents for almost four decades now. Based on our vast experience, here are questions we think you should ask a divorce attorney to know if they’re the best fit for you:
- How Long Have You Been Practicing?
Experience is crucial in any legal practice but even more critical in divorce law. And reasonably so—divorce processes usually have a lot at stake. From complicated financial issues to safeguarding your reputation, protecting your children from emotional damage, and the list is endless; there’s barely any room for error.
If you’ve been married for a year or two, have no children, and have barely created any wealth together, there may be no harm in contacting an attorney fresh out of law school. However, if your marriage has lasted several years, get an experienced attorney who can maneuver the intricacies of the divorce process.
- Do You Specialize in Divorces?
Law is a vast subject, and a complex one too. Getting an attorney specializing in family law guarantees you that they understand your scenario and how to maneuver through it. Ask the law firm what percentage of their cases they devote to divorce and whether they have attorneys specializing in family law. Also, find out the qualifications of their divorce attorneys and how long they’ve been practicing. An attorney who’s been exclusively handling divorce cases knows where potential loopholes are and how to avoid them. They also understand how to go about the bargaining process and have contacts with other experts who can help you build a solid case and streamline the process.
Specialization also encompasses how well the attorney is familiar with the judges and other court personnel. For instance, an attorney who’s practiced family law in Wisconsin for several years understands the judges and how they make their decisions. They can use this familiarity to bypass certain intricacies and deliver a favorable result.
- Which Strategy Will You Use for My Case?
Different attorneys have different approaches to divorce cases. Some prefer the “pit bull” strategy where they go all out and battle for the best deal for their clients. Others love quiet and peaceful negotiations where they handle everything soberly, and both parties reach a consensus. However, the crucial question is—which approach do you want? Find an attorney who is willing to rethink their strategies and approach the case your way. That notwithstanding, you should also consider the attorney’s advice on the route to take, given that they must have handled issues similar to yours before.
- How Much Does the Attorney Charge?
Divorce is costly and can even be more expensive when you contact an experienced attorney. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
Ask the attorney how much you will pay as a retainer and what it covers. Find out if they can refund you if you settle the case without using up the entire retainer. For instance, if you opt for a consensual agreement with your spouse or decide to find another attorney. Also, find out if they will charge you extra fees if you delete the initial retainer before the case is over.
Besides the retainer, the attorney might also have other charges for extra services. Ask if they have any additional fees and their hourly rates. The baseline is that you should understand where your money is going.
- How Long Will You Take to Solve the Divorce?
When you finally settle on getting a divorce, the chances are that you want to get done with it as fast as possible to resume your everyday life. Therefore, you might want to get an attorney who’ll help you solve the divorce case in the shortest time possible. Depending on the nature of your case, the process may take between 6 months to a year or even longer. For example, in Wisconsin, you need a 120-days waiting period from the initial service of the summons to the final hearing. And by this time, most cases may not be over.
- How Do I Contact You?
While it’s true that law is a busy field and attorneys spend most of their working hours in and out of court hearings and appointments, you should still get a guarantee that you won’t wait for days before getting responses to your queries. When you’re looking for an attorney, the chances are that the prospects will be available for questions and clarifications even at odd hours. Nothing should change once you’ve contacted them. Good attorneys will respond to you at least within 24 hours. Also, find out if you call, text, or email the attorney and during which hours. If the attorney is out of reach, they should have someone in the office to respond to your issues. For instance, at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen S.C., we have 24/7 customer support.
- How Will You Update Me On the Divorce’s Progress?
As we said, sometimes divorce cases may extend for years. You may not have time to attend all hearings, but the attorney should keep you in the loop. Ask if they will be sending you copies of every detail about your case and will be available for consultation if you don’t understand some parts of the documents?
Above all, find an attorney that puts their clients’ interests first. Vanden Heuvel & Dineen S.C. offers you just that and more. Throughout our 40 years of delivering top-notch legal services in Wisconsin, we’ve learned to value our customers and treat them with dignity.
We will work closely with you to deliver the best outcome possible. Call us now at (262) 250-1976 for help with your divorce process.