Choosing the right attorney to handle your divorce will make a world of difference in how you experience the divorce process. You should shop for your attorney much as you would shop for a new car. You might like the way your neighbor's two-seater sports car looks, but you probably would not buy one if you had a family of six and needed space to fit everyone. Similarly, your neighbor's fierce and fiery expert in marital litigation may have been the right person to handle his divorce, but may not be the right attorney for you.
Educate Yourself With Regard To Your Choice Of a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
When choosing your divorce attorney, there are several things you need to know up front, such as how long the attorney has been practicing, what fields the attorney specializes in, and whether the attorney is a solo practitioner or an associate (or partner) at a firm. You can save money and time by answering these questions yourself by using your computer. Information on an attorney's license to practice is usually available online. Also online is information related to whether the attorney has been sanctioned, suspended or reprimanded. Once you have compiled your list of licensed attorneys with clean records, it is time to set up your consultation. Many law firms provide a free initial consultation. If the lawyer you are meeting with does not, make sure you ask in advance about the fee. On the day of your appointment, bring a list of the questions you want to ask the attorney. You may already have an idea of what to ask, but what follows is a list of questions every client should ask and explanations of why you need to ask them.
How Much Will My Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey Charge?
You probably have an idea of what you can afford to spend. Begin by asking how much the attorney charges per hour. Is he or she asking for a retainer? A retainer is an amount of money that a client pays up front. The lawyer will put the money in a special account, and each time a service is provided for the client, a fee will be deducted from the account until the case has reached its conclusion. It is important to note that if the attorney depletes the retainer before the case is over, the client may have to pay additional fees or provide a second retainer. The initial retainer will not necessarily cover all expenses.
You should also ask how fees are determined. How much will be charged for time spent on photocopying, mailing court papers, responding to phone calls and driving to the courthouse? You want to have this information up front so that you can monitor expenses. If the attorney charges for time spent talking to you on the phone, you will know to keep your conversations brief.
Is Mediation An Option In My NJ Divorce?
In the first few weeks after a couple makes the decision to divorce, things may be emotionally charged. As the parties come to terms with the new direction in which their lives are headed, they may consider settling the divorce rather than pursuing the long, drawn out process of litigation. It is important for you to know whether your attorney will support a decision to settle matters out of court. When meeting with your attorney, find out if he or she is experienced in divorce mediation. Is the lawyer more likely to settle the case than go to court? Have they been trained in collaborative divorce? It is difficult to predict how you will feel once the ball is rolling, so make sure to choose a lawyer that is willing to change his or her approach. If need be, the divorce attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are experienced in Ocean County and Monmouth County Divorce attorneys who are well equipped to handle your divorces.
What Is Your Ocean County Divorce Lawyers Availability?
An attorney's availability is crucial. You need someone who will meet with you at your convenience, not theirs. If you work six days a week, and have very few opportunities to take time off, make sure your attorney is willing to meet when you have time to do so. Additionally, you should ask what to expect in regards to phone calls. Will your questions be answered within a reasonable period of time? Is the attorney reachable after-hours in the case of an emergency?
You may be able to get an idea of your attorney's approach to clients before your first appointment. When you called to schedule a meeting, was your call answered promptly? Did you have to wait several weeks to meet with the attorney? Pay attention to signs that your attorney is overbooked or has limited availability. Also, make sure that you get a good feeling from the attorneys support staff.
Look For Red Flags And Go With Your Gut
Pay attention to how your attorney addresses your concerns. Does he or she listen to you when you are speaking, or do you find yourself frequently interrupted? Have your questions been answered or did the attorney take them as an opportunity to sell the law firm's services? Did he or she brag about celebrity clients or disclose details of other client's cases?
No one can guarantee the outcome of a divorce, so be wary of the attorney who promises the world. When leaving your first appointment, you should feel confident that your attorney would maintain confidentiality, advocate zealously, and handle matters expediently. Look for someone who understands your goals, addresses your fears, and will do their best to deliver a favorable outcome for your Monmouth or Ocean County Divorce.