The right questions to ask when you choose your lawyer:

Why should I hire a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney? How does it help me to hire a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers? Open or Close

The laws that help families involve your children, your finances and your future. Hiring an attorney who keeps up with the changes and finer point in the law is one way to protect your family. An expert in family law helps you find long-term solutions for your family so that you can enjoy your future instead of being in court for years.

Do you focus on helping me identify and meet my priorities and get what I really want for my family, for do you follow a standard plan for all divorces? Open or Close

Standard plans don’t work. Your family is unique and your plan for your future must address your particular needs.

Will you help me if I want to negotiate directly with my spouse, without you? Open or Close

You are the expert about your own life. The best settlements come from being actively involved in finding solutions that work for your family. After you understand your rights and obligations, we will work together to come up with the best options for discussion. When you know your legal options, you can have the most productive conversations.

When and how will we identify my options and legal rights so that I can confidently plan for my future and try to settle my case? Open or Close

From the first time you talk to me, you will start to hear ideas that will help you envision a productive and manageable reorganization of your family’s schedule and finances.

What are the differences between litigation, mediation, arbitration and alternate dispute resolution? Which path is right for me? Open or Close

Alternate dispute resolution includes mediation, arbitration and other ways of crafting a good plan for your family that do not involve the Court. We will discuss and consider all options.

What is it like to work with you? Who is in charge? Who else in your office will know me and know about my case? Open or Close

At all of the attorneys at my firm use a “team approach.” I will be the partner who is primarily responsible for your case. You will meet an associate attorney and a paralegal who will manage the daily activity in your case. As you work with them, you may decide that you prefer for the associate attorney to handle the entire case and to make court appearance with you. We welcome that input from you.

Can we meet in person, talk by phone or use e-mail to work on my case? Open or Close

Yes! Just remember that e-mail is not always secure or confidential. If you use a family computer, share an internet account or cell phone plan with your spouse or children, mention that to your lawyer so you can discuss internet security.

How much will this cost and how long will it take? Who makes the final decisions about my divorce? Open or Close

You make the final decisions about how to settle disputed issues or choose other paths for resolving your divorce. I offer honest opinions about your options, which will include choices which impact the duration of your case and the legal fees that you may incur. Together, we will make the decision that makes the most sense for you and your family.

Questions the right lawyer will ask you

While you are interviewing the lawyer, the lawyer will ask you questions which need to be asked in order for her to give you an honest assessment of how she can help you. You may have already researched the lawyer and planned what questions you will ask at the first meeting. Listen to the answers and also to the questions that she asks you. This is her first opportunity to learn about you and she needs to understand the heart of your family.

A lawyer who truly cares about you and your family should ask you some of the following questions:

  • Tell me about each of your children. Are you worried about how your child will react when you divorce? Meeting your children’s needs must be the highest priority so be sure to tell your lawyer if any of your children have special medical needs, physical or emotional challenges, or if your son/daughter needs extra educational support for learning difficulties or special talents. If moving out of your home, and away from a special learning environment at school or sports program in the community, that needs to be part of the discussion.
  • What conversations have you had with your spouse about starting a divorce? What have you told him/ her about what you want? What have you learned about what he / she wants? Almost everyone figures out how to settle instead of going to trial. Getting and giving honest information about your expectations and opinions to each other can speed up the process. Going to mediation, or having a settlement conference, will be more productive if you know and disclose your priorities, and listen carefully to what your spouse says she wants.
  • How do you and your spouse divide financial responsibilities now? These responsibilities may include earning income, budgeting, paying the bills, sorting out insurance issues or setting aside savings. It is not uncommon for one person to have more knowledge about family finances than the other. Sharing that information makes it easier to discuss a fair economic plan for the future.
  • How do you and your spouse divide daily tasks for your children? Will you be happy if these patterns continue in the future or would you rather see some changes? Some patterns work, long-term. Others need to be reconsidered and revised so that your children’s needs are fully met.
  • When you separate from your spouse, you may have to divide the furniture and keepsakes that you have accumulated during your relationship. Giving up some of your belongings might feel like a hard thing to do. To help you identify the keepsakes that make your house a home, a perceptive lawyer may tell you to start thinking about the items that have sentimental value to you, like gifts that you have received from your family or simply items that you particularly like.