Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer During the Initial Consultation


If you have decided to file for a divorce, it’s a great idea to speak with a series of divorce lawyers through initial consultations to determine the right attorney for you. These consultations are intended to give you some insight into the approach your attorney will take, the rapport you have with them, and to get a greater understanding of what you may expect as your case moves forward. We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer during this initial consultation, so that you are able to get a good feel for the professional you will hire to help you through the divorce process.

Are you experienced with divorce cases?

This may seem like a strange question to ask during your initial consultation, but may be the most important question of the meeting. It is important that you understand your attorney’s level of experience with divorce cases before you begin the process with them, because it is equally important to trust the work they are doing. A good attorney will not take offense to this question, as they understand the importance of trust and that you know they will guide you in the right direction.

How many divorce cases have you handled?

This is another very reasonable question to ask at the beginning of your consultation, since it will give you a tangible idea of your attorney’s experience. Again, understand how important it is to trust your divorce attorney and their process as you move through your proceedings.

What are your fees?

Divorces are not cheap, and a good attorney isn’t cheap either. A good attorney will, however, be able to make it very clear what they will cost and how they charge. There are few things worse than being shocked by an invoice from a lawyer because you avoided discussing fees, payments, and billing beforehand. It is important that you understand the payment schedule in addition to what services you will be paying for and what amount.

How should I proceed with the first steps of the divorce?

Depending on where you are in the divorce process, your lawyer will have specific suggestions for how to carry forth. If you are hiring a divorce lawyer in Schaumburg, Illinois, you are required to be separated from your partner for a period of six months before moving forward with the divorce. Depending on your circumstances, there are a variety of options your attorney may recommend you take, which is why it is important to understand these options on your first meeting.

Do you believe that this divorce will be complicated?

All divorces are different, depending on a wide variety of factors. Yours is no different, so it is important that you lay out the facts of your marriage, cause of divorce, children, mutual assets, and everything else relating to your case in your first meeting. While your attorney may not be able to give you an absolutely certain answer to this question, it is important that you have a general idea of what to expect as you go through the process. In some instances, divorces are extremely simple and require a brief hearing. In other cases, a divorce can be a long and complicated process that takes a significant amount of time and resources to finalize.

What sort of time commitments should I plan on through this process?

This is a very important question to ask your divorce attorney, because you will likely need to make scheduling adjustments in order to fit in meetings with your lawyer, court dates, and more. The better you are able to plan for your time commitments to the divorce, the sooner you will be able to move through the steps and finalize your divorce papers. You may need to communicate these expectations with employers, child care, family, or others who rely on your availability.

How long do you believe my divorce will take?

Again, while your divorce attorney will not be able to give you an exact answer to this question, it is very helpful to have a general understanding of their opinion in the matter. After discussing the level of complexity, possible time commitments, and having a general understanding of the specifics of your divorce, it is very beneficial to have a broad idea of what to expect. Given your circumstances, your lawyer will be able to set your expectations.

Am I able to seek alimony for my divorce?

Alimony depends on many different factors of your marriage, including length of marriage, each party’s financial situation, and more. After you have laid out the details of your divorce, your lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not pursuing alimony is realistic.

Will I need to pay alimony for this divorce?

As with seeking alimony, your requirement to pay alimony is extremely specific to your marriage and divorce. Your lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of what to expect after discussing your situation.

What issues will I have to consider for child custody?

There are many issues to consider if the question of child custody is involved in a divorce case. You will be able to discuss your hopes for custody, as well as likely outcomes in the case, with your attorney as you discuss the overview of the situation.

How will child support be calculated?

Child support is calculated by a combination of number of children, ages of the children, income of the parent required to pay child support, and more. There is no cut and dry formula, and is dependent on a judge’s ruling in your case. As you move through the case, it is very helpful to know what your likely outcome is, so that you are not surprised if and when child support comes up.

What is the likely outcome for my custody?

During the consultation, you will be able to discuss the family dynamic, children involved in the divorce, condition of your spouse, and more. There are a variety of factors taken into consideration with custody questions, and can vary greatly from case to case.

How will our assets be divided?

Depending on your financial situation, your spouse’s financial situation, and a variety of other factors such as length of marriage, the types of assets you share, and more, the division of assets can vary. As your attorney begins to understand your case more, they will be able to give you a general idea of what to expect from the divorce.