6 Things to Ask a Family Lawyer Before Hiring
Divorce is never easy, but the right attorney can smooth the path. The “right” lawyer is not only well-qualified in the family law field, but has a working style and personality that meets your needs and expectations. When you meet with a prospective Singapore divorce lawyer, ask these six questions to determine whether you’re making a good choice.
How long have you been practicing family law?
Depending on the complexities of your case, you’ll generally want a divorce lawyer who has had a substantial amount of family law experience. An experienced divorce lawyer will have insights about the process that a newcomer or generalist lawyer is unlikely to have, and is more likely to have handled cases similar to yours. That said, don’t necessarily dismiss a newer divorce lawyer, particularly if you have a relatively straightforward case or they’re working under the wing of a more established lawyer. The important thing to consider here is that even the young lawyer should be backed by an experienced team, should unforeseeable circumstances arise.
Have you ever encountered any cases like mine?
If your divorce raises some complicated or unique issues, you will want to make sure that the lawyer has had specific experience handling those types of cases. For example, if you need an international divorce, you’re married to a narcissist, or you suspect your divorce will go to trial, you should ask the divorce lawyer how often –and how–they’ve handled these kinds of situations.
Will someone other than you be handling my case?
The lawyer you’re meeting with may also have lawyers assisting with your case. Ask who else might work on your divorce, their title, position and experience in the law firm, and the nature of the work they’ll be doing. If possible, try to meet with or schedule a call with that person as well.
What is your policy for responding to emails or calls?
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get in touch with your lawyer and receive no response. Ask the lawyer whether they have a policy with respect to responding to emails or calls: how fast do they return calls? Will they respond on weekends? Some lawyers are better at keeping in contact than others–be sure that the lawyer you’re interviewing has a style that matches your needs.
How will you keep me updated on my case?
Ask whether the divorce lawyer has a policy for keeping in touch with clients. Will they contact you only when there’s important news on the case, or will they schedule a regular call to touch-base? If you would like more frequent updates, propose an alternative and ask them whether they’d agree to modify their policy.
What are your rates and fees?
Your lawyer’s fee is likely a critical factor in deciding whether to hire them. Ask them for their rates and whether they charge a fixed-rate fee, fee range or an hourly rate. To avoid unhappy surprises, don’t forget to ask for a breakdown of expenses, and at what points you can expect to receive a bill.