[A]s we started in the post, Six Tips for Hiring a Child Custody Attorney, you have Listen for Good Attorneys in Court, you have asked for Recommended Attorneys from Divorce Groups, and you have prepared 10 Questions to Ask Your Potential Attorney. It is time to go, vet, interview and meet potential lawyers.
This process may seem like a ton of work. I won’t lie to you, it is. However, take into consideration what is at stake: access to your children and the influence you will have, or not have, during these critical years of their childhood.
Take as much care and planning as you would buy a house with a 30-year mortgage. Therefore it’s probably not wise to hire the first attorney you meet. You will need to talk with several to balance the good from great. Remember over time you will come to trust this person with intimate details of your life. This person may become a friend, coach, and confident. A little pain now beats a lot later.
When meeting, most attorneys will allow you a free initial consultation. Clarify this before meeting for the first time. Dress professionally, be cordial and respectful of their time. I suggest the meeting should last no more than 30-45 minutes. Quickly explain the basics of your case, short version please, and then transition into your questions. Take notes and allow time for her to ask you a few closing and followup questions.
Should you run out of questions, here are 10 more to sprinkle into your interview:
1. Tell me about YOUR marriage and your kids?
2. How many cases do you handle in a year?
3. Of those, about how many are you currently handling?
4. What percentage of your cases have gone to trial vs. those have settled?
5. Will you always give me your honest opinion on everything, even if I don’t want to hear it?
6. How will you let me know what’s happening regarding my case and how often?
7. Are you more aggressive or do you try to reach a settlement?
8. Who else in the firm will work on my case?
9. What do you expect from me?
10. Money aside, do you want to take this case? Do you believe you can work with me?
Still looking for even more questions for your interview? Family Education has an exhaustive list in their post, How to Interview a Lawyer. Finally after polite “Thank yous,” the last question you should ask yourself, “Can I work and listen to this person for the next 2-5 years?”
What interview questions would you ask before hiring an attorney?
Fred Campos is father to three and primary custodian to his daughter Caitlyn from a previous relationship. Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net