Choosing an attorney to represent you in a divorce is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. You need to select someone who treats you with dignity and respect; who listens to you and is sensitive to your particular needs; who is available when you need help; whose style is compatible with yours; and who concentrates his or her practice solely on family and domestic relations law. During your initial interview with a family law attorney, or in subsequent discussions, you should examine his or her experience in handling divorces that deal with issues similar to yours, such as:
Of the thousands of attorneys in private practice in Northern Virginia, only a few attorneys and firms limit their practices exclusively to issues pertaining to family law – divorce and separation. Of these, the firm of ShounBach is among the most highly respected in Virginia by members of the legal profession. By conducting background research as to the experience, reputation, and qualifications of an attorney, you will ensure a more satisfactory attorney-client relationship and a more productive resolution of your legal issues.
Following are several questions and answers provided by a Northern Virginia divorce attorney at our law firm: In order to save money on your attorney fees, you must try to cut down on the amount of time that your attorney spends on your case. Attorneys typically base their fees off of the time that they spend on your case, and so here are a few tips for saving money. If possible, make a list of your questions and consolidate them into a single phone call or email instead of multiple calls or emails.
Prepare your attorney with as much information as possible, and respond to his or her requests with neat and organized responses. Written summaries of events and lists of important information, such as contact information of key figures and account numbers, can also help speed up the process. If your attorney has a legal assistant or paralegal, you should try to utilize them in your case as much as possible.
In order to receive the most benefit from your initial consultation, you should bring with you any documents that you want your attorney to review. First, you should bring documents that include evidence of marital fault on the part of your spouse, such as letters, photos or emails that point to cruelty, adultery or desertion. You should also bring documents about the family’s assets so that your attorney can review your financial standings. If possible, you should bring checking account statements, appraisals and retirement/investment account information. In order to have a solid understanding of how divorce will affect your finances, it is helpful to bring information about you and your spouse’s incomes.
It is wise to keep notes about what has happened so far, and your attorney can review these notes as well as the documents that you received from the court or your spouse. The primary thing that you should do during your initial consultation is collect information. Your attorney will probably have paperwork for you to complete, so you should arrive early if possible. During your consultation, you will have time to observe the attorney and any paralegals that may be available to help you. Your attorney will usually ask you to explain your situation in its entirety, and it is important to be honest and open with him or her. Be very clear about your objectives for your divorce or family law matter and inform your attorney of any issues that may arise with your spouse.
You should also capitalize on this time to take notice of how the firm is operated. Does the firm appear organized and are there legal assistants or paralegals that will be available to help you? Is your attorney’s communication style and demeanor both professional and friendly? You should also observe the firm’s proximity to the courthouse and the number of attorneys at the firm.
By the time your initial consultation is finished, your attorney should provide a clear evaluation of your matter based upon the law, the attorney’s knowledge and experience. The attorney should also be able to provide you with reasonable advice as to how you should proceed in order to accomplish your goals. Some people think that hiring a divorce lawyer is an extra and unnecessary cost. While there some circumstances that make it impossible to hire a legal professional, here are a few reasons why you should consider doing so. First, your divorce attorney knows divorce law and stays up to date on current changes in your state’s divorce law. Secondly, a divorce attorney knows how and when to file petitions and motions with the court. Instead of spending countless hours trying to familiarize yourself with all of the legal requirements surrounding divorce, your attorney can handle these issues for you in a much more timely fashion.
Thirdly, a divorce attorney has experience negotiating issues like spousal support, child custody and property division. The outcome of these issues will have a lasting impact on your life, and you cannot afford to be unsuccessful in these matters. For more information about how a skilled divorce lawyer will benefit you.
Since 1975, ShounBach has served the Northern Virginia community. Our team brings over 200 years of combined legal experience and has grown to be one of Virginia’s largest family and estate law firms.