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What Should I Ask a Tulsa Family Law Attorney During the Consultation?

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Beginning the divorce process is not easy. Most individuals have never experienced the family law system before, and navigating the court process can be overwhelming. Hiring a family law attorney helps prepare you for the process, helps protect your rights, and provides information and education on the process. Tulsa family law attorney

The Importance of the Attorney-Client Relationship

Choosing a family law attorney is not a decision to take lightly. This professional will know intimate details of your relationship, your finances, and your children.

Most of us do not meet a complete stranger and begin discussing how our marriage ended. However, that is precisely what you will be doing. Being represented by a family law attorney that is both assertive in the court room and empathic in your private meetings is ideal.

You should meet with several family law attorneys before making your decision. If an attorney does not offer a free consultation, usually that is a red flag. Below are the best questions to ask during the first consultation.

Can I Tell My Story?

It is wise to write down facts of your marriage, such as when you were married, if you have children and how many, their ages, each spouse’s employment, education, and any special needs that you, your spouse or children have. Include any other facts, such as if you own a business or home together, and if you have any major assets or debts.

Being able to give your potential family law attorney an outline of your life is important, and a good family law attorney will listen. If the attorney jumps into asking you irrelevant questions, then might consider whether the fit is. On the other hand, what matters to you might not be the most important element to divorce lawyer at this time.

It can be tempting to unburden oneself of the grief of a marriage gone wrong by spilling dirt to a divorce lawyer. Your attorney might not see so much benefit in retelling every argument that led up to the divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you recognize which dirt is best swept aside and what is relevant to a divorce proceeding.

For example. a spouse’s wasteful spending while a marriage disintegrated might matter to you, but divorce courts do not typically relitigate marital spending. Your divorce lawyer would be more interested to find out if the other spouse has hidden assets or debts that could affect an equitable distribution of marital property.

Likewise, notice when your new attorney focuses on questions related to child custody and support. Chances are, the attorney is framing questions to gain specific information related to legal requirements which could determine those custody or support decisions.

Being able to tell your story and connect with your potential attorney is important in the beginning and shows that the attorney is willing to take the extra time to listen to you. Yet you are paying for this time, so trusting an attorney to guide you toward relevant parts of your story can save money and potentially reduce frustration.

Do You Favor Mediation or Trial?

Trial is expensive and most attorneys try to avoid it as much as possible for their clients. Mediation is a process where mutual compromises are made outside of court and a marital settlement agreement is drafted.

Mediation is preferred by many clients because it is less stressful and less expensive than participating in a trial, and the decisions are ultimately in the hands of the spouses, not the judge.

A trial requires many hours of billable time, and many family law attorneys’ fees increase if they have to be present in trial. The decision maker at a trial is the judge, not the spouses.

How Do You Bill Your Clients?

Knowing when and how you will be billed is important. You want to know the amount of a retainer and how it is applied. Asking the average number of hours your case will require each month will help prepare you for payments.

Ask about supplies that you will be charged for as well, like paper copies or stamps. Another area of billing to ask about is communication. It comes as a surprise to some clients that attorneys bill for talking with clients by phone or email. Make sure you understand the cost of a phone call and an email. Ask your attorney’s preferred method of communication.

The most important concept in this section is to be knowledgeable about fees. Do not be afraid to ask questions and to keep keep yourself apprised on your account balance.

If the Tulsa family law attorney you are meeting with is not able to answer these questions in a friendly manner, it may not be the attorney for you.

Who Will I Be Working With?

Many clients are surprised when they hire a divorce laweyr then end up working with the lawyer’s paralegal most of the time instead. Although this is very common, it can be unsettling to the client that is not prepared.

Ask your attorney who be working on your case. Although a lawyer sets strategy and supervises clerical work, a paralegal often drafts motions, gathers information and calculates certain financial terms based on established formalas. If the attorney’s paralegal will be extensively involved, ask to meet him or her while you are there, and make sure you are comfortable with that person.

Often it is a huge cost saver to work with a paralegal on the day-to-day tasks, while your attorney tackles the major legal issues in your case. However, if you are not expecting that, it can be difficult to suddenly work with someone you have never met.

How Long Will My Case Take?

This is kind of a trick question for the attorney. If they give you an exact time frame, that could be a clue about their experience or lack of experience.

No family law attorney can tell you how long your case will take after one consultation. However, asking the average case length is something they can answer.

All family law cases are different, and the length depends on many factors. If the attorney is able to acknowledge that concept, and can give you examples of similar cases to your own, then they know what they are talking about.

Free Consultation with a Tulsa Divorce Lawyer

Beginning the divorce process is never easy, and finding a family law attorney who can appropriately represent your interests is even harder. Utilizing the information we gave you will help make the process easier and less overwhelming.

Our firm offers free consultations, and we look forward to you using the information we gave you here with us.

Contact an experienced Tulsa family law attorney when you need to go through the Oklahoma divorce process.

For a free confidential consultation, call 918-924-5526.

 

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