Closing The Deal and Hiring Your Divorce Lawyer

It’s your judgment call on how many attorneys you want to interview. If you’ve done the homework, you won’t be wasting your time with any of them. You’re simply determining the level of comfort you have with each attorney.

Amy, who was married to a professional, interviewed five top divorce attorneys. She had it down to an art, asking for comments on the opinions she had received from other attorneys. Don’t make a career out of this. If you like one of the first three lawyers you see, go no further. If you aren’t satisfied with any attorneys, better reevaluate your expectations.

When you pick your attorney, make sure you have a clear understanding of the fee arrangement. It must be in writing and set forth the hourly rate you will be charged for the services of the attorney and anyone in your attorney’s employ. Is it subject to change before the case is concluded? If so, how soon can it be changed and how much notice do you get?

How will costs, including payments to third parties such as deposition reporters, court clerks, accountants and other experts, and miscellaneous services, be handled? Is the amount of the retainer acceptable to you? If not, can something else be worked out? Will you be able to pay the attorney’s statements after the retainer has been exhausted, or will some arrangement have to be agreed to in writing that payment will be deferred until a certain event or time, such as the sale of the house?

Take the retainer agreement home to review it further before you sign it. The attorney has written the agreement on his or her own time for self-protection; you are not being represented yet.