How much will the whole case cost me?
Of course, you’ll want to hire the best Albany divorce lawyer out there to represent you against your ex, but keep in mind, quality costs! The better, more experienced the attorney is, the more likely their fees will be higher. A good question to ask the attorney is, will they agree to a set price, if your case should go to trial, and another price for an appeal, if you don’t like the outcome of the trial? Just some things to keep in mind when hiring an attorney. Another thing you should do is check their Google Reviews. Very important!
The retainer fee is not the price of your whole case, unless agreed upon upfront!
How often will you give me updates on my case?
To start off with, if you have to chase your attorney around for answers, you may have hired the wrong one! A good divorce attorney realizes how much distress his client is under and doesn’t make him/ her wait for long periods of time without an update. You should expect to hear from your divorce lawyer several times a month, and of course, if you have an urgent concern, you should email or call them and they should get back to you promptly.
Also, a good lawyer will often call you to ask for more details and clarification of certain issues before they put something new before the court. The more proactive your attorney is, the better.
How often will I have to go to court?
While the court may see fit to have monthly conferences with the attorneys, you won’t have to attend all of them. If you can, it is better if you do- to keep an eye on your case and to make sure your lawyer doesn’t “drop the ball”. Ask your prospective attorney during an initial consult, how often they think you will need to go and see what they say. If the attorney is shady, they may try and discourage you from showing up, unless the judge orders you to. Eyes wide open, folks!
Ask the attorney about what kind of communications you should be having with your spouse
The point of this question is to see how discreet your attorney advises you to be. When you are involved in a court case, anything you say will be brought up in front of the court. This is when all the dirty laundry comes out- so be on your best behavior! In English- when in doubt, keep your mouth shut!
Can my spouse tape me and use it in court?
In New York State the law says it is ok to tape someone you are in a conversation with. You can not tape two people talking if you are not part of the conversation. You could get arrested for eavesdropping if you do this. Spouses often say things on the phone to press the other spouse’s buttons, in an attempt to get them to say things they’ll regret later. Phone calls are often taped during divorces. If the lawyer you are consulting with isn’t up on this- it’s a red flag for sure. A good attorney can coach you on how and what to say to your spouse, so you look good in front of the judge later on.
How can I keep my divorce costs down?
This is a perfectly fair and reasonable question for you to ask at a consultation. The difference between an uncontested divorce and a contested divorce can be tens of thousands of dollars. If you are on a tight budget, you may ask your prospective lawyer if your case can be handled uncontested. Can you get a mediator to help work out the issues instead of going to trial? A good divorce lawyer has resources at their disposal to help you. All you have to do is ask.