There is no substitute for experience when it comes to your Nevada divorce attorney. However, retaining an attorney is a very personal thing. This individual could end up knowing the most private things about you, so you want someone with lots of integrity and experience, but also with other attributes. Ask the attorney or the attorney’s staff the following questions:
1. How many cases of my type has the attorney handled?
You want an attorney who has represented clients in many cases exactly like, or very similar to, your own. In other words, you don’t really want your attorney to be learning as he or she handles your case. If you are paying by the hour, for one, it would end up cost you more, and for another, a non-experienced Nevada divorce attorney could miss things that a more experienced one will spot.
2. How well does your attorney and the attorney’s staff communicate with you?
A good Nevada divorce lawyer knows how to communicate. Does the attorney and his staff write well? Are you easily able to understand what they say in emails or other written communication with you? Chances are that this same style will be used in documents filed with the Nevada Divorce Court so pay attention to this.
3. Are you comfortable in your dealings with the attorney and his or her staff?
A good Nevada divorce attorney for you is one with whom you are comfortable. Does the attorney or the attorney’s staff, make you feel ill at ease? Do you feel like you’re not much of a priority when you interact with them? With the next chapter of your life at stake, you don’t have time to deal with additional emotional clutter brought on by feelings of lack of trust or insecurity when you deal with the attorney and the legal staff.
4. Can you ask and get a flat fee if your case is uncontested?
Some lawyers will charge a flat fee, based on certain tasks and court filings typically expected for an uncontested divorce. You should ask for this if your spouse is not contesting your divorce. If you have a contested matter, ask how much the retainer is, but also ask if there is a difference between the hourly fee charged against the retainer when the attorney is working on your case outside court, and when the attorney is in court on your behalf. Ask for an estimated fee for the whole case, based on similar previous cases. Are there any refunds ever? Is there a payment plan available? How are payments broken down?
5. Does the attorney have personal experience with the family law arena?
Has the attorney been married and, or, divorced? Does the attorney have children? Lawyers are human beings too, breathing and bleeding like everyone else. A divorce lawyer with personal experience in the family law arena is likely to have more empathy for you than an attorney who has never experienced a divorce.
6. Should you retain a male or female lawyer?
A man or a woman lawyer does not make a difference. A good lawyer can represent either gender. Men’s attorneys or women’s attorneys tend to use this as a marketing gimmick more than actually doing a more effective job for their male or female clients. Ask whether the attorney is comfortable representing a man (or woman)? Ask if he or she can refer you to a good lawyer who is a man (woman)?
7. In a contested divorce, you should ask if the attorney is friends with your spouse’s attorney.
This isn’t supposed to matter, but you will most likely feel more comfortable knowing that your attorney and your spouse’s attorney don’t hang out together socially. In all likelihood, it wouldn’t affect your case, as attorneys are bound to represent you to the best of their ability and besides, the competitive instinct is sure to kick in when faced with an attorney friend in the courtroom, however, you might always wonder if the friendship had something to do with it if things don’t go your way completely. Yet one more additional thing you do not need on your emotional plate during your divorce.
8. Can your Nevada divorce attorney ethically represent both you and your spouse?
An attorney can represent both parties in a joint petition divorce. Should something happen along the way and one or the other of you decide to no longer pursue a joint petition divorce, the attorney cannot ethically continue to represent either of you in a one-signature divorce if he or she has had direct contact with both spouses. If the attorney and the staff have only been in contact with you alone, then in certain cases, this same attorney can continue to represent you only in a one-signature divorce.
9. How aggressive is the attorney?
A skilled Nevada divorce attorney, one who knows how to negotiate and mediate is often better than an aggressive trial lawyer. So, ask the attorney if he or she tries the negotiation route before aggressively attacking the other side, which only makes them want to become much more aggressive in return. Also, when you mediate, you come out of the divorce feeling less acrimonious towards your spouse and usually with more money left in your pocket.
All in all, just ask as many questions as come to mind and do follow your instincts. Don’t hire an attorney who makes you feel uncomfortable just because you heard that he or she is a really good attorney. You want experience and talent, yes, but if you feel uncomfortable sharing your situation with the attorney, it will make an unpleasant situation (getting a divorce) worse; at the least, you should feel better having the attorney you retain on your side.
Author: Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm