When you see a lawyer for the first time to discuss filing for divorce, here are some important questions to ask, regarding the cost.
QUESTIONS TO ASK IN THE FIRST MEETING:
- What is the retainer amount and will it cover the entire divorce?
- What is the hourly rate and possible costs involved?
- How often will I be billed?
- What are the payment terms?
- Is the cost recoverable from my spouse?
- How can I pay as the case progresses if I don’t have money available now?
- How long is this likely to take?
- Will I need to hire outside experts to appraise marital assets?
- To whom do I address any complains about your service on my case?
- Is an alternative form of dispute resolution appropriate in my case?
The retainer agreement will outline your charges including retainer amount, hourly fee that the attorney charges (This usually will be deducted from your retainer amount as it is earned), and costs such as mileage, copies, postage, support staff, etc. Read through the retainer carefully. It is a legal contract and you are promising to pay the amounts and according to the terms that are laid out in the retainer agreement. It is quite normal to be very emotional during your first meeting, but do not allow that fact to keep you from reviewing what you are signing. It is amazing how many clients sign re-tainer agreements and later say they had no idea what it said.
Following these guidelines for full disclosure of your financial responsibilities will allow you to be prepared for the costs of your divorce and prevent misunderstandings be-tween you and your attorney.
DAWN Attorneys for Women