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  • Mar 29th, 2023

    How Do I Know My Divorce Lawyer is Doing Their Job?

    Divorce, Divorce Process

    It’s important to choose a divorce attorney who you feel comfortable working with and who you trust to advocate for your interests during the divorce process. The divorce attorney you hire should be there to help guide you through the divorce process and advocate for your interests. If you have any concerns about their performance or feel that they are not meeting your needs, it’s important to discuss these issues with them and see if there are ways to address them.

    Communication is key, and having an open and honest dialogue with your attorney can help ensure that your case is progressing as you would like.

    Signs Your Divorce Lawyer is Doing Their Job

    Here are a few signs that your divorce attorney is doing their job in your Missouri divorce:

    1       They are responsive: Your attorney should be responsive to your calls and emails, and should keep you informed about the status of your case and any important developments.

    2       They are knowledgeable: Your divorce attorney should have a thorough understanding of Missouri family law and be able to answer your questions and provide guidance on your options.  I generally recommend that you find someone who specializes in the area of law you need help in (for example: I would not represent myself in a criminal case as I do not practice criminal law).

    3       They are prepared: Your attorney should be prepared for court hearings and other legal proceedings, and should have a clear strategy for how to best represent your interests.  This does not necessarily mean that they commit to any plan you tell them, but they should have a clear idea of what your goals are and a plan on how to achieve those goals.

    4       They are respectful: Your attorney should be respectful of your wishes and needs, and should work with you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.  However, you need to know that while they should work towards your goals, it is up to the attorney to decide how to achieve those goals.  I have had clients who have told me I am not allowed to talk with an opposing counsel or refuse to turn over evidence.  The attorneys are required to follow Missouri ethic guidelines, and most of the time they will need to have open and even cordial communications with the opposing counsel.  While we are working for what our client wants, the attorney usually knows best on how to achieve those goals.

    5       They are honest: Your attorney should be upfront and honest with you about the potential outcomes of your case, and should not make unrealistic (or really, any) promises or guarantees.  Anything can happen in family law, as there is so much discretion given to the Judge.  Anyone who makes promises does not know what they are doing, or is just trying to get you to pay them and then disappoint you later once they have taken all they can from you.

    If you have concerns about your attorney’s performance or are unsure if they are doing their job effectively, it may be a good idea to discuss your concerns with them and see if there are ways they can address your concerns. If your concerns cannot be resolved, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion or finding a new attorney.  Not everyone is a good fit, and sometimes a fresh look is what is needed to make sure your case is progressing as you would like.

    Questions to ask your divorce attorney before and during the divorce process

    When meeting with a divorce lawyer, during both the hiring process and the divorce process itself, it can be helpful to ask about their experience and qualifications, as well as their approach to handling your case. Some specific questions to consider asking include:

    • How many divorce cases have you handled in the past? What were the outcomes?
    • What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
    • How do you approach communication with clients? How often can I expect to hear from you?
    • What is your fee structure? How will I be billed for your services?
    • How do you plan to approach negotiations or court proceedings in my case?
    • What are the potential outcomes of my case? What are the risks and benefits of pursuing different options?

    Asking these questions can help you determine whether a particular lawyer is a good fit for your needs and can give you a better sense of what to expect during the divorce process.

    In addition to the questions previously mentioned, you may also want to ask your divorce lawyer about their availability and responsiveness. It’s important to know how frequently you can expect to hear from them and how quickly they will respond to your calls and emails.

    You may also want to ask your lawyer about their approach to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. These methods can be less contentious and more cost-effective than going to court, so it’s worth exploring whether they may be appropriate for your situation.

    Finally, it’s important to establish clear expectations regarding communication and updates on the progress of your case. Make sure you understand how often you will hear from your lawyer and what types of updates you can expect.

    Overall, asking these questions and establishing clear expectations can help ensure that you choose the right divorce lawyer for your situation and that you are prepared for what to expect during the divorce process.

    Find a divorce attorney you can trust

    Divorce can be a miserable experience. The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not the local divorce lawyer you hired is looking out for you and your interests. We recommend speaking with as many divorce attorneys as you can until you find one you think has the knowledge and resources to provide you with the best divorce representation possible.

    Our St. Louis family law attorneys would be happy to help you during these hard times. Please feel free to reach out for a free consultation.