What to ask a divorce lawyer at the first meeting?
I divorced a while ago and have since moved forward in my life. During my divorce process, I learned a lot about divorce lawyers, the court proceedings, and what to do at each stage. I wish I had this list of questions to ask a divorce lawyer when first meeting.
The overwhelming feelings after you find out or ask for a divorce can lead to misguided directions and well-meaning, ill-advice from friends and family.
Before we get to interviewing the divorce lawyer, we must understand your goals. How do you want your divorce to be handled and what factors might come up in the divorce process?
What to ask yourself before interviewing divorce lawyers?
These questions will help you to determine what style of lawyer you want to engage with during the divorce process. It’ll also help you to define the kind of service you expect from your divorce lawyer.
Questions to ask about you and your spouse.
How will your spouse deal with the prospect of divorce after the initial emotional impact has diminished? Will they be a bully, a my-way-or-the-highway negotiator or will they try to be fair and listen to all sides before making a decision?
How do you want to look back and remember how you were during the divorce process? Do you want to be seen as angry and emotional or as someone who is reliable and a good communicator? Do you want to model effective behavior to others, your children, your family, or your community? How so?
How do you want to redefine the relationship with your spouse after the divorce is over? Will you be co-parents, former spouses now still loyal to both of your families or will you cut all ties with his family and the communities you shared together?
About You and Your Divorce Lawyer
What are you most afraid of during the divorce process? How would you expect the lawyer to help you with this?
Do you want to be a reliable client who partners with the divorce lawyer or do you want to give the power of decision making over to your lawyer and let them loose? Do you want to be a partner with that person or just have them lead the process? Are you looking to win the divorce process?
What kind of relationship do you want to have with your lawyer? What is important to you in any business relationship? Do you want top-notch Cadillac service or do you want options as to how you can use their services more cost-effectively?
What to ask a divorce lawyer when you first meet?
These questions will help you to determine what style, reputation, services and fees you can expect from the potential divorce lawyer you’re considering hiring. This helps you find and move forward with the kind of service you expect from your divorce lawyer.
Lawyer Style and Reputation
- Do you have a philosophy about divorce that underscores your practice?
- What process for divorce do you most often engage in (Collaborative, Mediation, Litigation)?
- How would another lawyer describe your style and approach to getting to a settlement?
- How would your clients describe your style and approach to getting to settlement?
- Who is your ideal client, besides the one who pays their bills?
- How does your ideal client conduct themselves during the divorce process?
- Do you pay close attention to my financial and time constraints, my temperament, and my attitudes toward conflict? How do you determine what those are?
- What would others say about what you are like to work with?
What Kinds of Service Can I Expect
- How will we work together?
- How available will you be for me?
- Will I have your cell phone number?
- Will you personally respond to my emails?
- Do I actually work with you or with an associate?
- How would I, as a client, get a question answered without an appointment with you?
- Are there others in the firm who would be familiar with my case and could answer questions when you’re not available?
- What is your preferred method of communicating questions?
- How can I best prepare for meetings that will be the most cost effective for me?
- Are you okay with your clients using a divorce coach?
- What is your role in bringing about the settlement?
- Before charting a particular course, do you perform a corresponding evaluation of the other side?
Fees for Your Services
- Will you do either/or unbundled legal services versus retainer only?
- How much is your retainer?
- What is your hourly rate?
- What are all of the transactions I’ll be billed for?
- Will I be billed for emails? By the question?
- How do you prefer payment be made (credit card, check, etc.)?
To end the interview
- What else should I be asking you so that I’m confident we are a good match for representing me?
- What else do you need to know so that you can assess whether I’m a good fit for your firm?
Questions are great. But what you need is an easy resource to have on hand when you talk to a divorce lawyer for the first time. Tell me where I can send your free PDF so that you know what to ask a divorce lawyer when you need the information handy.
Change the Story of Divorce
This divorce process is causing you to feel worried about your future. You’re afraid of making a mistake and falling into a trap because you don’t know what you don’t know. You need help navigating the whole divorce process so you can create a favorable outcome for your financial future.
You don’t know what to ask when interviewing attorneys or finding the right professionals to help you get the information you need. You’re going to bed overwhelmed and waking up feeling anxious. There’s so much information and who do you even trust?
Your friends and family are telling you to hire the toughest lawyer money can buy and take your soon-to-be ex to the cleaners. They’re giving you legal, financial and lots of other advice but it only causes you to feel even more afraid and confused.
You just want peace and for life to get back to normal. You don’t want to believe you are going through this, you’re thinking, “it can’t be real.” You can hardly think straight or get out of bed. It’s really hard to go to work or take care of the house much less pay bills or make other financial decisions.
What if you could change the story?
Imagine if you were clear and confident about the future and making financial decisions. You know what you didn’t know at the beginning. You have a clear grasp of your financial situation and how to create a favorable outcome.
You walk into the room feeling prepared, and anticipating what questions you’ll get. And you’re confident that you know the answers. You know what questions you need answered and how to ask them.
You welcome the advice of your family and friends because you know they care about you, and in the process of making decisions you have their support.
You’ve consulted with professionals who know the law and how to apply it to your divorce. You have more trust in your ability to avoid mistakes.
You have peace in knowing where you are going to live and that you can meet your financial needs while taking care of yourself. You’ll feel normal again, you’re relaxed, and you’re smiling more.
Have You Been Asking Yourself?
How can I find out what we own; what do they mean by “marital property”?
I don’t pay the household bills, how do I create a budget?
How am I going to live without my partner’s income?
What is going to happen to my home?
Who is going to take care of me?
I’m a certified divorce coach for women over 50 going through divorce. You want peace, but you’re worried about your future, making mistakes, and falling into a trap. I partner with you through the divorce process to help you create a favorable outcome.
As a result of this program, you’ll:
Know what you need to find out about your marital estate and expenses.
Know where to start gathering information and documents so you feel more informed and confident when meeting with your legal team.
Decide if you should keep the house or if you should prepare to move so you won’t be making mistakes and getting trapped.
Understand your financial needs and how to budget so you can take care of yourself.
Organizing Your Financial Information Plan
Getting to Know Each Other Call – During this 60-minute phone or video conversation, we will get to know one another and learn about where you are in the divorce process, what your fears are as well as what questions you have.
Financial Organizing Tools – You’ll get a Financial Organizer by email or mail that contains a Read Me First Letter, a Financial Checklist, a Data Gathering Guide and a Budget Worksheet. These documents will help you gather what you will need for the divorce process.
Read Me First Letter
Contains all the instructions for using the attached documents.
Helps you gather the information you may need to provide to your attorney or mediator.
Data Gathering Guide
Helps you have all the information and documents you need to have should you have to provide them as well as give you knowledge.
An excel spreadsheet which has embedded calculations to help you calculate your budget.
Follow-up Review– In 10 days we will have a phone or video conversation to make sure you’ve gathered everything you need and you’re prepared to move on to the next step in negotiating the favorable outcome you desire.
If you still need more time I will add an additional follow up call so you can go back to your attorney or mediator confident you can make the best decisions for your future financial security.
Let’s Get Organized
Ready to be confident and clear about the divorce process? Great! Just email me here to get started.
Step 1: You’ll receive a link to make your payment.
Step 2: Within 24 hours of receiving your payment you’ll receive an email with my booking calendar so we can book your 60-minute conversation.
Step 3: You’ll receive the Financial Organizer Packet either by email or mail so you can start gathering the information you are going to need before your attorney tells you to get it. This will save you lots of time and money!
Feel free to message me anytime with questions at
What Clients Are Saying
“Shari is an exceptional divorce coach and has been such a God sent for me . I leave each session feeling enlightened and inspired to be the best version of myself that I can be. Whether you are just now going through a divorce or like me still trying to cope with a divorce after 4 years, Shari can help you sort through it all and give insight to everything from the financial hardships after divorce to just helping you find yourself again. Shari always makes me feel very comfortable taking about life and my issues, she has helped me to see I am a good person, I am worthy and divorce doesn’t define me and who I am. She has helped me to look at myself in ways I never would before . Shari is very encouraging and has helped me to see that there is life after divorce. Without a doubt Shari will help you face all the issues of divorce whether it is coaching you on the procedures of divorce or helping you find yourself again so that you can live your best life at any stage .. I am very grateful for Shari and would totally recommend her services.” L.Hall
“You have been absolutely amazing and I don’t know what I would’ve done without your help and guidance.” A.Craig
“Shari provided the details and support to begin the divorce process. It helped me have peace with my decision and confident I could make it.” C.Branch