Before hiring a divorce attorney in Minnesota, one of the most important things you can do as a future client is to ask questions that will help you know that the attorney will effectively handle your case.
Question 1: Have you previously handled a case or cases that involve the issues in my case?
You want to ensure that the attorney that you are hiring has experience in dealing with the issues involved in your case. For example, has the attorney taken a custody/parenting time case all the way through a trial? It is almost always preferable to try and resolve matters before going to a custody trial; however, in the event your case ends up at trial, you want to know that the attorney handling your case is knowledgeable and experienced to deal with the issues surrounding a custody/parenting time trial (preparing exhibits, subpoenaing any necessary witnesses, preparing trial questions for witnesses, etc.). Some examples of other complex issues would be spousal maintenance (alimony), division of a business, complex asset/debt division, etc.
Question 2: How will you charge me for your services and costs relative to my case?
You should expect that any attorney you hire will provide you with a written retainer agreement for you to review and that he/she will explain to you how they will bill you before you retain them. The retainer agreement should include the attorney’s hourly rate, the advance retainer amount, (to work off of according to fees/costs in your case), what costs you will be charged for (and at what rate), the attorney’s collection approach if you fail to pay the bill, the interest rate you will be charged if you do not pay on a timely basis, the minimum charge (e.g. most attorney’s have a minimum charge regardless of the length of time). Prior to signing the retainer agreement, you should ask any questions that you may have about the retainer agreement. You should also expect that the attorney will send you a monthly itemized statement, outlining all costs/fees relevant to your case. Remember, an attorney’s retainer agreement is a contract and just as the attorney will be held responsible for the work he/she puts into your case, you will be responsible for paying the attorney according to the retainer agreement you sign with him/her.
Question 3: How will you communicate with me?
Your children, your assets, your home, your future – – these are all matters that the attorney you hire will be dealing with. If you call the attorney, you should expect a quick response. Many attorneys have a policy of returning telephone calls/emails within twenty-four hours. You should expect that your attorney will keep you informed of what is going on in your case. An attorney has an ethical obligation to keep you informed of the status of your case. You can let the attorney know your preferred method of communication (e.g. email, telephone, etc.). You should also expect that your attorney will forward you documents relative to your case and keep you informed of any settlement negotiations or important details in your case (e.g. settlement conferences, court dates, etc.). Attorneys are not inexpensive. You should expect timely communication from your attorney relative to your case.
Please, contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You can call us at 651-647-0087 or reach out via our online contact form.