Attorney-Client Relationship—Frequently Asked Questions

Finding an attorney you can build a working relationship with is critical to the outcome of your case.

One of the most important aspects of any divorce is the professional relationship developed between the attorney and the client. In a time of emotional and legal upheaval, you must have a professional in whom you can place your trust. Developing a good relationship begins with choosing a competent attorney to handle your legal problem. The attorney's hourly rate and the total fee may be one criterion, but often it should not be the most important one. Years of experience and specialization in the practice of family / divorce law are significant factors to be considered. This is true even in uncontested divorces, as one never knows when an uncontested divorce may become a contested one. Recommendations of friends and relatives may also be considered. Finally, you should not be reluctant to ask questions of an attorney at your initial conference regarding his/her experience in divorce matters.

You are responsible for giving your attorney as much financial information as possible, and as such it would be unwise for you to depend on your spouse for this information. To the extent possible, you should have your own independent and clear understanding of your financial position. Likewise, total dependence on your attorney to make financial and practical life decisions is also unwise. Your ability to develop your independence, and to make decisions (where necessary with the advice of your attorney) is one of the most important aspects of any divorce. To this end, you may wish to discuss your goals for the outcome of your case with your attorney, being prepared to modify those goals during the proceedings as the facts of your case and your attorney's advice dictate.

In general, open, honest, and complete communication with your attorney will help ensure that your attorney has all of the information necessary to be prepared to represent you in the proceedings. Likewise, it is important for you to understand information and opinions your attorney is giving to you, for without that understanding you cannot make informed decisions about aspects of your case. If at any point you do not understand something your attorney has told you, or in general, any aspect of your case, you should not hesitate to discuss this with your attorney.

Continue to Types of Marital Dissolution