When it comes to hiring a divorce lawyer in BC, you need to look for both competency and affordability. You need to be able to afford your divorce lawyer throughout the life of your case. It is also important to find out whether your divorce lawyer is settlement-oriented or does mostly litigation. Although most often settlement is the preferred method in divorce cases, it is always the best solution, in particular in cases where you are dealing with a narcistic/difficult spouse, or where your spouse is hiding assets or income.
Here is a list of questions to ask your divorce lawyer at your initial consultation to help you make a decision to hire that divorce lawyer in BC:
- Do you practice exclusively in the area of family law or divorce law? If not, what percentage of your practice is about Divorce law or Family law in BC?
- You are looking for a divorce lawyer who is well versed in divorce and family law in BC.
- How long have you been a divorce lawyer in BC?
- What is your hourly rate and what are your billing terms?
- You need to know in advance whether you can afford this BC divorce lawyer. Most family lawyers and divorce lawyers in BC charge by hourly rate and they require an upfront retainer. Retainer is the money that your divorce lawyer keeps for you in trust. Your divorce lawyer can use this money to pay his or her bills. Some lawyers bill on monthly basis, others bill periodically. Some allow for limited retained and unbundled divorce law services (meaning that they will only perform certain tasks on your behalf) others require that they would have full control of the file.
- How much is the retainer and whether the retainer is refundable?
- Keep in mind that your divorce lawyer is required by the BC law society to refund you any portion of the retainer that has not been used.
- How much does your divorce lawyer think your divorce may costs?
- You are looking for estimate here as this is a difficult question to answer. How much your BC divorce case costs depends on how amicable your ex-spouse is. If your ex-spouse is difficult and sends several correspondences to your divorce lawyer that would increase your divorce costs in BC. Also if you need to bring court applications for trivial issues such as document disclosure that would also increase your legal fees. You may be able to recoup some those legal fees by way of an award of costs in your favour.
- How long does your BC divorce case take?
- You are looking at a realistic estimate. A lawyer who gives you unreasonable time estimate is probably not the right fit. Most divorce litigation cases in BC will take about 1 to 2 years. If your ex-spouse is cooperative, the timeline may be quicker. But keep in mind, even with a cooperative ex, there will still be delays in obtaining full disclosure.
- Does the BC Divorce lawyer have time for your case?
- It is important at the outset to know if your Divorce Lawyer has the capacity to take on your case as you do not want your case to delayed due to the unavailability of your lawyer.
- What does the Divorce lawyer think the outcome of your case will be in BC?
- You are not looking for a lawyer who tells you what you want to hear. You are looking for a BC Divorce lawyer who is candid and honest and will tell you what he/she thinks of your case based on the information you have provided.
- Ask the divorce lawyer what your rights and obligations are under the family law/Divorce law in BC.
- Ask the divorce lawyer what percentages of his or her divorce cases end up in court and in trial.
- You are looking for a lawyer who would not shy away from court when necessary. But ultimately, the best is to find a divorce lawyer who is a skilled negotiator and also a good litigator. A skilled negotiator can help you to come up with resolutions that you did not think of and would effectively negotiate on your behalf, thus saving you a significant amount of legal fees.
- If your ex has a lawyer, ask your divorce lawyer if he/she has dealt with your ex’s lawyer and whether your divorce lawyer is willing to take on a case against that lawyer.
- If there are any personal relationships between your ex’s lawyer and the divorce lawyer you are meeting with, you want to upfront as this may impact their representation. Most divorce lawyers in BC will tell you upfront if there is a conflict of interest.
- Ask your divorce lawyer whether other junior associates and paralegals will be working on your case.
- This may reduce your costs if other junior lawyers or paralegals work on your case as often their hourly rate is much lower. How you do not want to be passed around from one lawyer to another as often this would increase your legal bills since the new lawyer needs to come up to speed with your case.
Nasser Allan is a boutique divorce and family law firm specializing located in Vancouver, BC. At your initial consultation, you will meet with one of our divorce lawyers who specializes in family law and divorce law in BC. Our divorce lawyer will hear your story and provide you with an overall plan of action. Once you retain one of our divorce lawyers, you will work with that divorce lawyer exclusively and you will not be passed around from one associate to another. Your divorce will then gather more information about your case and provide you with a detailed plan that would get you closer to your goal. We pride ourselves for being upfront and candid with our clients. If your expectations are unreasonable, we will let you know at the outset.
If you are looking to hire a divorce lawyer in BC, give us a call to see if we are the right fit to represent you in your divorce.