1. Have an Clear Written Fee Agreement
Most experienced and effective divorce attorneys charge by hour and require an advance retainer (or deposit) that is paid at beginning of case. Fees and expenses will be charged against retainer until it is exhausted, at which point client will be responsible for any additional sums incurred.
Clients will sometimes seek an attorney who will represent them on a flat fee basis, thinking that this will save them money. The problem with this arrangement is that attorney has no incentive to do anything beyond bare minimum. The client often feels like his case is being ignored, attorney often feels like client is intentionally trying to take up as much of his time as possible, and they may both be right.
Whether you hire a lawyer on an hourly or flat fee basis, it is extremely important that you get a written fee agreement that makes clear terms of representation, including whether any retainer is refundable, how often you will receive statements, attorney’s hourly rates, etc. You should get and keep a copy of this fee agreement.
2. Don’t Mistake Your Divorce Lawyer for Your Therapist
Divorces are extremely emotional. Because your divorce attorney is (or at least should be) firmly in your corner, talking to him can be a very reassuring experience. This person understands your side of situation and it feels good to talk to someone who sees righteousness of your position. Because it makes you feel better you get into habit of calling often, almost daily.
Unless you have more money than you know what to do with you should avoid falling into this trap.
Remember that every time you call your lawyer clock is ticking and you are getting billed by hour. Think of it as a very expensive cab ride. As soon as you get in cab, meter starts running. It works same with a lawyer, as soon as you are on phone with him meter is running and you are getting charged.
This does not mean you should never communicate with your lawyer. On contrary, you should communicate with your attorney anytime you need legal advice on your case. But before you pick up phone make a list of questions or issues you want to discuss and limit your conversation to these points without wasting time ranting about unfairness of situation.