Before you meet with prospective divorce lawyers for initial consultations, it's important you prepare a list of questions to ask. This will ensure you find the right lawyer to handle your particular case.

1. How long have you been practicing family law? Determine how experienced the attorney is in family law and if he or she has handled cases similar to yours. While all lawyers have law degrees, some may be more experienced in other fields.

2. What are the steps in the divorce process? Chances are you are not familiar with the divorce process and since your attorney is there to help educate and guide you, have him or her explain the process in its entirety to you. This should include everything from filing the petition to the trial.

3. How will I be charged? When you hire a Maryland divorce lawyer, expect to sign a retainer agreement, which details how (and how much) you'll be charged. Some attorneys charge hourly, others a flat rate. You may find that you will also be charged when you spend time with paralegals or other staff members in the office.

4. Do you have payment plans? If you are unable to pay in full upfront, you may find that some lawyers offer payment plans that allow you to make payments or pay by credit card.

5. How will we communicate? Find out if the primary communication method will be by telephone or email and how soon you can expect responses to inquiries.

6. How often do you go to court? Ask about the lawyer's history; do they tend to settle cases or are the majority of them taken to court?

7. How long will the divorce process take? The divorce attorney should give you an estimation of how long your case will take depending on if you settle or have a trial.

8. Do you offer clients any resources or information? From a legal standpoint, the divorce process can be exhausting and complicated. Reputable and well-established divorce attorneys often offer clients information and resources (think reading materials, educational articles, or referrals to other professional services) that can help make the entire process less painful and difficult.

9. Can you estimate how much my divorce will cost? Based on the information you provide, the lawyer should be able to estimate the cost of your divorce. However, since there are many cost factors outside of your control, don't be surprised if the attorney is hesitant to answer. Knowing an approximate figure will allow you to make financial adjustments accordingly, if needed.

10. Would you recommend mediation? Find out if the lawyer often uses private mediation with clients and if they feel it would be appropriate for your particular case.