How to Choose a Family Law Attorney
Speaking with a family law attorney is a tough decision to make. But even tougher is knowing whom to hire when legal advice is needed. Many people feel desperate and hire the first family law attorney they find in the Yellow Pages. While some people get lucky doing it like this, it is more likely that individuals become frustrated and extremely dissatisfied with the final outcome. This dissatisfaction and frustration can be completely avoided by knowing how to choose the right family law attorney to help.
The relationship between the attorney and the client is a personal one as most family law cases are very delicate and sensitive in nature. These cases deal with marriages and/or children, so it is extremely personal. If an individual is not comfortable speaking about these highly personal matters with an attorney, look for a new one. It is okay to be selective. The attorney needs to listen and provide a feeling of confidence that they are competent and able to properly represent.
When an individual needs to have a surgical procedure done, they go to a specialist, not a general practitioner. The same is true about attorneys. While any attorney may state that they are competent enough to handle a divorce or child custody case, it is essential to locate an attorney that does nothing but family law. This ensures they know the “ins and outs” of the law in this field and are up to date on all new laws and regulations. When selecting an attorney, individuals should ask the attorney how many cases they handled similar to their own, if they are a member of the family law section of the state bar association, and if they have practiced family law in a specific county.
The right family attorney will make the time for the client. If they seem too busy to provide 100 percent of their attention to the case, look for a new attorney. To find out about their commitment to the case, ask them questions such as how many cases they are actively involved with right now, their policy regarding returning emails and phone calls, and how often they communicate with clients.
Many people think they need a shark in the courtroom when it comes to family law cases, but often times the peacemaker is the best family law attorney. Individuals should want an attorney that will settle the conflict without it having to see a courtroom. People should think about it like this, the longer the fight goes on, the more money the attorney will make. A shark tends to create further conflict, making it longer to settle on an agreement. Do not underrate civility.
The last item to think about when choosing the right attorney is their fee. While this may seem like an uncomfortable topic, it is vital to discuss fees. The fee agreement needs to be in writing and provide details as to the representation the attorney will provide. Ask questions such as what is the hourly rate, how often are invoices received, what billable rates are for others that may work on the case, and how to keep fees to a minimum.