If you came to the conclusion that you need a family lawyer, the next question is which one to you choose? Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or in related negotiations and can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements. Some family law attorneys even specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters not usually related to divorce. To help you, here are our tips on how you should choose the right family lawyer for you.
Find an attorney you can work with
Your lawyer will be your partner throughout your case. You may need to tell him embarrassing pieces of information, secrets you would prefer not to tell anyone. You’ll be speaking to your attorney frequently, and you’ll need to be able to provide information and understand your lawyer’s explanations of certain steps in your case or how the law applies in your situation. Family law tends to be among the most emotionally charged legal areas, so make sure you choose an attorney who displays sensitivity to your most personal concerns but please keep in mind that your attorney’s role is to represent you in a legal process, not to be your therapist.
What to look for in the first meeting
No matter how experienced or competent the lawyer is, if you don’t feel comfortable with him or her during the first meeting, you may want to keep looking. First and foremost, make sure that you know the implications of what you are considering. The important thing here is to avoid litigation for the purpose of revenge or anger. It is a far better approach to understand that you are here to fix the situation and make it better for everybody involved, so you can focus on moving forward in life and finding a brighter future. Start with a positive attitude. Keep in mind that a positive attitude will lead to a positive outcome.
Take time to check how experienced he is
Ask as many questions as you consider necessary to evaluate the lawyer´s background and experience. Sometimes, certain lawyers claim to have a lot of experience, but in fact have very little. The more you know up front, the fewer surprises you´ll encounter down the road. For example, whether you think you can settle your case through divorce mediation or fear you may need to go to trial, you won’t have to experience this legal battle alone. An experienced divorce attorney will know which steps you need to take to ensure your best possible outcome. Do not settle, demand expertise and experience.
Ask for recommendations
You wouldn’t see a doctor without a reference and a strong recommendation – adopt the same approach with your family lawyer. You don’t have to hire the first attorney that you meet with. In fact, it is better to ask for recommendations from friends and family, or look online: to create a small list of attorneys to choose from. Once you have met with your family law attorney candidates and done your research on them, you should be able to make a decision as to which attorney you will hire. Choose a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable, who answers your questions in a way you understand. Address any concerns or doubts to your attorney and be sure you are both on the same page. Avoid any attorney who has solicited your business or who suggests anything unethical, such as a “guaranteed result.” Nothing in life is guaranteed. The right attorney will not pressure you into hiring him/her, and he/she will not hesitate to give you any references or credentials you request on the attorney’s experience.
All lawyer fees in family law must be reasonable. Your lawyer shouldn’t aske for a an unconscionable fee. Cheaper isn’t always better – you don’t want someone cutting corners nor do you necessarily want your case handled by someone inefficient. On the other hand, high fees don’t always correlate to the best representation in court. Find a lawyer that has flexible solutions that will fit your needs.