How To Choose The Best Family Law Attorney?
Are you facing a divorce? Perhaps you plan to adopt a child? In both cases, you need legal assistance in the form of a family lawyer specializing in such delicate issues. The field of family law is undoubtedly one of the most complex law branches, resolving matters like child custody, divorces, adoption, asset division, spousal support, and a myriad of other ticklish issues.
Therefore, one needs a competent, compassionate, trustworthy, supportive, and experienced legal representative when taking this type of matters to court. There is a wide range of reputable law firms, such as https://www.caldwellkearns.com/practice_area/family-law/, providing legal guidance and emotional support through family law matters.
The following tips will assist you in hiring the best lawyer in this field.
Look for prospective candidates
In order to find the most suitable family law attorney, one has to start a search for prospective candidates. Personal referrals are a good starting point but don’t be surprised if people are reluctant to even share the name of their lawyer. Given that family law issues are sensitive to discuss, make sure you ask for recommendations solely from the closest of friends and relatives that have been through such a journey.
Nevertheless, the recommendations you receive are still supposed to be attentively checked, as no two cases are identical. Your friend might find the overall attitude of his/her lawyer satisfying, while you consider it disappointing. It’s paramount for the communication style of the lawyer to meet your expectations in order for him/her to represent you.
Contacting a lawyer from another field might prove helpful as well. Legal representatives within local communities are familiar with the reputation, experience, and professionalism of their fellow colleagues. Perhaps some of the attorneys in your town can recommend a family lawyer that is capable of handling your case.
Another useful method of searching for prospective candidates is checking the referral program of your state bar association. These programs are designed to assist individuals in finding a reputable local attorney for every field of expertise. Read more about the difference between voluntary and mandatory state bars, as well as the legal education requirements of this organization.
Research every candidate on your shortlist
Narrowing down the list of candidates should be followed by extensive research on each lawyer. Nowadays, virtually all legal representatives have their own websites where they list their services, years of experience, and reviews of former clients.
Moreover, the type of experience is of vital importance when making a decision, as not all attorneys specialize in the same field of law. For instance, some professionals specialize in divorces and separation, whereas others are experts in child custody, access, and support. If you’re looking for a compromise, make sure you hire an attorney proficient in mediation and arbitration.
When planning to adopt a child, one could benefit from hiring a family lawyer who is well-familiar with adoption laws. In contrast, some professionals are dedicated to drawing up marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements in the event of potential property division or a combination of assets.
Meet the candidates
Since one cannot make a well-reasoned decision by looking at a list of reputable family law attorney, you’re advised to schedule consultations with the most prospective legal representatives. The largest part of these professionals doesn’t charge for an initial consultation, which works in your favor.
In addition, make sure you draft a list of relevant questions prior to the consultations so as to gain a better insight into their experience, qualifications, and professional demeanor. After discussing your case in detail, don’t be discouraged from using the rest of the time to ask some questions. It’s vital to inquire about the communication method, frequency of case updates, as well as the possible case outcomes. If the attorney keeps looking at his/her watch instead of paying attention to your questions, he/she isn’t worthy enough to be on your shortlist.
Furthermore, don’t forget to copy the documents you consider relevant to the case in order for candidates to inspect. Also, pay close attention to the rest of the staff in the form of paralegals, junior associates, the receptionist, etc. These people will take part in your case as well, so they should be courteous and approachable.
Given the costliness of legal services, one is obliged to discuss the type of fees charged by family law attorneys. Not all lawyers charge clients for their services in the same way, but most of them charge by the hour. Bear in mind that hourly billing isn’t the most affordable alternative, as you won’t be informed about the approximate cost of legal representation.
In contrast, some family lawyers charge a flat rate for different types of services. This payment method is considered more convenient as you’ll pay for the arranged sum of money regardless of the number of hours the representative spends working on your case.
Ask about the retainer
Most family law attorneys ask for a retainer, referring to a particular amount of deposit clients need to pay before the case starts. It’s paramount for the down-payment to be mentioned in a retainer fee agreement or the engagement letter. Otherwise, you won’t have written proof of the oral agreement.
The attorney you choose is supposed to be educated, experienced, reassuring, and absolutely reliable.
Placing your entire trust in his/her hands is vital for a positive outcome!