In a divorce or custody battle situation, emotions are heightened and it is often a rather stressful time. However, your custody situation or divorce is as unique as your family’s dynamics. It is crucial that you find the best attorney for your particular situation and case. A great lawyer should not only be empathetic to your situation, but help you navigate the dark corridors of a divorce and instill confidence in you about your decision making process. Conversely an inexperienced, or unknowledgeable attorney may end up causing complications within your case, or unnecessary directives and prolong the painful process. So, what kind of attorney should you seek? What are the steps? Where do you begin.
Obviously you will want to retain a lawyer who is experienced in all areas of Family Law with a track record of success. Someone who has handled many divorces, and custody cases. Someone who can speak from experience, knowledge, and a multitude of scenarios.
For example, is or was your spouse a controlling, abusive, dominating. Someone who has or may, frighten you into agreements and settlements without taking the time to access the potential out comes? If so, you may want to seek and research a lawyer who has experience and knowledge of standing up for your rights and handle most if not all of the communications and interactions. You may be emotional, exacerbated, and grieved by the entire process. Then you may want an attorney who may manage the entire process, from filing the petition, motions, through to a potential trial. Maybe you feel confident enough and you may want to manage most of the process yourself, but would like to a reliable resources such as a consultative lawyer to provide some legal advice, and review dockets, motions and petitions. Once you have accessed your situation and it’s uniqueness, you are then ready to begin researching to find the best attorney to meet or exceed your needs.
So how do you narrow your search?
We live in an era that information is at our finger tips. A good place to begin may be your local bar association for attorneys in your area. Many online resources and tools will group attorneys by specific practice focuses, and areas of location. The next step would be to check out their websites, social media, reviews, and any client testimonials that may be available. Review any biographical information such as their education, awards and other accreditations. Ask your circles of influences about these attorneys and law firms. Does the law firms website speak of mediation, and parental rights? Does the law firm discuss their success and results or a no-nonsense approach as an aggressive litigator?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to possibly 3 to 6 law firms or attorneys, you will want to schedule a time to meet, in person, with each one. Invest some time to be prepared for this meeting. Make sure to bring relevant paperwork, information, and any documentation that you may have. Write out a list of questions that you may have, not matter how simple you may think it is. Your attorney needs to know and understand your circumstances, situation, and desires to make the most accurate assessment of your particular and unique case.
It is recommended that you retain an attorney or firm in your local community. Most Family Law cases will require many appearances in court and attorneys most of often will bill for their travel time. It is also beneficial that the attorney or law firm is very familiar with the dynamics and flow of the local courtroom in your area. You should feel comfortable and confident with your attorney and their overall general demeanor. A good attorney will be empathetic, make you feel at ease, and explain the process and procedures for your case and create an outline or plan that is customize for you and your preferred outcome. It is also very important to be completely honest and open with your attorney. He or she needs to know as much as possible and not be subject to any surprises that may arise in the courtroom.
Some typical questions for your attorney:
“What type of experience do you have in handling cases like mine, and can you provide me some similar examples?”
“May you describe all your areas of practice within Family Law?”
“What are your thoughts of my particular case?”
“How may you describe the typical approach that you take to divorce cases and custody battles?”
“What is your retainer amount and hourly billing rate?”
“With your experience, what are my chances of accomplishing my goals and objectives?”
“Do you charge for making copies, sending emails, travel time, and phone calls?”
“Do you have a list of references or testimonials I may review?”
“What may you be able to administrate, handle and manage for me, and what may I be required to handle?”
“Does your legal firm offer legal representation for my minor children, or may be able to make recommendations?”
“Does your firm have experience with Domestic Violence, and Protection Orders?”
“Do you and your firm offer a total case handling retainer as well as an hourly bill out plan?”
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