Steps on How to Choose the Best Family Law Attorney for You
Family law attorneys deal with cases involving marriage, divorce, child support, alimony, timesharing (visitation rights), division of assets, paternity, domestic violence, adoption and guardianships. If you need a pre-nuptial agreement, want to file for divorce or are considering adopting a child, you can benefit from hiring a good family law attorney. Attorneys may be a dime a dozen, but not all have the same value. Here’s how to choose the right family law attorney for you.
How Do You Know if You Need a Family Law Attorney?
The first step to finding the right attorney is determining if you really need one. If any of the following apply to you, it is to your benefit to hire a family law attorney:
- You are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement before getting married,
- You are considering divorce, annulment, or legal separation,
- You need a divorce agreement modification,
- You need child custody and support guidance,
- You are considering adopting a child,
- You need help with a restraining order
What is Your Venue?
For family cases the venue is normally where both parties intended to reside together as husband and wife. There are some exceptions to this policy, such as when the individual is in the military or resides in more than one state. For determination of paternity the proceedings must be in the circuit court of the county where the plaintiff resides or the county where the defendant resides.
The Search for the Right Attorney
Once you have determined the venue of your case, search for family law attorneys in your area. Attorneys who are familiar with the judges, local jurisdiction and with other attorneys involved in family law will be able to serve you better.
Once you have written down some names, do some online research on them. Google them, seek articles or reports on them (or by them), news stories or reviews. Many law firms use social media for marketing or advertising purposes, so look up the lawyer or law firm on any of the major social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
Narrow Down Your Choices
If you have asked for references from others and have researched enough on the attorney, you should have a proper sense of good attorney candidates. It is advisable that you schedule an in-person meeting with at least two attorneys which will help you make a firm decision. It is essential to know how you will interact personally with an attorney before you hire one.
Call and Make Your Appointment for a Consultation
Some attorneys offer a free preliminary consultation on the telephone or in person. Make sure you inquire into:
- Whether the attorney offers a free consultation
- The approximate total cost for handling your matter
- Whether fees can be negotiated or if a payment plan is offered
- The attorney’s amount of time practicing
- The attorney’s handling of cases similar to yours
- An honest opinion as to the possible outcome of your case
- Who will be handling your case
- The type of information you need to bring to your first consultation
Make a list of all the questions or concerns you want to ask the attorney and bring them with you to your first consultation. Take notes of the attorney’s answers or suggestions.
Make Your Choice
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 an attorney 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.
Here at Lauriston Law our mission is to provide effective, quality service to help deliver successful outcomes through hard work and dedication to our clients’ cause. Let us help you, contact us today, our staff is multi-lingual and diverse to meet the needs of the South Florida community.