What to Look For When Choosing A Family Law Attorney
While you may think that divorce is the only reason to contact a family law attorney, the reality is that Family Law covers a large variety of issues beyond divorce, including custody, child support, spousal support, prenuptial agreements and other issues. Inquiring about a family law attorney is in itself a daunting task because people usually only look for a family law attorney when emotions are running exceptionally high because of a situation in the home. Knowing how to choose a Family Law Attorney – and what to look for before you retain one – is critical in helping you make the right decision.
Before You Interview a Family Law Attorney
Interviewing your prospective lawyer is of the utmost importance. Prior to calling an attorney for an appointment, go to the firm’s website and learn about the attorney’s background. Take a list of questions with you at your first meeting, and don’t worry about how insignificant they may seem to you. Having your questions both respected and answered clearly will allow you to ascertain whether the lawyer understands your needs, has the expertise to represent your specific situation, is sympathetic to what you are going through, and whether or not you feel comfortable and confident in going forward.
Experience and Expertise
Family Law matters are personal to the parties involved, and emotions can run high. A good Family Law Attorney will help you keep emotions at bay while handling matters in a professional and objective manner that can help yield the best outcome for you.
How You Feel Matters
Being told your lawyer is highly qualified and is a specialist in his/her field is only the beginning. Make sure you also feel comfortable with the person representing you. Certificates and awards are not going to help you sleep at night. When interviewing any prospective attorney, be prepared to listen to what he or she has to say and take the time to process the information given to you. Ask as many questions as you possibly can. Knowledge is power and will typically help you make sense of the chaos you are feeling.
Red Flags – What to Look Out For
Knowing what to look out for in terms of negatives is an important part of your decision-making process. Below are some of the most common “red flags” to be aware of in your search for a Family Law attorney who will be attentive to your needs and experienced in your specific situation.
- When you first call to make your appointment, note how long it takes someone to get back to you. If it’s not in a day or two, proceed with caution. After all, in reality, you’re interviewing an attorney for a job. If someone is too busy, you may want to look elsewhere.
- An attorney who skirts your questions or is unable to give you reasonably decisive answers can mean trouble.
- Avoid attorneys who promise specific outcomes. You need to be fully aware that no one can be absolutely certain of how a situation will play out. Those who are overly aggressive in their approach in an interview may act in ways not necessarily in line with who you are or how you want to be represented.
- All lawyers are not equal. Don’t go to someone who specializes in a different area of law for a family law matter. Search out a dedicated family law attorney.
- Look for a Family Law Attorney who will help guard you from doing things that could hurt your situation or jeopardize your future. Look for someone who can explain what’s realistically possible, and who has the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve it.
- Be wary of well-meaning friends or relatives who try to give “advice” based upon what a neighbor did – or did not – have as an outcome of divorce. No two divorce cases are the same. Friends and family can’t possibly know all the facts, and too often find their feelings for you skew what they tell you. Appreciate those who care about you and your situation, but listen to your attorney.
- If you leave your consultation feeling more confused and uneasy than you did when you walked in the door, continue your search.
Why You May Want to Consider Me as Your Family Law Attorney
I have counseled myriad clients over the past 30 years and know that having to get involved in a Family Law situation can be – for many people – one that leaves them feeling emotionally drained and confused. That’s where I come in. I help clients travel on their legal journeys with clarity and confidence in my ability to represent them. I have experience with everything from high-profile, high-asset and complex divorces to international child abduction cases and high-conflict child custody cases.
If you are interested in meeting for a confidential, no-obligation consultation, contact me.