Is there a bigger decision in a divorce proceeding than your choice of a family law attorney? How you make it through the case as well as the final outcome largely rests on the relationship you have with your attorney.
Make no mistake: it’s a relationship. During the court proceedings, you will be confiding in this individual, trusting them to operate in your best interests, and communicating frequently with them. In some cases, you’ll be discussing some embarrassing things with them. They’re not going to just be an attorney; in a family law case, they’re your partner.
In this article, Family Matters Law Group would like to offer some helpful suggestions for how to choose a family law attorney that meets your needs.
When you start looking for an attorney, make sure that you are interviewing many attorneys, not just settling for the first one you see or the one with the flashy ad that caught your eye. Take the time to visit multiple firms, and talk to several attorneys to see who is the best fit for your case needs.
Ask around. Family and friends might have had a good experience with an attorney of their own. Online reviews can also be a helpful source of information about family law attorneys in your area. Make sure to meet with the attorney you’re interested in to make sure you are comfortable with their representation.
You need to be honest and upfront with every attorney you meet with as far what you are looking for. This way you can be sure that you are not going to be surprised down the road.
You need to ask your prospective family law attorney lots of questions. This is a major decision, so you need to treat it as such. One of the major questions to ask is what kinds of experience they have. While trial experience is important, some family law cases are settled outside of a courtroom.
Does your attorney have negotiating experience? Are they good with settlement decisions? How have they handled mediation cases in the past? Are they prepared to fight for you in court if settlement talks break down?
Perhaps the most important question to ask is one you’ll need to ask yourself. Before you choose a family law attorney, ask yourself, “Do I like this lawyer?” If you see a personality conflict brewing, or you have nagging doubts about their potential effectiveness, walk away and reexamine your other options. Again, this is a major decision.
Not everyone is made of money, but just because you are on a budget like most Americans, doesn’t mean you can’t get good representation in court. Get your attorney to fully explain their billing and invoicing. If you fully understand what you are being billed for then you will be more comfortable with the process as a whole.
Ask your attorney up front if they are willing to work on a payment plan with you. Make sure you are honest about your financial situation. Your attorney might be able to work with you to avoid any big surprises down the road.
Also, note that many attorneys will place your funds into an escrow account. If this is the case, you will be expected to maintain a minimum amount of funds in escrow to ensure that the attorney continues to work on your case. Ask if your attorney utilizes an escrow account and if so, what the minimum you will be required to keep is.
There’s an expression that goes “don’t hire a law firm, hire a lawyer”. This is so true. You don’t have a relationship with a firm; you have a relationship with a particular lawyer in that firm and that is who you are planning to hire. Make sure they are the one who is going to specifically handle your case.
Also, lawyers are like doctors: they specialize. You need a strong family law attorney, such as Edidiong Aaron at the Family Matters Law Group. Her specialty is family law, not criminal or corporate law. Just as you wouldn’t go to a dermatologist for heart surgery, you shouldn’t go to just any lawyer for a family law case.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Family Matters Law Group using our convenient online form. We wish you the best of luck in your attorney search!