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5 Tips for Finding a Good Family Law Attorney

Published at February 2, 2021 by administrator.

Family problems can vary significantly from a name change to more complex and vital issues. Hiring a family law attorney can be very overwhelming if you’ve never had to work with one in the past, but it doesn’t have to be.

These five tips are essential to helping you find a suitable family law attorney and include:

  1. Looking in the right place
  2. Completing consultations before hiring your attorney
  3. Knowing the questions to ask at your first meeting
  4. Being aware of the warning signs of an undesirable attorney
  5. Understanding the fees upfront before hiring your attorney

By keeping these tips in mind, you can interview and hire the right attorney for you. When you have a good-quality family law attorney, they are attentive to your needs and help you through the legal process. A suitable attorney will put your mind at ease and expedite the legal process the best they can. Take your time and find a family law attorney with these tips!

1. Where Should I Look?

You have to find an attorney that you’re comfortable with and skilled in family law. Not all attorneys specialize in family issues, so you might want to start by asking your friends and family if they have recommendations. Personal connections are a great way to get your referral list started.

Other easy ways to build your list of potential family law attorneys are:

  • Online searches in your area
  • Calling the local bar association
  • Asking your local legal aid office
  • Looking up regional law offices you have driven by
  • Watching local television for stories with attorneys
  • Other professionals such as family therapists and accountants

Make a list of all your potential law offices and attorneys and start to do some research. You can look up their website online, and most will quickly inform you of their specialties and if they have a family law division. You can dwindle your list to only the firms that have professionals in family law.

Take your time on this list and look at reviews through online sources as well; this will be your list of potential law firms that will move on to the next step in the process. Family law is evolving and nuanced, so you’ll want to ensure the person you hire has deep expertise in your specific area.

2. Consultations Can Save You Time

Man in a suit with gavel on the desk having a meeting with another man.
Photo via Shutterstock

Talking with your potential lawyer is essential. Even within family law, some attorneys specialize in specific areas such as divorce and custody. You should call and schedule a consultation with your list of potential attorneys.

During your phone call, you can assess how long it takes for the attorney to meet with you, their office’s friendliness, and if you can easily communicate your needs. Some offices will want to do your consultation over the phone, while others will want you to meet in person. Schedule your time to allow at least an hour for your consolation so you can explain your case and ask any questions you need to.

Your consultation should be free. This meeting is for your benefit and theirs. The right family law attorney doesn’t want to take on a case if they are not a good fit for it. Come prepared with your questions regarding your matter and any specifics you are concerned about when working with an attorney.

3. What to Ask Potential Lawyers

Come prepared for your consultations. You may have dwindled your list even further and have a few favorite options. It’s still important to go through all your questions and discuss the case in depth before making your final decision.

  • What would their strategy be for working with your case?
  • Do they see any specific areas of difficulty based on the information you provide?
  • Have they experienced similar cases?
  • What are their thoughts on going to court vs. settling outside of court?
  • How will you reach them to discuss your case?
  • Who will be working on the case? Paralegals? Any other office personnel?
  • Does this case seem like it will take longer or shorter than other ones?
  • Any other questions specific to your case or concerns

It is important to remember that your attorney works for you. They may seem intimidating at first, but the right family law attorney will make you feel heard and welcomed in their office. They will be attentive to your concerns and eager to answer any questions you have.

4. Red Flags to Watch Out For

You might not think about a wrong law firm’s warning signs first, but these are important to keep in mind when trying to find a reasonable family law attorney. Carefully selecting your lawyer means you will avoid these things:

  • Unresponsive when trying to set up a consultation
  • Huge promises about how quickly they can settle a case
  • Not willing to provide references
  • Unwilling to spend time with you for the consultation
  • You are feeling like they’re pushing you to sign a contract

Be cautious and move on to other options if any of these items come up throughout your search. There are many good-quality family law attorneys, and you don’t have to settle for someone who isn’t willing to make you and your case a priority.

5. Talking about Fees

Bag of money on a scale with a gavel on the opposite side.
Photo via Shutterstock

Talking about fees can be very anxiety-provoking when hiring a family law attorney. It isn’t cheap to have any legal battle, but it is crucial to find a reputable attorney. Just because a family law attorney has a high hourly rate doesn’t mean you should avoid them; their fee could be high because they are incredibly efficient, and that will save you more in the end.

During your consultation, make sure to include questions you have about the fees associated with hiring the attorney. The right attorney will be very upfront with you about their fees. Most offices will also give you options to make down payments and pay monthly as well. Be open and discuss this with your attorney before hiring them.

Some terms your attorney may bring up when talking about fees include:

  • Hourly Rates – You may find these types of rates often used in family law. The lawyer will have a set amount that they bill for each hour of their time. This fee includes emails, phone calls, in-person meetings, and the time they work on the case.
  • Flat Fees – Attorneys may offer a flat fee option for cases such as divorces without children. Discuss what goes into the fee and if there are any other charges.
  • Office Fees – Copies, faxes, paralegal time, and other staff in the office can charge fees for working on your case.

Your attorney will most likely not be able to give you a specific amount that your case will cost, and that is normal. Instead, ask if they have a range that you should budget.

Getting Started

At The Stafford Firm, we specialize in all areas of family law. We welcome the opportunity to do a phone consultation or in-person consultation with you. Adoption, custody issues, divorce, domestic violence injunctions, and parental rights are just a few of our areas of specialty in family law.  Contact the Stafford Firm for a free consultation today! We can walk you through the process of hiring a family law attorney. We are open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. You can reach us by calling (561) 540-4533 or visiting us at 2290 10th Avenue North, Suite 302, Lake Worth, Florida 33461

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