When it comes to finding the perfect legal representation for your family matters, it pays to do your research. This guide will help you understand what qualities to look for in a family lawyer and how to choose the right one for your needs.
What experience with family law do you have?
One of the most important questions to ask any potential family lawyer is what experience they have with family law. Make sure that the person you are considering has experience in your specific area of law as well as a good track record of success. Find out if they have any pending cases related to your situation, and ask for references to talk with other clients who have used their services.
When speaking with a prospective family lawyer, take the time to gather information about the practical and legal aspects of your case. Discuss fees, court costs and anticipated case preparation times, as well as possible alternative dispute resolution strategies. Ask what strategies they may use to resolve any disputes you may have. With family law being such an emotionally charged area, it’s important to understand how your lawyer communicates and deals with difficult conversations – ensure that their language and interactions are both professional and respectful so that you can get the best outcome possible.
What is your fee structure?
Before committing to a family lawyer, make sure you understand their fee structure and any additional expenses. Ask your potential lawyer if they charge a flat fee or hourly rate, what payment methods are accepted, if there are any additional legal fees you may incur throughout the process, and when payments for services must be made. It is important to get all the information related to costs up front so that there are no surprises down the line.
Ask specifically how your lawyer will bill you – at the end of each month, or only once the case is resolved. Knowing your lawyer’s fee structure ahead of time will help you develop a budget and settle on an attorney that fits within your desired financial parameters. It can also give you a better sense of how quickly the legal process may move forward. By establishing a clear understanding of what you should expect to pay, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best bang for your buck with your family lawyer.
How will you keep me informed during the case?
A family lawyer should keep you updated throughout your case. Ask potential lawyers how often they communicate with their clients and in what form. Some lawyers prefer to communicate via email while others may use phone or video calls. Make sure the method of communication works for you and that your lawyer is willing to answer your questions no matter how small they may be.
Ask the lawyer what procedure they follow to keep you up-to-date throughout the case. Will they provide regular updates and reports? Do they have an online portal you can log into to track the progress of your case? How soon after court hearings or conferences do they expect to inform you on the outcome? A reliable family lawyer will make sure you feel informed and that all communications are clear and detailed.
Are there any other potential resolution options available?
Many family lawyers and law firms have access to alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and arbitration. Ask potential lawyers to explain the types of alternative resolution processes they offer, and ask what type of situation is best suited for those processes. This way you can decide which type of process will provide the best outcome for your case.
Alternative resolution processes can be a faster, less expensive method of resolving disputes, and may be especially important when protecting certain rights or trying to craft a mutually beneficial agreement. Depending on the situation, a family lawyer may suggest arbitration or Collaborative Law. Many people find they are able to handle their dispute quicker, simpler and more cost-effectively through these alternative processes than if the case went to court. Ask your chosen lawyer which option might work best for you and make sure you feel comfortable with their recommendations.
Have you ever handled a case of this nature before?
It’s important to find out if a potential family lawyer has handled cases similar to yours in the past. Ask what types of cases they have worked on, as well as how many years they have been practicing family law. If possible, ask for examples of successful cases they have resolved and a list of referral sources who can vouch for their work. Don’t be afraid to inquire about their legal fees and payment plans too.
You should also use this as an opportunity to get a sense of what working with this lawyer might be like. Ask how much time they typically spend preparing for a case, if they provide updates and check-in calls, and what their courtroom demeanor is like. It’s also helpful to know whether the attorney spends most of his or her time in Family Court or if they work on a variety of legal issues. Find out if they are familiar with the Family Courts in your area and if they have attended any continuing education seminars. All of these key details can help you decide on the right family lawyer for your needs.[/QUOTE]