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Tips for Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

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What is a Family Law Attorney?

A family law lawyer is a licensed attorney who represents clients in family law disputes, typically involving family relationships. The area of family law covers a wide array of disputes, such as adoption, divorce, child custody, or even something minor such as changing your name. Because most family law disputes require life-altering changes (divorce and child custody), the disputes can be emotionally charged and very contentious.
 
For this reason, family law attorneys must be skilled advocates for their client. They also must keep their client apprised of her legal rights throughout the lawsuit. A knowledgeable family law attorney knows the ins-and-outs of family law in their state, and knows how to navigate through the legal process.

What are Some Questions to Ask a Family Law Attorney?

Before you hire a family law attorney, it’s important to try to determine whether your attorney can handle your case. Here are some questions that you should ask your potential attorney:

  1. Have you handled a case like mine before? You want a lawyer who has expertise in family law and the legal issue you’re facing. The attorney doesn’t necessarily need to be a veteran, but this shouldn’t be the first time she has a case like yours, either.
  2. What are your legal fees? Before you decide to hire an attorney, you need to know what her cost will be. You want to make sure you can afford the attorney’s services.
  3. Have you ever been sanctioned or disciplined for attorney misconduct? If the potential attorney has violated or been accused of violating any rules of professional conduct (like overcharging his clients!), you want to know.
  4. How will you communicate with me regarding my case?
    You want to be apprised of the status of your case. Ask the attorney how she plans to communicate with you and how often you will hear from her.
  5. Are there any other ways to resolve my problem?
    A good attorney will suggest other, less expensive remedies that don’t involve litigation. Perhaps mediation or arbitration are suitable alternatives, and if that’s the case, the attorney should inform you of these alternatives.
  6. What will be the outcome of my case?
    An attorney should never guarantee a result, but knowing the potential chances of winning will help you determine whether or not you want to proceed.

Of course, you will also want to ask specific questions based on your case. Most importantly, before you hire a lawyer you should conduct some preliminary background research on her. State bar websites will show whether the person has been disciplined by the State Bar. You may also be able to find reviews for the attorney online, and if you submit your case through LegalMatch you will have access to the history, information, and any reviews about the lawyers who may take your case.

Additional Tips for Hiring a Family Law Attorney

After you find an attorney to take on your case, you want to do all you can to ensure you prevail in your claim. Here are some tips that can help you succeed.

  1. Tell your attorney the facts, and omit nothing. An attorney can only protect you so long as she knows everything about your claim, and the more she knows, the better she can research and investigate your claim. Lawyers are bound by the attorney-client privilege, so no matter how sensitive the topic is, they cannot divulge what you discuss with them. All information will remain private and confidential. Misrepresentations can also result in legal liability, so be honest.
  2. Provide past documents. Previous court orders, bank account statements, police reports, etc. can all be used to help prove your claim.
  3. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer if you’re confused about the process, your attorney’s rationale for legal theories or defenses, etc.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with My Family Law Claim?

Family law disputes can be complex and may require assistance from a legal professional. You may need to hire a qualified family law attorney to help you achieve the outcome you desire. Your attorney can help you with your claim and can represent you if you need to appear in court.

Photo of page author Erin Chan Adams

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-27-2017 01:58 PM PST

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