How To Find The Right Attorney For Your Divorce Or Custody Dispute
There are many factors to consider when choosing a family law attorney to handle your divorce. Selecting the right attorney can have a significant impact on the way your divorce will be handled. The decision may feel overwhelming, especially if you have never worked with an attorney before.
Here are three things you should consider when choosing a family law attorney:
1. What Type of Process Do You Want?
Before you pick up the phone and start making random calls to law offices, you should consider process options. You have a few process options to address your divorce or custody conflict. You can choose to have the Court address your case and make decisions; You can choose mediation, which is where a neutral, third-party mediator facilitates the conversation and negotiation between you and your husband and/or father of your child, with the goal of reaching a settlement; You can choose Collaboration, which is where you both hire Collaboratively trained attorneys to help you reach a mutually acceptable divorce or custody settlement, without a battle in Court. If you don’t know which process might be best for you, you may want to schedule a consult with one or more family law attorneys who can provide you information about your different process options. While some cases may necessarily require court intervention, oftentimes litigation is not your only option.
2. Ask Questions and Do Some Research
With a little research, you can obtain a good deal of information about an attorney before you even schedule a meeting. You can ask friends and family members who have used a family law attorney about their experience and if they would recommend the attorney. If you have a financial advisor or mental health professional, they may know an attorney who can help. Your church staff may also be able to provide recommendations. Asking the advice of an attorney you already know, who works in a different area of the law, can also be extremely helpful.
There is a great deal of attorney information available on-line. There are various attorney rating services (including Super Lawyers, Avvo and others) which can help you identify a family law attorney in your geographical location. Many of these sites also have client or professional testimonies which can provide you with additional information and insight. If you are connected to social media, you could ask for recommendations that way as well, although this may not be as private.
You can also contact your local county Bar Association, as many have referral programs in place. If you cannot afford an attorney, this is a good option to help you find a professional that may be able to help.
Once you have gathered some names, you can internet search each attorney and their law firm websites to gather other valuable information. Look for articles or blogs the attorney may have written to gain insight into their practice.
3. Always Come to the Consult with Prepared Questions
Once you have selected and scheduled a meeting with the family law attorney(s) you wish to consult with, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the meeting. Always come to the consult with questions that you feel can help you choose your attorney. Don’t be afraid to write your questions down and take them with you to the meeting so you don’t forget. Read the post Meeting With A Family Law Attorney for a list of questions you may want to ask and areas to explore in your first meeting with your prospective attorney.
The ultimate goal is to select a family law attorney who you feel will best help you through the divorce and/or custody process. Your attorney is your partner on what can be a difficult and emotional journey. Investing the time and energy in identifying the factors that are most important to you and thoroughly evaluating your options, will help you make the best decision you can.
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