Many individuals involved in a lawsuit realize at one point or another that they need the guidance of a lawyer for family law. The court system is complex, involving state procedural rules, local procedural rules, and statutes. In addition, each decision-maker has their practices and preferences.
Our court system does not provide room for a "do-over" if you are unhappy with your first trip through. Moreover, it doesn't give much leniency if a layperson (non-attorney) lacks an understanding of the controlling rules or law. For example, a small, inadvertent error on the part of a layperson can be fatal to the success of a case.
For those reasons, it is not a surprise that many individuals decide to turn to an expert. They reach out to a lawyer for family law, for guidance, advice, and education on the law related to their case. Once deciding to seek out an attorney, many individuals do not know where to begin or even select an attorney.
How to Select a Family Law Attorney
Here is the advice I share with my friends and potential family law clients to guide them through attorney selection.
Obtain the recommendations of friends, family, and coworkers who have been through a family law case. For instance, word of mouth recommendations (positive or negative) can be a compelling resource. They help identify lawyers for family law that have been helpful to your peers in the past. Remember that every case is different. So a family law attorney that was a good match for your friend may not be the best match for you. But it's at least a good launching point.
Don't Settle for the First Lawyer for Family Law You Speak To
Consider meeting with multiple family law attorneys. Every attorney is not the same. As a result, it's essential to find an experienced and skilled attorney who has a personality and approach to the case that fits what you want. A family law case is one of the most challenging and trying times of your life. One family law attorney's approach to the case may be drastically different from another attorney's. In addition, selecting a lawyer for family law that you like may ease some of the stress of court hearings and meetings.
Work with a Local Family Attorney That Knows the Area
Choose an attorney who practices family law regularly in the county conducting your case. You are paying a lot of money for their expertise in a very specialized field. So make sure they are indeed an expert in the area of law covering your case and come with a wealth of education and experience.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Come to your consultation with a list of questions. Those questions should include the specifics of your case. In addition, talk to your attorney about practices regarding billing, communication (inside and outside of business hours), utilizing other professionals in the firm to keep your costs down (like associates and paralegals), and retainer payments. Consultations focus on discussing you and your case. But, this is also your chance to interview the lawyer for family law. Consequently, do not be shy about asking questions and expressing concerns.
Follow-up with Your Family Law Attorney
Consider a follow-up consultation. I recognize that multiple consultations can be a costly endeavor. Consider asking for a shortened and discounted follow-up consultation if you still have some questions left unanswered from the first meeting.
Don't Work with a Lawyer That's Not a Match.
My final comment. If your family law attorney does not turn out to be a good match for you, it is okay to end the relationship civilly and professionally. You should feel that your attorney is your advocate and a trusted advisor. Having a competent and trustworthy attorney by your side should ease the burden of this challenging time.
If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth C. Early at 610-275-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Elizabeth is a family law attorney in Bucks County and Montgomery County. She specializes in many areas, including divorce, custody, child support, equitable distribution, marital agreements, and abuse matters.
The information above is general: we recommend consulting an attorney regarding your specific circumstances. The content of this information does not serve as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.