When searching for a family law attorney, it is often very important to prepare a short list of questions to ask prospective attorneys. The family law attorney who handles your case is someone who you will be working closely with and who you need to be able to trust. Some important questions to ask upfront include:
What Is Your Background?
It is important that the attorney you choose is someone who has a background in family law, particularly in your particular type of case. Whether you are seeking help with a divorce, adoption, child support order, contempt of court, child custody, conservatorship of an adult or any other type of family law matter, you will want someone who has worked with this type of case before. Additionally, ask what the attorney’s rate of success has been. You should have a good idea after interviewing the attorney about how many cases of this nature he or she has tried, how many resulted in litigated cases and how often he or she won.
What Can I Expect?
It is also important that you have a firm grasp on the events that you will likely encounter. Be sure that you have a good understanding of the legal process involved, the type of evidence that you will need to provide, the type of information that you may be asked to reveal and the time commitments you will have to make. By having this array of information, you will be in a better position to make informed decisions.
How Much Will This Cost?
There will be a financial cost associated with pursuing any type of legal action. Ask about the attorney’s fee structure and ask for a general estimate on legal expenses while understanding ways that these can be increased or decreased. Every family case is different, so it is nearly impossible to accurately predict an exact figure. Some cases may be more expensive because they require a larger number of billable hours. Others require extensive discovery, which also increases the cost. The largest difference is often at what stage of the proceedings your case makes it. Cases that are negotiated well before any anticipated trial date tend to be much less expensive than cases that are litigated or settled on the courtroom steps.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Be wary of any attorneys who tell you that litigation is the only answer. There may be better options available that can get you what you want, such as mediation or negotiations. These alternatives can help you avoid excessive legal fees when compromise is possible. That being said, in some cases, the only reasonable course of action is litigation.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
Family law cases tend to move very slowly. Therefore, it is important that you know what you should and should not do while waiting for your case to proceed. Ask for guidance regarding handling certain finances, parenting plans, support arrangements and other issues that will likely arise before the court date. A divorce lawyer can help you minimize potential risks while protecting your financial future.