Family Law Lawyer
Choosing a family law lawyer can be challenging. Family law encompasses a variety of legal matters ranging from marriage to divorce and adoption to child custody. Some attorneys specialize in one particular niche, while others offer services for a variety of family related matters.
Prior to hiring a family law lawyer it is best to consult with a minimum of three or four legal firms. Most matters pertaining to family law require spending time with your lawyer, so it is important to choose one who suits your personality and possesses the skills you require. Shopping around for a good lawyer can ensure you achieve the results you are seeking.
Start by creating a list of lawyers who specialize in the field of family law you require. For example, if you plan to adopt a child from a foreign country, you would want to seek out attorneys with experience in this area. If you are having marital problems, seek out a reputable divorce lawyer.
Family law attorneys can be located via telephone directories or the American Bar Association website at abanet.org. Although the ABA does not offer recommendations, they provide a list of nationwide lawyers who are in good standing with the association. Another option is to ask friends or family members for referrals.
Next, create a list of questions and concerns, along with the outcome you desire. Contact each potential law firm to arrange a consultation. Most lawyers provide a complimentary consultation to review your case. Others charge a nominal fee, while some charge an hourly rate. Be certain to ask about costs prior to scheduling a consultation.
Organize paperwork associated with the legal matter. If you are seeking divorce, you would want to gather two to three years of tax returns, list of income and expenses, copies of financial records such as banking, retirement and investment accounts, and documents relating to real estate including mortgage notes, deed of trust, property tax and insurance records. Being organized will expedite consultations and help you quickly determine if the attorney is suitable for your needs.
Legal fees are typically based on an hourly wage. Some situations, such as recording a legal name change, might be charged at a flat rate. Most attorneys require an upfront retainer which usually amounts to around 25-percent of anticipated legal costs.
Nearly every lawyer charges clients for phone consultations, paralegal research, copying fees, court filings, and postage expenses. Some charges will be deducted from the retainer, while others are billed on a monthly basis. Others expect payment at time services are rendered. It is crucial to determine how fees are charged before signing a contract. Otherwise, legal expenses can be significantly higher than expected.
Individuals who cannot afford an attorney might be eligible for legal aide. Much depends on the circumstances and income of the plaintiff. In the case of divorce, sometimes spouses are required to reimburse legal fees through the divorce decree.
When it comes to family law, there are as many variables as there are lawyers. Consulting with several attorneys will help determine the average cost and what to expect during the process.
We invite you to learn more about family law, divorce lawyers, guardianship, estate planning and other family matters in our comprehensive estate planning article library. New articles are added on a weekly basis, so take a moment to subscribe to our mailing list and be instantly notified when new information is published.
Published on December 12, 2009 at 07:14 AM | Comments: 1
| | Printer friendly