Family Law Attorney
Hiring a family law attorney is an important decision that should be weighed carefully. Family law encompasses many fields. Some lawyers specialize in specific areas while others offer a wide range of services. The type of attorney required will depend on individual needs.
A family law attorney can assist with marital matters including prenuptial agreements, common law marriage, separation, and divorce. They can also help with matters of child custody, guardianship, adoption, and foster care.
Family law lawyers are often required when caring for elderly parents. They can assist with matters pertaining to establishing guardianship when parents are diagnosed with chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer's, that limit mental faculties.
If minor children are charged with criminal offenses or engaged in truancy, parents or guardians may require a family law lawyer to represent them in court. This type of attorney can also be beneficial with cases involving child abuse or domestic violence.
When possible, it is best to consult with multiple law firms to determine which is best suited for your needs. Every attorney has a unique personality and approach to upholding the law. Clients often spend considerable time with their lawyer, so it can be helpful to retain services from those whose personality is suited to yours.
Although clients have the right to change attorneys at any time, doing so can be a cumbersome and costly process. It is always more productive to take time scouting out an appropriate lawyer from the start than to change legal counsel midstream.
There are many ways to locate qualified lawyers. One of the most common is to obtain referrals from family or friends. Another popular method is to locate law firms via phone directories. This can be a timely process that requires multiple phone calls and setting up initial consultations.
One source for reducing the amount of time spent researching lawyers is the American Bar Association. Although the ABA does not offer a referral system, their website provides a list of lawyers which are in good standing with the organization.
Attorney referral networks can be another good source for finding suitable law firms. There are plenty of networks that offer complimentary services, so beware of those that charge a fee to connect you with qualified attorneys. Legal referral networks can easily be found online and via the American Bar Association website at AmericanBar.org.
When calling law firms it is best to arrange meet-and-greet consultations that allow you to discuss your case with lawyers and their team. Family law lawyers often enlist casework help from paralegals and administrative assistants. Therefore, it can be beneficial to meet everyone who will work on your case.
Lawyers typically charge hourly fees, so it is wise to be organized and prepared for meetings. Inquire as to what documents are required when calling to setup consultations. Regardless of the need for legal help it is crucial to document conversations and retain all records pertaining to your case.
Legal fees vary by law firm, lawyer experience, and type of services required. Hiring a divorce lawyer will be more costly than retaining a lawyer for a prenuptial agreement or name change. It is important to establish fee and payment schedules prior to retaining a lawyer.
Most attorneys require an upfront retainer which normally amounts to 25-percent of anticipated costs. Depending on required services, clients might be billed hourly or at a flat rate. Some law firms expect payment at the time services are rendered, while others submit monthly invoices. Knowing what type of payment arrangement is required can eliminate unexpected financial surprises.
If you are in need of a family law attorney, taking time to conduct research and consult with multiple law firms can help ensure your receive the best legal counsel. We invite you to learn more about family law issues and strategies for hiring attorneys best suited for your needs in our family matters article library.
Published on February 22, 2011 at 02:55 AM