Choosing a family attorney can feel daunting, especially when it concerns an emotionally trying time in your life. But it’s important to remember that the lawyer you choose can make a big difference in your outcome — and, consequently, your future.
Your Family Law Attorney is an Integral Partner
Navigating any divorce or other family-related issue requires a feeling of comfort and trust in your attorney. Because you will be sharing very personal information, this person becomes a trusted partner. You want to choose a lawyer who is not only trustworthy but can take a compassionate approach and yet represent you aggressively when it is called for. This is a tall order.
Whether you are considering divorce, working out issues concerning custody or support, or facing any other family legal issues, you want to feel comfortable and confident that your lawyer understands your needs and your wishes and can help you achieve them within legal boundaries. You also want someone who can give you the advice you need, even when it is difficult to hear, in order to make your future life more comfortable when you get to the other side.
Check In With Yourself
Checking in with yourself may be difficult right now, but it’s necessary to understand what you are looking for. What do you envision for yourself?
If you are considering a divorce, are you looking for a collaborative approach? If you and your partner can discuss your needs amicably, mediation may be the quickest and most cost-effective approach. You may want to choose a lawyer who specializes in collaborative solutions. If animosity and anger has built up and you can no longer discuss things in harmony, you may need to look at a more aggressive negotiator and litigator. These are important things to know about your unique situation.
Asking for advice is usually our go-to place when choosing a lawyer during an emotional ordeal. We all know friends and family who have gone through a divorce, and personal recommendations can be an excellent place to start. However, your needs will be completely different from the needs of these friends and family members. Although recommendations may be a good start, they should not be the only criteria you use when choosing your attorney. The family lawyer you choose should be on their own merit and how they will fit your needs, not the recommendation of a friend.
The internet is a beautiful thing for many services. You can find attorney ratings and review websites such as Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo. It’s important to remember, however, that internet reviews can be highly manipulated and subjective. Human instinct is for people to leave negative reviews when they are unhappy but not positive reviews when pleased with their service. Consequently, these should be taken with a grain of salt.
Interviewing a Family Law Attorney
Regardless of how you got to this point, a personal interview with a potential family law attorney is critical. This is when you get to understand whether an attorney feels right, answers your questions concisely, has the experience you need, and is simply a good personality fit.
- Make a list of questions and listen closely to the answers. How much experience does this lawyer have? You want someone as adept in the courtroom as they are at the negotiating table should you need litigation. How familiar is he or she with the judges and the other local divorce lawyers? Does the lawyer speak disparagingly of other lawyers?
- Are you getting the full attention of the attorney? While you are interviewing, are you getting interrupted by staff, or is the attorney fielding phone calls? This may be indicative of how you will be treated as a client.
- How will you communicate? How much access will you have to the lawyer, and how long can you expect to wait for answers to questions? Will you speak with this lawyer and not be passed off to another associate?
- Don’t forget to talk about your budget. Ask about how you will be charged for legal fees and if there is a flat fee option. Divorce can be expensive. You will want to understand your financial exposure.
Check in with your comfort level. Personality does matter. No matter how experienced the lawyer is, if you aren’t feeling comfortable and heard, then the lawyer is not right for you. There is a certain amount of gut instinct required when choosing the right lawyer.
Matters concerning divorce are never easy. You owe it to yourself to seek out a lawyer who is respectful, compassionate, and yet aggressive when the occasion calls for it. If you are considering a divorce or are dealing with other family legal issues, you can trust the experienced team at The Law Office of David A. King, P.C. to ensure that your interests are protected. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at (630) 504-7210.