A family law attorney deals with legal issues that hit close to home. Whether you are adopting a child, divorcing, or need to adjust your child custody agreement, having a great attorney can make all the difference.
But how do you find the best family law attorney for you? With so many lawyers claiming to be experts in family law, finding the right one to represent your case can be overwhelming. So here are some tips on how to find the best family law attorney.
What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?
Before we get into how to find the best family law attorney, let’s take a look at what they do. Family law covers a very broad area of practice. These lawyers specialize in being the voice of your family in the courtroom, asserting your rights as a spouse, parent, or legal guardian.
Some of the most common types of cases a family lawyer represents include:
- Adoption through an agency, the state, or from a relative
- Child custody and visitation rights
- Child support agreements
- Divorce through mediation or litigation
- Enforcement of child support or visitation agreements
- Juvenile delinquency or dependency proceedings
- Modification of child support or visitation agreements
- Pre- and Post-nuptial agreements
Whatever the case, if you have concerns about protecting your rights or the rights of your family, an experienced family law attorney can help.
How do I Get Started?
The first step to finding the right family law attorney to represent you is to know your case and why you need a lawyer. While it’s possible to represent yourself in any legal matter, it’s not always wise. Family law can be quite complicated. Without expert counsel and representation chances are you will not be happy with the outcome of your case. Having the right attorney helps to ensure that the court hears you and upholds your rights.
To find the right attorney, you will need to know the facts of your case. What type of case do you need representation for? What sort of special circumstances might your lawyer need to be familiar with? For example, say you are going through a messy divorce. Your spouse lives in another state now and currently has custody of the children. You have concerns about how they are being looked after and feel they would be better off if you had full custody. Additionally, one or more of your children has special needs or a serious health condition. This information can change the approach your attorney will need to take. It also can make a big difference in which attorney is the right one to represent you.
Referrals and Reviews
The next step in how to find the best family law attorney for you is to ask for referrals and check reviews. You may know someone who has hired an attorney before. If they had a good experience with them, they may be worth looking into. If their attorney isn’t quite the right fit, they may have a colleague they could recommend that may be a better fit.
If you do not know anyone who has hired an attorney before, you may want to look online. Your state bar association will have a list of all attorneys licensed to practice law in your state. They will have these lawyers listed by areas of practice. While it is tempting to look for a high powered, big city lawyer, that isn’t always your best option. You may be better served hiring someone a little closer to home. It is much easier to keep in touch with your attorney if they have a local office. There are various websites that list lawyers and their areas of expertise you can use to find a lawyer near you.
The Good and The Bad
Regardless of how you find them, it is always helpful to check the lawyer’s reviews. Testimonials from previous clients will give you an idea of what type of cases they usually represent. You will also get a sense for how successful they are with that type of case. Remember, they may be a successful attorney but if they have a poor record with adoptions, you may want to find someone else to represent your out-of-state adoption.
Reviews will also give you some insight into the type of representation you can expect from them and what their values are. Just be sure to check more than one review site and don’t be afraid to read the bad reviews too. This helps to ensure that you get an unbiased view of their performance.
Before hiring your attorney, it is important to meet them in person. No one expects you to be best friends with your lawyer. However, it is important that you feel comfortable around them and can get along. An in-person meeting will also give you a better sense of their competence and people skills.
In your interview you will want to ask your attorney about their experience representing cases like yours. How many similar cases have they taken in the past? What is their success rate with similar cases? Due to client-attorney privileges they may not be able to give specifics about past cases. However, they should be able to speak to their knowledge of the relevant areas of law. It is also a good idea to ask them what ideas they have for how to represent your case.
This is also a great opportunity to see their people skills in action. A great attorney will be able to communicate clearly and effectively. You should feel confident that your lawyer understands you, your values, and your desired outcome for the case. They will be able to discuss these topics with compassion for you and your situation. If at any time you question whether they truly care about you or your case, it may be time to continue the search.
Ilarraza Law Can Help
At Ilarraza Law we understand that this case is important to you. The outcome will have a tremendous impact on your life moving forward. We take the time to get to know our client’s values and needs so we can better serve your interests. Whether you are facing divorce, just starting your life together, or adding to your family, the attorneys at Ilarraza Law can help.