Considerations of Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

A family law lawyer handles legal matters pertaining to issues surrounding family. Some of the most common cases managed by these legal advisors include prenuptial agreements, divorce, guardianship of minor children, adoption, spousal alimony, child support, child abuse and domestic violence.

Selecting a family law lawyer can be an intimidating process, particularly when cases involve domestic violence or child abuse. These legal concerns can be a matter of life or death and often leave people little time to interview several attorneys.

Divorce is often a highly-charged event that requires legal counselors who can help spouses’ part ways amicably while ensuring clients receive a fair settlement. This is especially important when minor children are involved. It is essential to work with a legal team that are advocates for children’s rights and will fight for adequate child support.

Family law matters generally require clients to spend considerable time with their attorney. It can be helpful to determine the type of lawyer you would prefer to work with before scheduling consultation appointments.

Would you rather work with a male or female attorney? Do you require a lawyer with years of experience or would you prefer an attorney who is just starting his practice? Do you want a lawyer known for being aggressive in the courtroom or one who remains calm under pressure?

It can also be helpful to write a list of concerns you have about the case, along with questions and the desired outcome. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to locate the type of attorney best suited for your case.

Last, but not least, it is smart to organize all documents that will be required for your lawyer to properly represent your case in court. For example, couples entering into divorce will need to present financial records including wage statements, detailed list of expenses, 2 to 3 years of tax returns, mortgage notes, property deeds, and information pertaining to minor children.

It is helpful to consult with multiple family law firms to get a good feel for what the group offers and to meet with attorneys and paralegals. Many lawyers offer complimentary consultations to discuss your case and determine fees. It is crucial to discuss fees and payment schedules before entering into an agreement.

The common practice amongst family law lawyers is to obtain an upfront retainer. This normally amounts to 25-percent or more of anticipated costs. Lawyers can assess fees at an hourly rate or flat fee. Cases that require substantial research or court time are usually billed at an hourly rate. Cases that require minimal work, such as a name change or prenuptial agreement, are usually billed at a flat rate.

Law firms also charge fees for administrative duties such as copying or faxing documents, postage fees, and phone consultations. Lawyers often deduct these expenses from retainer amounts, but may require clients to pay backend expenses on a monthly basis.

Most lawyers expect payment when services are rendered. Some will allow clients to enter into a payment plan. It is important to develop payment schedules that you can easily comply with. Otherwise, you could lose access to legal counsel and be forced to locate another lawyer. It is always wise to place payment plans in writing to ensure all parties involved are aware of expected payment amounts and dates.

Individuals who need legal counsel but cannot afford legal fees may qualify for pro bono services. Eligibility depends on income and circumstances of the case. For example, lawyers will sometimes provide gratis services for child abuse or domestic violence cases.

A good resource for locating qualified attorneys is the American Bar Association at The ABA does not provide referrals or recommendations. Instead they provide a nationwide list of family law lawyers in good standing with the organization.

Hiring a reputable family law lawyer can ease stress often associated with legal cases. Real estate investor, Simon Volkov, shares additional tips for locating suitable lawyers at
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