Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

A family law attorney can help with a variety of familial legalities such as prenuptial agreements, guardianship of minor children or adults with special needs, child custody, and foster care. Some attorneys specialize in one particular field while others offer a variety of legal services.

Selecting a family law attorney can be a vital decision, particularly for matters relating to child custody or guardianship. This type of lawyer can be helpful in cases that involve child abuse or domestic violence, as well as if minor children are charged with criminal offenses.

Individuals who need to establish guardianship for elderly parents often turn to family law lawyers. The decision to assume responsibility for parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or chronic health conditions is difficult because no one wants to take away a loved one’s independence. However, lawyers can help guide clients to make the best decision.

Lastly, family law attorneys assist with executing prenuptial agreements and offer legal advice regarding common law marriage, marital separation, and divorce.

In many cases, clients spend considerable time with their attorney. It can be beneficial to consult with multiple law firms to find a lawyer whose personality is compatible with your own. Taking time to interview 3 or 4 attorneys can minimize the risk of having to change lawyers once the case is opened. Changing lawyers halfway into a case can be a burdensome and costly process.

People often obtain referrals from family or friends. Others utilize telephone directories or lawyer referral networks. One way to narrow down the search is through the American Bar Association. Although the ABA does not provide a referral service, they do publish a nationwide list of lawyers in good standing.

Lawyer referral networks can be a good choice for locating attorneys that specialize in family law. It is best to utilize referral networks that provide complimentary services instead of paying a fee.

When setting up meet-and-greet sessions, ask to meet all staff members who will work on your case. Attorneys utilize paralegals to perform research, assist with drafting legal papers, and filing documents through courts. Administrative assistants engage in a variety of duties as well.

It’s important to feel comfortable and confident with all staff members, but especially those whom you will spend considerable time with. People often have a hard time asking to meet with staff, but chances are you will spend more time with them than the attorney.

Remember, this is your case and selecting good legal counsel is essential to your well-being. If law firms aren’t willing to comply it is best to move on to another.

During the meeting be certain to clarify legal expenses. Fees can vary greatly based on lawyers and the type of case involved. One-time events, such as prenuptials or name changes are usually charged at a flat rate. Cases requiring multiple court appearances or extensive research are often billed at an hourly rate.

It is common practice for attorneys to require a retainer with ongoing casework. On average, retainers are 25-percent of anticipated legal fees. Some attorneys require payment when services are rendered, while others provide monthly invoices. If a payment plan is required it is important to establish installment amounts upfront.

Two ways to reduce legal fees is to be organized and prepared for meetings and do as much work on your own as possible.

Always retain copies of court records and correspondence with the family law attorney and staff. Also keep a log of phone conversations and print out email correspondence. Documentation is essential when it comes to legal matters.

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