If you have children and are getting a divorce, you need to have the right family law firm on your side. You may not know any child custody attorneys but finding the right one for you and your case can be done. Here are some tips to finding the right lawyer for your needs and situation.
1. Talk to your friends and family. Given the number of people who get divorces and have children every year, the chances are good that you know people who have had to be helped by child custody attorneys. Ask around. The best way to find quality products and services is always to get a personal referral. Ask how they found their lawyer and what they thought about the experience. Another way to start compiling a list of child custody attorneys is to talk to other lawyers you know or have worked with. They cannot help you directly but may know good child custody lawyers in your areas.
2. Look for specialists. Lawyers, like doctors, specialize. You would not go to a gastroenterologist for a broken leg and a criminal defense attorney will not be able to give you child custody legal advice. Even within the realm of divorce or family law, there are different levels of experience and expertise. Some area divorce lawyers may be excellent at getting the best settlements for their clients but if they have little or no experience with child custody cases, they may not be able to help you. You need to narrow your search down to great child custody attorneys who work a lot on these cases.
3. You need to talk to local lawyers. There may be great child custody lawyer in Florida but if you are in Long Beach, you need an Orange County family law attorney to help with your case. In the first place, you need to talk to child custody attorneys who are licensed to practice in your state. If the lawyer has not passed the bar exam in your state, they cannot help you. Lawyers who are not in your city also do not have the experience working with the staff at the courthouse near you. The relationships that local child custody attorneys build with those courthouse staff members can be very important to your case. The bottom line is that you need a local lawyer to help you with your child custody issues.
4. Take advantage of the free consultation. Most law firms will see prospective clients for free for a first consultation. This gives prospective clients a chance to get to know the law firms and gets the lawyers a chance to get to know the client and learn about the case. Bring the questions you want to ask the different child custody lawyers. Here are some examples:
- How long have you worked on child custody cases?
- What made you go into this speciality? You do not want a lawyer who is “phoning it in.”
- How much of your practice is devoted to child custody cases? Some family law practices do not get enough business from child custody cases and work on other family law issues. The more experience and time they spend on these kinds of cases, the better.
- Who will work on my case? Most law firms have legal assistants and paralegals working on their cases. You need to know who will be working on your case.
- Who will be available if I have questions? You may not be able to talk to your child custody lawyer all of the time but you should be able to talk to them when you really need to. The other people who are working on your case may be in a better position to answer some of your questions so do not be upset if you talk to them first.
- What is your fee structure? You want to get the best lawyer for your child custody case but you also need to afford their services. Talk to them about a payment plan.
Finding the right child custody lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of your case and the experience you have getting through your divorce.