Tips for Hiring a Family Law Attorney
At stressful and difficult times, you need a family lawyer who will take some of the stress away from you, not add to it, so this is one area of law where a ‘good fit’ between lawyer and client is essential. Finding this will involve taking a free consultation with a number of family law attorneys and deciding which one felt right.
That’s where our State Bar Attorneys Directory can help - we list thousands of family law firms, and it’s easy to narrow down your search for family attorneys near you or who specialize in the required area of family law.
You can also read reviews right here in the directory, to get a feel for which are the most trusted family law firms in your area.
What Types of Cases Can a Family Law Attorney Help With?
Family lawyers help families and individuals needing legal assistance with any kind of family relationship.
Although most people think of divorce attorneys when they think of family law, divorce and family breakdown are far from the only times when you might want to hire a family law attorney. Many people seek family law assistance to draw up a prenuptial agreement before a wedding, or to handle the adoption of a much-longed for child - it’s not all doom and gloom!
Nevertheless, it’s true that divorce cases make up a large proportion of work for most family law firms. If your marriage breaks down, you can trust your divorce lawyer to make this most heartbreaking situation as painless as it can be, while protecting your interests at every turn. Children often suffer most in a divorce, but a skilled divorce attorney will ensure that child custody issues are settled calmly and quickly, minimizing the pain for all involved.
Family law firms also help with complex family legal matters such as guardianships, paternity disputes and parental rights.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Family Law Attorney?
The cost will depend on how complex your family law issue is. Some family lawyers charge a fixed fee for handling a case, while others will charge an hourly rate. Ensure that you understand full details of how much you will be charged before you make your final choice of a family law attorney.
FAQ On Hiring a Family Law Attorney
1 - Can I share a divorce attorney with my spouse to save costs?
No! While it’s great that you and your soon-to-be ex are on good enough terms for you to consider this, it’s not possible and would represent a conflict of interst for your family attorney. If you are using mediation to resolve your divorce, you can work with the same mediator, but you would be well advised to have separate divorce attorneys in any case, to ensure that your interests are fully protected.
2 - How can I minimize the costs of my divorce?
The more you and your spouse can agree between yourselves before hiring divorce attorneys, the faster, simpler and cheaper the process should be - not to mention less emotionally draining. Where possible, if the state of your relationship allows it, try to agree on matters like division of property and assets, child custody, who will pay child support and whether either of you will pay alimony or spousal support.
3 - Do I really need a divorce attorney? We still get along, can’t we handle it ourselves?
If you and your spouse are still on reasonably good terms, it is possible that you could negotiate a divorce settlement without an attorney. However, this is fraught with pitfalls - and it’s very hard to get out of an agreement later should you decide you’ve made a mistake. Where there is any history of violence in the relationship, or where there is a power imbalance of a financial imbalance, you are strongly advised to hire a divorce attorney even if you are otherwise on good terms with your partner. If you are both willing, however, you could try opting for what’s called a collaborative divorce - this is where both parties and both divorce attorneys sign an agreement that they will not go to trial. In theory, with the option for trial removed, all parties will work harder to reach a settlement, saving time, money, and ill-feeling.