A family law attorney is helpful resource when it comes to legal matters concerning familial events. These lawyers handle a variety of legal cases involving marriage, minor children, and elderly parents. Some law firms specialize in one specific field of law while others represent all types of cases.
Selecting a family law attorney should be given careful consideration. This is of particular importance when retaining lawyers to represent minor children or establish guardianship for parents suffering from conditions that limit mental capacities, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
It can be beneficial to consult with three or more law firms to meet lawyers and staff members face-to-face. Clients often spend considerable time with legal counsel, so it can be helpful to work with an attorney whose persona puts them at ease.
Taking time to interview candidates can help clients select the most appropriate lawyer for the task at hand. It can also minimize the potential to change lawyers in the midst of the case.
There are many options available for finding a good attorney. Many people obtain referrals from family and friends. Others use lawyer referral networks or conduct online research. Some utilize telephone directories.
One common mistake people make is selecting lawyers based on the size of their phone book advertisement. It’s important to realize that large ads do not necessarily equate to being the best attorney.
One option for reducing time spent searching for an appropriate law firm is the American Bar Association. Although the ABA does not provide direct referrals, they do publish a list of nationwide lawyers in good standing with the organization at AmericanBar.org.
Lawyer referral networks are another option for locating family law attorneys. Some referral networks assess a fee while others offer complimentary services. It is rarely a necessity to pay anyone to assist in locating lawyers so proceed with caution when fees are assessed.
Once 3 or 4 law firms have been located it is time to setup an initial consultation. Law firms often provide complimentary meet-and-greet sessions, but some assess a nominal fee. Be certain to determine fees before making the appointment.
Ask to meet with all staff members who will work on the case. It is common practice for attorneys to enlist help from paralegals and administrative assistants to reduce legal fees. Clients should feel at ease with all staff members, but especially those whom they will work closely with.
It is important to establish legal fees before hiring law firms. Legal fees are usually based on the type of case involved. One-time events, such as drafting prenuptial agreements or filing legal name changes, are usually billed at a flat fee. Ongoing cases that require court appearances or extensive research are typically billed at an hourly rate.
Most lawyers require an upfront retainer fee for representing ongoing cases. This fee is usually around 25-percent of anticipated fees. Attorneys oftentimes require payment in full when services are rendered, while others send monthly invoices.
Clients that require payment plans must discuss terms ahead of time to ensure timely access to legal counsel. It is crucial to stay current with payments; otherwise, lawyers can refuse to provide legal counsel.
One way to reduce legal expenses is to always be organized and prepared for meetings. It is helpful to keep case documents organized in a dedicated file folder. Always keep record of phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, and email correspondence that take place with the family law lawyer and staff and retain copies of all documents related to the case.