Starting a family is a wonderful journey that has its ups and downs. It comes with great responsibility and day-to-day issues. One of those responsibilities is ensuring your own and your children’s security in case any issues escalate and become irreconcilable. Hiring a family attorney is a smart decision that gives you a safety net in certain situations like adopting a child, filing for divorce, reporting domestic abuse, etc. Since this means someone will be involved in your life on a personal level, you need to make sure you hire the right person. With a big decision like this, there are a few things to consider but don’t worry, we’ll give you a few hints to help you out.
1. Why you Need a Family Attorney
Before you go searching for a suitable family attorney, you need to assess a few things first. Do you just want general legal advice? Do you want to hire one in case of any sudden circumstance? Or is it because of a particular legal crisis you are currently experiencing? It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to make the right choice. If you’re new at this, here are a few reasons why you may need a family attorney:
You need to be prepared for the possible problems that come with having a family. Divorce, for example, is one of the most common issues that have a long, tiring process which can be made easier with an experienced family attorney. They can ensure a fair division of finance and property, child custody, child support, and visitation rights. Another family matter that you’ll need a family attorney for is guardianship of your children in case you and your partner are unable to provide care for them for any reason, or after your passing.
Any family law case has specific documents and paperwork that are presented to the court. These documents need to draft or file in a certain way and usually have deadlines. If a document isn’t filed or drafted correctly, or within the appointed time frame, the judge has the right to exclude them from your case. Many people think they can handle this aspect themselves and end up with one mishap or another because it’s meant to be carried out by a professional. Your attorney can take care of all these requirements for you, professionally and on time.
Having a family attorney can give you peace of mind and security in more than one way. Financially, your lawyer can make sure you don’t pay more or receive less than you’re owed in child support, spousal maintenance, and marital assets during a divorce. A family attorney can also ensure the security of your loved ones by keeping a record of your will and estate plans. They make sure your wishes are followed after your passing and prevent any legal conflict.
2. Proper Research
Hiring the first family attorney, you come across isn’t the best move, even if you are in a hurry to get legal representation. You’ll need to do thorough research on family court lawyers in your area to find someone who can best represent your interests. The first step is to ask friends and family for recommendations for attorneys they have dealt with before. Ask them about their service, what challenges they faced, and if they were satisfied overall. Look for attorneys with an online presence that you can gather information from. Make a list of candidates and compare your options to hire the most suitable attorney for your case.
3. Choose Wisely
There are several factors to consider during your search for an attorney; budget, personality, and location. After you create a list of potential candidates, ask about their hourly rates and what services they cover to get a rough estimate of the total cost. Compare the numbers you hear from each firm in relation to the budget you have set. You’ll also want a confident and trustworthy attorney with a compelling personality. Their office should also be within a reasonable distance since you will be frequently visiting.
4. Look for Experience
Having an experienced family attorney guarantees that you will get the best possible results in any family law case. Make sure they have a solid professional background in family law in particular. During the first meeting, ask them how often they practice family law or how long they have specialized in it, whether they dealt with cases like yours before, and what are the possible results they predict for your case. You should also make sure they regularly appear in court to guarantee they are familiar with the procedures and courthouse rules.
5. Prioritize Good Service and Communication
Remember that your main aim is to get the best possible service from your family attorney. While you’re calling the firms on your list of candidates, take notice of how long it takes for them to pick up, and whether it is a machine or an actual person who is ready to answer your questions. You should also make sure they have an emergency number for clients to be able to reach them anytime. Choose someone who welcomes your questions and can be reached in multiple ways; email, phone, etc.
6. There’s Plenty of Sharing
Another thing to take into consideration is that whoever you choose to be your family lawyer will be very involved in your life. You’ll have to share the smallest details of your family life with them to help your case. Attorneys need to know the whole story to get you the best results and avoid being surprised by new information presented by the other party during the trial. That is why it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with your lawyer and not feel judged by them.
The most important thing to remember when hiring a family attorney is to choose someone who you are comfortable with. They should show you that they care and that they are adamant about giving you proper attention and the best results possible. Remember that even though they’re supposed to offer you support during any crisis, it should only be professional and objective support. While it could be an emotional time for you, your attorney is there to help you legally, and it’s best to set clear boundaries and realistic expectations about their role from the start.
It’s very helpful to know that paperwork regarding family law tend to have strict deadlines so hiring a lawyer to help out with them would be very useful. My husband and I are looking to adopt a child soon and while we already sorted through the orphanages around our area, we’re still not that familiar with the legal side of things when it comes to making a child officially part of our family. With a good lawyer, we hopefully will be able to finish with the adoption just in time before Christmas.