Are you going through a divorce or other court-based dispute with a a member of your family? Have you decided that you need a lawyer, but you're not sure how to choose the best one for your situation? Picking out a family law lawyer can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to. Before you hire any attorney, here are some questions to ask to help you determine if you've got the best fit for your case:
Are you familiar with this type of case? If you are a grandparent who is suing for visitation rights, you'll want a family law lawyer who has handled that type of case before. Grandparent rights may not exist or may be new in your state, which can make your case seem all but impossible. If you want to be successful, you'll want a lawyer who is at least familiar with the court cases that have occurred in other states.
Who will be handling this case? Some extremely simple cases will require only the filing of paperwork, at least to a certain point. Your family law lawyer may hand some or all of this paperwork over to a paralegal or legal secretary to prepare before they give it a final look and file it themselves. Extremely busy attorneys may have little to do with the paperwork, only showing up in court as necessary. You'll want an attorney who is good enough to have several other clients, but not so busy that he or she isn't able to give your case any personal attention.
What happens if the other party tries to communicate? When dealing with someone who may have been close family before, it's possible that they may try to avoid your lawyer and will instead try to contact you directly. If you have a court order prohibiting this kind of contact, your family law lawyer will likely want to know about this contact as soon as possible. If you don't have a court order, your attorney will be able to direct you on what to do with the texts, voicemail or letters that you receive. When your lawyer has as much information as possible, you're much more likely to be successful in your case.
What are the rates for a case like this? If your case is expected to mainly require filing of paperwork, your potential attorney may charge you a flat fee to prepare and file these documents. On the other hand, more complicated cases are likely to elicit an hourly fee. Make sure you understand exactly what the hourly rates are. For example, documents prepared by your lawyer's paralegal are likely to cost less per hour than documents that are prepared directly by your lawyer.