Hire the Best Divorce or Family Law Attorney for You – Tip Number One
You have been served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Petition for Paternity, or Supplemental Petition for Modification; or maybe you need to hire a lawyer to help you prepare one of these to serve on the other side; or, there are post-judgment compliance and contempt issues or modification issues that need to be handled. Whatever it is, you realize that you need to get proper legal representation to help you. But what is the right legal representation and how do you find it?
Your search for a marriage and family law attorney could certainly be confusing with all the information “out there.” How do you filter out all the nonsense and find the right person for you? First, don’t open the yellow pages, and second, remember that most lawyer websites have simply become expanded yellow page ads.
Next, you’ll want to start collecting information. Seek recommendations from family and friends and do your own independent research. In addition to letting you know what to look for, I want to help you know what to avoid. Once you get a few names of potential family law attorneys you’d like to learn more about, go to that attorney’s website.
CAUTION: What do you see there? Do you see credit card logos on website pages? Do you see information that the attorney or firm is willing to make payment arrangements with you? Do you see that the lawyer is willing to give you a “free” initial consultation? WATCH OUT! These are sales and marketing tactics and do not provide you with any information about the attorney’s qualifications or the quality of legal services you should expect from the Firm.
TIP NUMBER ONE:
MAKE SURE YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE ATTORNEY FROM THE BEGINNING
When you pick up the phone to call a lawyer’s office, you are taking the first step on what can be a long road. From the moment you call the attorney’s office, you should feel that your call is important and that the attorney and his staff are a team that is there to help you. ask yourself:
* Are you comfortable with your initial contact with the Firm?
* Did you have a good first impression?
* Was the information you need provided?
* Were you given the date and time of the appointment promptly?
* Are you going to see the main partner or attorney who will work on your case?
One thing to keep in mind is that many attorneys will not provide advance quotes over the phone. There are many reasons for this. Personally, I need to meet with the person, see the dynamics of the case, determine the relative financial positions and needs of the parties, and then make some initial determinations. In fact, I have plans in my office where we will carry out a full divorce proceeding for a low flat fee plus the cost of filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This plan isn’t for everyone, but if I don’t take the time to meet with you and determine your unique situation, you’ll never know what your options are. So don’t worry if you don’t receive an immediate retainer quote during your first phone call to the Firm.
CAUTION: If the law firm or attorney you call gives you a down payment that seems low, BEWARE! A law firm that is simply trying to attract people may tell you any retainer just to appear more affordable than all the other firms, the only difference is that they will quickly review your initial retainer and then ask you for more money. of you to continue representing you. You should seek an attorney who will give you a realistic expectation of overall costs and fees based on your particular circumstances. The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true in this area too!
However, don’t be too surprised if the highly qualified attorney you met with tells you that they cannot provide you with an estimate of the total fees and costs they will pay in your case. This can depend on so many factors, the most important being the position that the other party will take in the litigation. Your attorney cannot predict this. But, as the case progresses and your attorney sees the type of litigation your spouse or opposing party is taking, then he should be able to provide you with more guidance on the overall financial impact of your case.
Your initial meeting with the attorney should provide you with:
* A general understanding of the law that applies to your case
* An initial retainer quote along with a discussion of any acceptable payment arrangements based on your circumstances
* An understanding of your experience in marriage and family law, including the number of evidentiary hearings and trials you have conducted.
* A timeline for the first three to four months of your matter
* An opportunity for you to ask all your questions
* An opportunity for you to contact her to follow up with any questions you may have after the initial consultation.
By the end of your initial consultation with the attorney, you should feel understood, that the attorney realized what your goals were in terms of the divorce or other family law matter, and that you and your questions were and will continue to be important. important throughout the performance.
Copyright 2010 Tami L. Augen