Family law attorneys focus on highly personal issues, including prenuptial agreements, marriage and civil unions, divorce and related issues, guardianship and adoption. When choosing a lawyer to represent you in matters that have such a direct impact on you and the people in your life, it is important that you take your time and ask all the right questions — you want to be sure that you are both confident in and comfortable with your choice. Here are some of the questions you should ask and things you should consider before making your decision.
Experience counts in everything, but especially when it comes to the law. You want to choose an attorney that has extensive, hands-on familiarity with all types of litigation and negotiation. It is also helpful to have an attorney who has spent a lot of time within the Pennsylvania court system, as they not only know the pertinent laws, but also have familiarity with many other attorneys and judges that are likely to be involved in your case.
Many attorneys handle a variety of practice areas. Though there may not be a need for an attorney that is exclusively dedicated to family law, you want to be sure that they spend enough time on family law cases that they are well-versed in case history and current laws and legal decisions.
Family law issues are often emotional, and can sometimes the situation can become adversarial. You want an attorney who is experienced in mediation and negotiation, particularly when it comes to issues of custody.
Every attorney has a different philosophy and approach to family law cases. You may be looking for a lawyer who is aggressive and ready to do battle, and if that’s the case then you want to find an attorney who takes an adversarial approach. Others prefer their attorney to avoid conflict and to help them find a way to a middle ground. Make sure that you know what you’re looking for and that your attorney’s approach matches your goals.
This is a question that many people find difficult to ask, but it is very important. You want to know the attorney’s hourly rate, whether there are different rates for different attorneys in the office, whether the attorney you are speaking with will be the only person working on your case or whether other attorneys or paralegals will also be participating, and what the charges will be for expenses such as mileage for travel, photocopying and the like.
Finding the right attorney is the first step to a successful legal strategy. For more information on how we can help you with your family law issue, contact us today to set up an appointment.