The Complete Guide to Hiring a Family Attorney
Updated on April 15, 2021 | by Alex Smith
There are currently over 74,682 family law and divorce lawyers in the US.
Are you thinking of hiring a family attorney? Before contacting a lawyer to schedule an appointment, however, it helps to know what you’re looking for. With this guide, you can learn everything you need to know about what a family lawyer does and how they can help you.
We also have tips that can help you find the best chicago divorce lawyer in your area.
Ready to start your search? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about hiring a family attorney.
What Can a Family Lawyer Help With?
Before you start searching for a family lawyer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. You might find different lawyers in the area that specializes in different areas. You might decide you need someone with well-rounded experience instead of a specialty.
Here are a few areas a family lawyer can help you with.
Resolving Family Issues
Many people decide on hiring a family attorney when they want to file for a divorce. In addition to the divorce itself, a family lawyer can also help you with:
- Division of property
- Child custody
- Child support and visitation
If you decide on filing a divorce, make sure you find a family divorce lawyer who has plenty of experience in this area. Their prior experience can make a big difference. With their help, you could settle the matter without going to court.
About 782,038 divorces are filed in the US each year.
Divorce is only one type of family law, though. You might need help with a guardianship case.
If a parent or parents can’t provide a child with adequate care, a guardian might step in. The guardian will make any future decisions for the sake of the child. In these instances, you’ll need a lawyer to represent you.
Is your partner mistreating you? Don’t hesitate to find a family lawyer with experience in domestic abuse.
Child adoption falls under family law, too. You’ll need to make sure everything is filed properly.
A family lawyer can also help with prenuptial agreements, annulments, and alimony.
With a lawyer’s help, you can ensure these processes all run smoothly.
Writing Estate Plans and Wills
You might consider hiring a family attorney if you need to draft an estate plan and will. Your lawyer will keep all records and make sure the will is followed after death. They can also offer legal advice and act as a mediator if necessary.
Filing Important Documents
Have you drafted your Power of Attorney (POA)? This document gives another person legal permission to act on your behalf. For example, someone who is in a coma might need someone else to make future decisions regarding their health.
Forming Domestic Partnerships
Civil unions are legal relationships for people who want to share a life together without marriage. However, these domestic partnerships are only legal in some countries and states. You might need to consult a lawyer to determine your options.
Do You Need to Hire a Family Lawyer?
Yes; you shouldn’t hesitate to hire a family lawyer if you think you need help. At the very least, schedule a consultation appointment. They can help you determine your next steps.
Without a lawyer, you might improperly file the necessary paperwork, delaying any legal actions. Many legal issues, including divorce, are difficult enough to handle alone. You can work with a lawyer who fights for your rights to ensure everything runs as well as possible.
Hiring a Family Attorney
Now that you know more about family law, let’s talk about hiring a family lawyer for your case. Here are a few tips that can help you during the search.
1. Start Your Search
First, determine what type of help you need from your lawyer. Consider where you are as well. You’ll need to find the best family lawyer in your area.
Some laws can differ based on where you live.
Head online and start searching. There are different places you can look for a “family lawyer near me,” including:
- The local bar association website
- The American Bar Association website
- A public-interest website (like LawHelp.org)
- Online directories (like Lawyers.com, FindLaw.com, etc.)
- The local yellow pages
- Your favorite search engine
Have you worked with a lawyer for another case, such as a personal injury case? See if they can refer you to someone. Otherwise, ask friends and families if they’ve hired a family lawyer in the past.
2. Explore Their Work Experience
While you’re online, learn as much as you can about the lawyer’s work experience. How long have they practiced family law? Are they mentioned in any news stories or press releases?
Make sure they have years of experience in the right specialty. Otherwise, they might not understand the laws and procedures necessary for your case.
3. Read Reviews
You can learn more about a lawyer by reading reviews from their previous clients. You can find these reviews on directories, the Martindale-Hubbell website, and Google.
4. Call Your Top Three
As you learn about each lawyer, try to narrow down your options.
Who lacks the experience you need? Who has too many negative reviews from clients?
Once you narrow it down, give each one a call. You can ask questions such as:
- Do you charge for in-person consultations?
- Are your fees negotiable?
- How much do your services cost?
- Do you offer a payment plan?
- Have you handled cases similar to mine in the past?
- What possible outcomes can you predict for my case?
- Can you provide any references?
Ask them what you should bring to your in-person consultation. These documents might include:
- Tax returns and pay stubs
- Stock certificates, bonds, retirement documents, pension plans
- Documents demonstrating family or shared debts (auto, student loans, mortgage, credit card statements)
- Previous divorce decrees
- Adoption records
- Visitation schedules
- Restraining orders
Your lawyer can give you a better idea of the documents you’ll need.
5. Schedule a Consultation
Make a list of questions you want to ask the lawyer during your in-person appointment. Make sure to outline your goals. Can they help you win your case?
You might need to visit one to three different lawyers. Afterward, compare your options and make your choice!
Getting Your Life in Order: Your Guide to Finding the Best Family Attorney
Hiring a family attorney doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, use the tips in this guide to find someone you can trust. With these tips, you can streamline your case as much as possible.
Start your search today!
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