As human beings, we love it when life is good, but unfortunately, it can’t be perfect all the time. This is especially true when marriages or relationships fall apart. Suddenly you may find yourself preparing for a divorce, setting up custody and child support, or experiencing domestic abuse. These are all examples of when you might want to seek the counsel of a family lawyer. Choosing the attorney that’s right for you is very important in these circumstances. Not only will he or she help you navigate this overwhelming situation, but you’ll also be sharing confidential information and ultimately trusting that individual for the best legal advice.
Here are four questions to ask yourself as you set out to find a family lawyer:
What is their primary practice area?
As you begin looking around for an attorney, you’ll want to check their primary practice area. There are many different areas of expertise, including personal injury, estate planning, bankruptcy, and employment lawyers - and there are many more.
The point is, if you’re going through a divorce or dealing with other family-related issues, you’re not going to want an employment lawyer. You’ll want someone who focuses in family law because he or she will be familiar with your state’s laws and be able to guide you through the situation smoothly.
How do I find a lawyer near me?
Once you’ve generated a list of family lawyers, you’ll want to consider their proximity. Selecting an attorney in your area ensures she will be familiar with the courts and laws of the area where you live. Keep in mind, you’ll probably want to meet at your lawyer’s office, so ease of being able to get there should be a consideration.
Contact your local bar association to find a lawyer near you. State bar associations keep records of lawyers who are licensed to practice in the state. Complaints or disciplinary actions taken against them are documented here, as well.
A quick Google search will also reveal a list of lawyers in your area. It will tell you what individuals and firms are in your proximity, and many will have reviews that give you more insight into their reputation.
Of course, it never hurts to ask around. Word of mouth is a great way to learn who others have worked with in similar situations.
What is the cost?
Now that you’ve compiled a list of attorneys in your area who focus on family law, it’s time to start pinpointing the cost. Attorney rates will vary depending on experience level, what’s involved in your case, and other variables. Be sure to find how much they charge and whether you will be billed hourly, via a flat rate, or on a contingency basis.
It’s a good idea to determine your budget before you meet with prospective attorneys so you can share that at your first meeting. This will give them an idea of what you can afford.
Are they compatible with you?
Unfortunately, when you find yourself looking for an attorney, it’s usually not a joyous occasion. You may be going through a divorce, bankruptcy, or any other situation associated with negative emotions and anxiety.
Personality really makes a difference. It’s important to select someone you feel is trustworthy, comfortable to be with, compatible with your personality type, and that you can be confident will guide you through your situation as easily as possible.
It may take time to find someone who satisfies all your criteria but selecting an attorney that’s right for you is worth the effort. It will likely save you money in the long run, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your lawyer has your best interest in mind and will go the extra mile to fight for your cause.
Contact us for questions you may have.
About the Author: Kyle M. Janes
Kyle grew up in Meadville and attended Meadville Area Senior High. He attended college at Allegheny College. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Kyle returned to Meadville to serve the community where he grew up.
Kyle has a diverse family law practice, including divorce, support, custody, juvenile dependency, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements, protection from abuse, and other domestic relations issues. His compassion for his clients and his knowledge of the law allow him to work on a full range of cases, from simple to complex.