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  • Cindy Wysocki

Selecting the right Family Law Attorney

Selecting the right attorney for your family law matter is crucial to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. You also want to the way your attorney runs his or her practice aligns with your ethics and goals. Here are some steps to help you choose the right family law attorney:

  1. Seek referrals and recommendations: Ask friends, family, or colleagues who have gone through a divorce for recommendations – oftentimes this will be your best way of finding a practice with similar values as you.

  2. Research and evaluate potential attorneys: Look for attorneys in your area who specialize in family law. Visit their websites to gather information about their experience, qualifications, areas of expertise and practice style.

  3. Schedule consultations: Meet several attorneys to discuss your case and evaluate each attorney's suitability. Prepare a list of questions beforehand to address your concerns, such as their experience with cases like yours, approach to negotiations or litigation, and potential strategies for your specific situation.

  4. Beware of the “free consultation”: Oftentimes “free” consultations are nothing more than elaborate sales pitches. Family law attorneys who are very busy oftentimes don’t have time for “free” consultations and require payment for their time in exchange for legal advice. Before signing up, ask what type of legal advice you can expect to get during the consultation before deciding whether to spend your precious time with any particular attorney.

  5. Assess communication and compatibility: During the consultation, pay attention to how the attorney communicates with you. It's important to choose someone who listens attentively, understands your goals, and explains legal concepts clearly. You want someone who will customize the service to your unique needs.

  6. Consider experience and track record: Look for an attorney with significant experience in family law cases. Inquire about their track record of successfully handling family law cases, especially those similar to your own. If you prefer to stay out of court, ask the attorney how often they settle out of court and how often they go to trial. Choose an attorney who has a history of achieving favorable outcomes in the manner you prefer.

  7. Evaluate the attorney's approach: Discuss the attorney's approach to divorce and custody cases. Determine whether they are inclined towards litigation or prefer alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation, or collaborative family law. You will want to take into consideration both the specific dynamics of your case, as well as your desired approach, when assessing the attorney’s style and approach to your case.

  8. Discuss fees and costs: Understand the attorney's fee structure and how they charge for their services. Ask about the rated of the attorney and anyone who helps the attorney, advanced fees, and any additional expenses you may incur. Read that engagement letter thoroughly!

  9. Inquire beyond the hourly rate: Be aware that more experienced lawyers may charge a higher hourly rate than less experienced attorneys. That doesn’t mean that the “cheaper” less experienced lawyers will be less expensive overall. More experienced lawyers should be able to do the work more quickly and effectively, oftentimes at considerable cost savings overall.

  10. Trust your instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts. Consider whether you feel comfortable, confident, and supported by the attorney. Trust and open communication are essential in building a strong attorney-client relationship.

Remember that choosing the right attorney is a personal decision based on your specific needs and circumstances. Taking the time to research, evaluate, and consult with potential attorneys will help you make an informed choice that best suits your own unique interests and goals.


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