Family disputes call for legal representation from a skilled lawyer who will ensure that rules and procedures are adhered to from the get-go. Are you looking to hire the best attorney to represent your family but do not know where to start? Here are the top six questions to ask a family lawyer before hiring them.
Currently, there are numerous family disputes across the US. According to Statista, the Family Law and Divorce attorneys in the US grew by 3.9% in size in 2021. Since 2006 to-date, the family law and divorce industry have grown by 1.4%. It is no surprise that bookmakers have it that the industry will continue to grow further.
A family dispute is one of the most stressful and difficult moments in a person’s life. This is where a family lawyer comes in. They give legal advice on several matters including:
- Separation agreements: In a divorce, an agreement is signed detailing how you plan to handle things. This is called a separation agreement and it includes alimony, child support, child custody, parenting time or visitation, protective orders, and what happens to taxes, debts, family home, and personal property.
- Cohabitation agreement
- Ante-nuptial agreement: This is an agreement between two people who are planning to marry each other. Also known as a prenup.
- Divorce: Legal dissolution of a marriage
- Domestic abuse interdicts: This is a court order preventing your partner to behave in an abusive manner towards you or coming near your home. It is also known as exclusion orders as it prevents someone from having contact with someone or visiting somewhere.
- Guardianship orders
- Gender-based discrimination cases like sexual harassment.
However, before hiring a lawyer to represent your family, it is crucial to know whether they are the best option. With numerous lawyers and law firms out there, how do you make the best choice? Choosing the wrong attorney can be catastrophic with long-lasting effects on the family and those affected. The requirements of a family lawyer in New York are:
- Bachelor’s degree in law
- A license to practice law
- Practiced family law for at least three years
- Great interpersonal and communication skills
- Must be good in organization and multitasking
- Good skills in persuading, negotiating, and debating
How do you determine whether a lawyer meets these requirements? You need to ask the right questions. If you are wondering which questions we are talking about wonder no more as we give you the crucial six family law questions to ask.
How many years of experience in legal practice do you have?
The outcome of your case depends on the experience and skill set of the lawyer you are hiring. The lawyer should understand more than just the laws pertinent to your case. For a lawyer with experience, it is easy to deal with other experts and specialists involved in the case. Besides, an experienced attorney understands how to negotiate with insurance adjusters and even litigate in court. You can determine the work experience of the lawyer by checking their background details and education, case history, and court experience among other details. Ensure you scrutinize their success in similar cases to yours.
Getting the right lawyer to handle your case can be strenuous and back-breaking. Especially if you do not know the right questions to ask a family lawyer. Well, we got you, this is the best six questions to get you started.
Will anyone else be involved in working on my matter?
In instances of hiring a law firm, it is imperative to understand the lawyer who will be directly handling your issue. This will help you scrutinize their knowledge on the laws about your case, their work experience, and their success in cases related to yours. Looking at the previous cases handled by the lawyer is crucial to understand what happened in those cases. Knowing the team, you are dealing with will help you know how you will be kept informed about the case progress and if they can be reached after working hours. Furthermore, you will understand the cost of adding extra individuals.
How long does it usually take for me to hear back from you?
Communication is vital for the smooth running of the case. You expect to be kept in the loop on every minor and major development. Sometimes he may miss your calls, how fast can he call you back? How long does he take to respond to emails? When interviewing your lawyer, ask what is their preferred means of communication. It will boost the chances of a faster reply. Before you share any information through email or phone call, think carefully about what you want to accomplish. If you need to update your lawyer on a matter, send one email with all details rather than numerous messages.
How do you bill clients and is it possible to get a price indication?
How much is a family lawyer? Lawyers are not easily affordable. However, you still want to know the price range so that you can understand if there are extra costs such as travel fees or court costs. You also need to consider fees such as consultation fees. Do they charge for a consultation or is it free? Moshes Law, for example, offers free consultation on sexual harassment cases. If it is a divorce issue, be sure to find out the divorce attorney consultation fees before you proceed.
That being said, it is imperative to note that lawyers have a different mode of payments with some charging hourly rate, flat fee, or contingency. Have a perspective on the budget and payment mode before finalizing your agreement. Know if there are extra charges such as paying phone call bills, minimum billing, and what happens if the case takes longer than anticipated. You certainly don’t want to be caught flat-footed.
How do you approach my case?
Every case has a different way of handling it depending on the preferences of the lawyer. While there are lawyers who prefer aggressive tactics, there are some who tend to have a gentle approach especially in cases involving minors. Find out the game plan of your attorney to determine if you concur with them. If there are disagreements in the tactics, then the case will involve arguments too. You can speak to previous clients to get their opinion about the same. However, the lawyer should be clear about their approach. In cases of a corporate merger, for instance, you might prefer someone who is not afraid to forge ahead and be the point man.
What are the potential conclusions for my matter?
You might have thought about some possible outcomes before meeting your attorney. To understand if the goals you have pictured are realistic or not, you might fancy consulting your legal advisor. It is everyone’s wish that their case is concluded smoothly, but that rarely happens and one or two hindrances always pop up. Talking to your lawyer will help you figure out what needs to be changed. Your lawyers should be able to outline them to you and if things are going to be smooth just like you want, you should be skeptical.
These questions act as a base rock to determining the best attorney to hire. The answers may vary widely but you will be able to determine the lawyer’s experience, skill-level, and charges. Family disputes tend to drain one emotionally; you do not want a lawyer who makes the situation harder than it already is.
Yuriy Moshes is the CEO of Moshes Law and an attorney with broad expertise. He has two bachelor’s degrees. Being an experienced expert, he is considered one of the most in-demand specialists in the real estate law field. Apart from that, he provides free consultation for everyone who faces foreclosure problems.