Hiring a family law lawyer is a daunting process. No matter whether you’re filing for a divorce or filing for adoption, family law cases are always emotionally fraught. You want a lawyer who can fight for you in the courtroom and make you feel comfortable outside of it.
It can be hard to know where to start when you’re looking for a good family law lawyer. Luckily, there are a few basic traits that make these professionals great at what they do. Read on to learn what to look for in a good family lawyer.
Family law matters are often complex, and cases can run for months or years. There can be appeals back and forth, debates over jurisdiction, and examination of years-old information. The process can take a while, and you want a lawyer who will continue to fight for you through every step of the process.
One of the quickest ways you can assess a family lawyer’s diligence and dedication is by how your initial meeting goes. Do they take your call, or do you get directed to a secretary? Are they willing to listen to your case and try to understand it, or are they trying to skip to the part where they get paid?
On the subject of lawyers who want to get paid, another huge trait you want to see in a family lawyer is integrity. By definition, we have to place a great deal of trust in our lawyers. They, like our doctors, have expertise in a field we know nothing about and are in a position to advise us.
You don’t want a lawyer who’s going to compromise what is best for you in a suit or lie to you about what you could get. Again, pay attention at your first meeting, and trust your gut. If the lawyer seems to you to be more interested in getting an easy payday than fighting for your case, look elsewhere.
In family law matters such as divorce, people start taking sides very quickly. Someone who was once your partner is now the enemy, parents take sides, and kids can even get drawn into the drama. In the midst of this hurricane of emotion, you want a lawyer who can be objective.
In your first meeting, listen for your lawyer’s reaction to particular points in the case. Do they immediately start blaming your partner or judging you, or do they sit and listen to the facts of your case? You want someone who can keep a level head during the proceedings.
Having good communication skills is a big part of being a successful lawyer. For one thing, you have to convince a judge and jury that your side is right. And for another, you have to be able to communicate with your clients about the legal issues surrounding their case.
Pay attention to how well you and your lawyer communicate during your initial meetings. Do you understand the legal issues when they explain them to you? Do they understand what you’re telling them about your case? Try to find someone with whom you can communicate easily.
As you may have already guessed based on some of the previous traits we’ve listed, an important skill for a family law lawyer is patience. You don’t want someone who’s going to lose their cool when parties start getting frustrated over the proceedings. You also don’t want a lawyer who’s going to get frustrated when the case goes back for appeals or gets rescheduled.
Look for someone who has a solid head on their shoulders and doesn’t get irritated by the minutia of the case. Find a lawyer who helps calm you down when your emotions get the better of you and who doesn’t lose their cool. This will make them invaluable to you both in and out of the courtroom.
Document Preparation Skills
There’s a lot of legal paperwork that goes into any family law case. Whether you’re fighting for child support or alimony, trying to get a divorce, or filing for adoption, there will be a lot of documents for you to sign. You want to make sure your lawyer has put them all together correctly in the way that best benefits you.
One quick way to tell how your lawyer’s document preparation skills are is to take a look at their desk. If they are messy and unorganized, you can guess that they’ll be unorganized when it comes to putting together your documents. On the other hand, if they have no papers on their desk, but their secretary or paralegal’s desk has piles of files on it, who do you think is doing the work?
Perhaps the most important trait your family law lawyer can have (aside from their legal prowess) is their compassion. Family law matters, whether positive or negative, are emotionally fraught. You want a lawyer who will understand the nature of your case and handle it with compassion.
Click here to find a family lawyer who’s friendly when you meet with them and who listens to what you want from the case. They should be willing to explain complex legal matters to you in terms that you can understand and guide through with the case. If you meet with a lawyer who refuses to do these things, get up and walk away.
Find a Good Family Law Lawyer
Family law cases are always hard to go through. Even if it’s something as positive as adopting a child, the process can feel like it’s dragging on forever. In the middle of these trials, you want a good family law lawyer who’s fighting for you with a calm, clear head.
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