When you get into a legal battle for child custody, the first hire is always a lawyer to represent you. A quick search online will yield thousands of child custody lawyers, but how do you select one?
Research and Ask for Recommendations
If you know anyone who has undergone custody battles and won, ask for recommendations. Alternatively, seek help from court clerks or the state bar association. Select a few attorneys and schedule interviews.
Also, don't rely solely on recommendations from family and friends. Do your research on these child custody attorneys and the cases they have handled. Each case is different, but at least you'll know if the attorney has dealt with cases similar to yours.
Ask the Hard Questions
Don't hold back during the first interview. Remember, you're hiring a child custody attorney to help you retain or gain custody rights to your child. Ask about their educational background, work experience, membership in professional organizations, etc. These questions will help you understand whether they're qualified and experienced enough to handle your case.
Select a Lawyer, Not the Firm
Typically, hiring some of the biggest law firms should improve your chances of winning, right? No, not necessarily, you can achieve the same results with a smaller firm.
Instead of focusing on the size of a firm, hire a lawyer and preferably, one that you like. Remember, you'll have to deal with this lawyer for months; a good rapport will ensure seamless communication. Therefore, schedule meetings, whether it's via video calls or in-person meetings, to get a better feel of your potential lawyer.
Once you have settled on a lawyer, ask about case management. Will the lawyer work with other attorneys to resolve your case? Will they handle court appearances or delegate to their juniors? Can you contact them when the need arises and how fast do they respond?
Discuss Legal Fees
If your case isn't pro bono, you'll have to pay your lawyers an agreed amount. Ask the lawyers how much they charge and whether they charge a retainer. Also, ask for a breakdown of the fees, expenses, and taxes you'll have to pay.
If the fees are too high, you can ask if they have less experienced lawyers who will charge less. However, experience tends to triumph over inexperience; thus, this isn't the best strategy. Hiring an experienced child custody attorney will cost more, but it improves your odds and likelihood of getting custody.
With that, you should have enough to decide whether you want to hire the custody lawyer or not.Share