Top 10 (More) Questions to Ask Your Family Attorney During a Consultation
If you find yourself embroiled in a family dispute, you should consider seeking legal counsel from an established family attorney.
A family attorney can assist with dealing in matters of divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, paternity, restraining orders, spousal support, premarital agreements, wills and trusts, and estate planning. No matter what the legal issue may be, it’s crucial to have the right representation when you need it the most.
Before making the choice to hire a family law attorney, it’s important to conduct an interview so you may thoroughly ensure your goals for the case will be met.
The Top Questions to Ask Your Family Attorney
Because lawyers often provide a free or low-cost consultation to discuss case details and possible avenues to pursue, you should take that opportunity to ask several questions. They will help you determine not only the merit of your case, but whether that attorney may be the right one for you.
While your questions may vary depending on the type of situation you need assistance with, here are the top 10 questions to ask your family attorney during a consultation:
1. What is your level of experience?
Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer to have a veteran attorney on your side. At the same time, you want to make sure your attorney is well-versed in the law when it concerns family affairs.
Find out too whether the attorney has dealt more in one type of case over another, what their track record is, and how often their cases wound up settling outside of court instead. Most importantly, make sure this attorney is not only compatible with defending your case, but also bringing something unique to it.
2. What type of cases do you usually handle and who is your typical client?
Relating somewhat to the first question, you will want to know if your attorney will be right for the job. For example, if your case is for an adoption, you might want to reconsider if your attorney deals primarily with estate planning.
It’s also important to find out who their typical client is, because if that attorney deals primarily with corporate clients or clients far beyond your financial means, they may not be used to handling a client like you or your best interests.
3. How much will this cost me and how will I be billed?
Finding affordable help is a major concern of clients, no matter the situation they determine they need legal help with. If you think you can handle the cost of the family lawyer’s services, ask about payment options and billing cycle.
Also ask whether they work on a retainer. If the case will wind up being handled by paralegals, inquire about a possible discount. Don’t forget to find out if there may be any hidden costs associated with filing fees or other additional expenses.
4. Are there other ways to solve my family legal issues?
Because hiring a family attorney can become expensive, especially if the case goes to court, you’ll at least want to determine what your other options may be.
Arbitration and other out-of-court arrangements may be made to spare you not only time and expenses, but undue anxiety and other emotional distress. It could spare the same for other family members involved.
5. When can I expect communication?
You’ll want to know about the progress of the case, so it’s important to find out how often you’ll hear from your family attorney or when it might be appropriate to contact your attorney yourself. You will want to have a phone number, email, fax number, or other preferred method of communication.
6. May I have copies of all documents related to my case?
Any correspondences directly related to your case should be requested for your own records. Ask how they will be sent to you as well, either by traditional mail or electronically. A good family attorney will provide clients with copies of everything sent or received regarding your case, especially if it winds up involving a settlement that you will need to consider.
7. Will this be a collaborative effort?
Some family attorneys may want to approach the case from their own perspective, but you may not feel comfortable about that without having your own input.
Find out what their goal for the case is and if it matches yours, inquire about whether they are willing to collaborate on their point of view, and especially try to find out if they encourage mediation as an outcome versus a lengthy court proceeding.
8. What is to be expected of me as a client?
You will undoubtedly have expectations of your family attorney when deciding to hire him or her, but it’s important for you to establish a working outline of things. Ask about an overall estimated cost, for instance, and what factors may potentially influence that estimate.
Ask the attorney right out what you can expect from them, as well as what they expect out of you. You wouldn’t want t make any misstep that may potentially hurt your case.
9. What is the likely outcome of my case?
It’s understandable you want to hire a family attorney you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt can help you earn what you deserve with an outcome in your favor, so it’s essential to ask them straight out. But don’t look for the answer you want, look for simple honesty. Lay out your situation and ask up front what your chances are and what the situation looks like.
10. Tell me everything I need to know about my situation.
No matter what your situation is, it’s absolutely vital for you to know as much as you can about your situation. This question will vary for each client, but if you’re entangled in a nasty divorce, you will want to know all there is to know about legalities involving divorce. The same would go for wills and trusts or child custody and alimony payments.
Stay informed – because if you’re not, you not only risk losing your case, but also wasting unnecessary time and money.
Contact Us for Professional Family Attorney Representation
Finding the right legal support during a complex set of family circumstances can prove to be difficult. Often having no support at all can complicate matters even worse.
When you’ve decided it’s time to select legal counsel to represent your side of the situation, it’s important to know you have someone trustworthy and experienced who can sustain your argument and preserve your best interests.