When looking for a family law attorney, there are several factors you may want to consider to ensure you find the right professional who can effectively handle your case and represent your interests. Here are some important qualities and considerations:
- Experience and Expertise: Consider looking for an attorney who specializes in family law and has extensive experience in handling cases similar to your own. Family law covers a wide-range of issues like divorce, legal separation, annulments, parenting time (physical child custody), legal decision-making (legal custody), child support, spousal support, establishing paternity, modifications of court orders, property division, and other related areas. An experienced attorney will be familiar with the legal complexities and nuances specific to family law matters and, ideally, to the specific legal issues in your case.
- Reputation and Track Record: Consider researching the attorney’s reputation and track record by reading client reviews, testimonials, and online ratings. You may be able to also check if the attorney has any disciplinary actions or complaints filed against them and, if so, it is worth looking into. Sometimes, you may be able to even ask for personal referrals from friends and family. A good reputation and a history of successful outcomes may demonstrate competence and professionalism.
- Communication and Compatibility: Consider choosing an attorney who communicates effectively and makes an effort to understand your concerns. Family law cases often involve sensitive and personal matters, so it is crucial to try work with an attorney who listens to you, responds promptly, and keeps you updated on the progress of your case. Intangible aspects, like comfort and rapport may not be at the top of your list of considerations, but it can be very important working with a family law attorney, as they will may be working closely on your case.
- Availability and Responsiveness: Consider a prospective attorney’s workload, availability, and staffing structure to ensure they can dedicate enough time and attention to your case and are accessible to you. Family law issues can be distressing and time-sensitive, so it is important to find an attorney who is available to address your needs and respond to your questions within a reasonable timeframe. Some attorneys will outline expectations for communication up front. Some attorneys may prefer to have communication flow through their staff, while others may prefer to communicate with clients directly.
- Resources and Support: Consider the resources and support available to the attorney and their law firm. Some family law cases can require expert witnesses, financial analysis, or additional staff support. An attorney with access to a strong network of professionals can provide valuable assistance in complex cases.
- Fee Structure and Affordability: Consider the attorney’s fee structure and whether it aligns with your budget. Family law cases can involve substantial legal fees, so it is important to understand the billing methods (hourly rates or flat fees) and any additional costs associated with your case. Also, if the structure is hourly, consider any retainer payments the attorney might require, including the amounts and how often the retainer might need to be replenished. You may also wish to explore payment methods, including whether payment by check or credit card are options. Clear communication regarding fees and payments can help avoid any financial surprises.
- Conflict Resolution Approach & Litigation Style: Considering asking about the attorney’s approach to conflict resolution and litigation. Family law cases can often be emotionally charged, and it is important to find an attorney who is skilled in negotiation, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution methods. However, if litigation becomes necessary, different attorneys may have different styles and philosophies when it comes to how the case should be handled. For example, some attorneys take an informal and easy-going approach to requesting records, which may foster a cooperative environment, while others may be strict and aggressive, which may be necessary depending on the personalities involved in the case. Some attorneys are adept at shifting approaches to best meet the needs of the situation.
As a final thought, consider consulting with multiple attorneys before making a decision on who to hire. This will allow you to compare their qualifications, fees, and compatibility, enabling you to make an informed choice that best serves your needs. When shopping for an attorney, give gimmicks and sale’s pitches the weight they deserve in choosing who will work with in the coming months to resolve your family law case.
If you are seeking to the assistance for a family law attorney in the State of Arizona, Huffman-Shayeb Law, PLLC may be able help you with your case. Contact Huffman-Shayeb Law, PLLC to set up a consultation and to discussion your options.
Disclaimer: This publication is for educational and informational purposes only, and represents Huffman-Shayeb Law, PLLC’s understanding of the present state of Arizona law. This publication does not constitute legal advice or counsel, and should not be construed as a comment on the merits of any particular case. It should be noted that the laws and requirements of the State of Arizona may change at any time and that this information may not be complete or correct.