What to Look for in a Family Law Attorney
If you are looking for a family law attorney in California, it is a safe bet that something big is going on in your life. Family law covers divorce, adoption, prenuptial agreements, restraining orders, child support, and more. Finding the right lawyer can feel overwhelming in the midst of everything else going on, but there are some basic facts and features to look for that can help you narrow your search. And, once you have a good attorney, your situation should hopefully become less stressful and on the path toward resolution.
First, determine that your circumstances fall under family law. Family law is entirely separate from criminal law, and deals mainly with issues pertaining to marriage, divorce, and children. If this describes your situation, your next step is to ensure that the attorneys you are considering are licensed to practice in California. The best lawyer you can find is no help if he or she can’t practice law in the right state.
Ideally, you want a family law attorney who practices exclusively family law. Law such is a broad area of practice that a practice focused on one area of law can ensure that attorneys have in depth knowledge of and experience in that particular area of practice. By opting for a lawyer who focuses on family law, you know you are getting expertise that pertains to your situation. Ask potential attorneys if they have handled cases similar to yours in order to further cement their familiarity with what you are seeking.
The team surrounding a family law attorney should be professional and capable, and you should be able to get in touch with them when you need. Many times, lawyers will pass off some of the grunt work to junior partners or office workers, so it is imperative that you feel understood and respected by every member of the office you come in contact with. Additionally, the office should be technologically up to date and seem prepared with the resources to handle your case.
Word of mouth goes a long way when it comes to finding someone, and it may be worth asking around to see if friends or acquaintances have used a lawyer for a similar situation. You can also search online for reviews of a specific lawyer you are considering hiring, to get more opinions from a wider array of people. Keep in mind that such reviews may be biased, so take them with a grain of salt.
The Bottom Line
Perhaps most importantly, you need to feel comfortable with your family law attorney, especially since you will likely be sharing sensitive information, a difficult situation, or both, with them. Choose an attorney who demonstrates a sincere interest in your case and seems to care about its resolution. Do not disregard your gut feeling after a consultation; take stock of whether you initially find yourself with a positive or negative opinion.
A family law attorney can help you achieve your goals in regards to your marriage, divorce, or children, so use the above advice to help you choose the right one for your circumstances.