Best Questions to Ask Your Family Lawyer

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Hopefully, you never need to hire a family lawyer. However, if you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you or someone you are close to does.

And it’s also possible that you are in a family dispute or other stressful situation that requires rapid legal representation. 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to make rational decisions in this state of mind. It can also be intimidating speaking to a lawyer for the first time about personal and sensitive issues.

Most people start with a free initial consultation – but what questions do you need to ask to establish if the lawyer is going to suit your needs?

All lawyers are definitely not created equal.

So, to save you a little time, we’ve compiled a few of the best questions to ask your family lawyer and ensure that you make the right choice.  If you need to contact an experienced family lawyer, please call our lawyers at Legal Solutions of New Mexico.

“How long have you practiced family law?”

It’s basic – but it’s important to ask about the level of experience your lawyer has. 

Family law is a complex and broad area that requires a firm understanding of, and experience in, many types of cases. 

Matters involving divorce, child custody, child support, parenting, property division, and so on can be time-consuming and expensive. 

This doesn’t mean that you need a veteran lawyer of fifty years but you do want to make sure that your lawyer can handle the complexities of your case. 

“Who is your typical client?”

This question will give you important information on past cases the lawyer has handled and their preferred type of case.

It may also provide an indication of whether you’re going to be able to connect with them on a personal level and, ultimately, afford to hire them.

“Which case did you handle in the past that was most like mine – and what happened?”

If your lawyer is experienced, he or she should have handled at least one or two similar cases to yours, no matter how complex and unique it is.

Perhaps, for instance, you have special circumstances that warrant a spousal support claim? If so, has your lawyer been successful in a similar case?

Don’t just accept a number – push for details. Get your lawyer to describe the process in detail, including all the legal steps taken, and the outcomes that were achieved.

This question should give you more of an idea of whether they usually handle cases in the area of family law that your situation requires experience in (obviously it’s no good hiring an estate planning lawyer for a child custody dispute).

“What’s your standard approach to divorces?”

If you are facing a contested divorce, ask your lawyer how they usually approach cases. 

Do they prefer a collaborative approach, where you work closely with your spouse and their attorney to hammer out a solution out of court?

Are they able to act as mediators or arbitrators to reach a settlement or do they prefer an adversarial approach through litigation?

You need to find a lawyer who takes the approach that best suits the situation that you and your partner are in.

“Do you have the time to put to my case?”

Try to gauge how busy the lawyer is, how quickly you will receive responses to queries and their preferred means of communicating.

Ask them how many cases they are working on presently and establish whether they have the capacity for the work you need doing.

If the lawyer is going to be too wrapped in other cases to return your calls and pay sufficient attention to your case, you may want to hunt around for another option.

“Who else will be working on my case?”

It’s important not to be palmed off to a junior attorney. Establish whether the lawyer you talk to will single-handedly look after your case or whether others will assist.

With complex family law cases, there may be a small team of paralegals and associates, as well as external consultants, such as personal investigators, financial consultants, medical professionals, etc.

If other professionals are involved, try to gauge how that will affect your case and the costs of representation.

“How much will it cost?”

An experienced family lawyer who has worked on plenty of similar cases should be able to provide a ballpark figure.

They know the possible complexities and timespans, the local court system, and so on, so they should be in a position to guide you on approximate costs.

However, bear in mind that in divorce cases many of the actual costs may be out of their control and depend on the actions of your ex-spouse and their lawyer.

Make sure you get some kind of breakdown of exactly how your lawyer charges. 

If it is hourly, establish clearly what is billable time and what’s not and when you will be billed, so that there are no surprises.

If you agree to a fixed fee with the lawyer, be clear on exactly what this includes and what is excluded.

Also, request information on the likely court costs in addition to the lawyer’s costs.

Find the right family lawyer

Whether you need legal representation because of a divorce, adoption, domestic dispute, or you simply need some advice on estate planning or premarital agreements, it’s important to hire a family lawyer with the time and capabilities to guide you through the legal processes.

Asking the above questions during initial meetings with lawyers (often free consultations) will put you in a better position to choose the most suitably qualified lawyer.

April 22, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized