Navigating the divorce process raises a lot of questions for parents. It’s common to have concerns about your physical and legal custody, especially when both parties don’t automatically agree on a plan. That’s when it might be time to call on a child custody lawyer. Whether you’re seeking primary or joint custody, you need to show the court how you provide for and spend quality time with your children—and that what you want for custody is in their best interests. Getting the right legal team on your side is key. This blog discusses the top five questions to ask child custody lawyer offices when you need to choose a lawyer to make a case for your custody position.
The first step is obvious—to find your lawyer. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but treat it like making any other big decision; build a shortlist of divorce and custody lawyers and law firms in your area. When possible, you will probably want to get recommendations from your personal contacts. You might already have a friend who chose a child custody lawyer give you options because they’ve been through the process themselves. Of course, you can (and should) also do your own research. Reading reviews online and going to firm websites can give you a better sense of how an office operates. If you like what you find, then you can move forward with a consultation to answer your questions. Here are some key questions:
- How will you assess my case? Knowing how an attorney operates will give you some good insight on their philosophy. What types of custody information will they expect from you to support your case? Will you be prepared to collaborate through an in-depth process together? There are many ways to do this, but ultimately, you have to be comfortable that they understand your case as well as you do. Namely, they should understand why you want what you do for custody, and that it’s in the children’s best interests to best advocate your case.
- What is the estimated cost? Deciding based on cost alone can be risky. Nevertheless, it’s important to consider your finances when looking for your “best” child custody lawyer. A professional team should be able to give you an expected price range up front. While there are many cases that can be costly, one common-sense way to help you assess cost is to ask how hard the other side will fight your position. The more and harder they fight, the more it may cost. You have to have a legal objective you can fund. While there are many running jokes about how expensive a divorce can be, the lawyer has to oftentimes unwind years of marriage that are not easily broken. This is often a complex transaction and may involve numerous professionals, so it may take a while and it can be expensive. Simply ask your proposed attorney.
- Which attorney will work on my case? The law firm you’re speaking with may have multiple attorneys and staff members who will handle parts of your case. This is common. As such, there may be different approaches or personality types that may work better with you than others. Getting a general impression will help you assess your options. Use your assessment skills or ask about the difficulty of your legal position. Realize that divorce is a hard process and you, at times, will have doubts or concerns with your counsel. Decide if your choice is someone you can trust to help you and have your best interests, even when you doubt yourself or the entire divorce process.
- What is their experience? A natural follow-up to the previous question should hone in on their history and caseload. Is your attorney a seasoned veteran, or are they fresh out of law school? Both play a vital role in the divorce process. A relatively new attorney can be a cost-effective way to handle an uncontested or mostly uncontested case. On the other hand, a seasoned family law attorney may be required in some cases, such as if there are competing divorce cases filed in different states. Through the consultation or by direct questions, see if they can tell you about cases they have worked on that were similar to yours.
- Are they accessible? Good communication can help lower the stress surrounding your custody case. Being able to compare communication styles and office availability between attorneys might help you land on the one who will be a good match. Good family law attorneys are busy people. Thus, they may communicate by phone, email or text. Your style needs to match, or you’ll need to reset your expectations. You don’t want to feel like you are abandoned by your attorney in the process just because you have different styles.
You’ll be more likely to find the best child custody lawyer for your needs when you give special attention to your points of choice (i.e., Assessment of Your Case and Philosophy, Finances, The Legal Team, Experience, and Accessibility). Not every attorney will complement your lifestyle and legal needs in divorce and custody litigation. That’s why you’ll need to talk with them before you move forward with the hiring process. Ask your questions ahead of time and make sure you feel comfortable sharing your story with them. Knowing how to choose child custody lawyer teams that can accommodate your budget will also be beneficial for your case and sense of well-being during a hard process.
Deciding on the best child custody lawyer for you isn’t easy, but when you carefully consider your options, including those set forth in this blog, you’ll be in a better position to get the best possible outcome for your case. The attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. handle domestic cases of all types and help individuals with family law matters throughout the state of Indiana. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (317) 913-2875 to schedule a consultation. This blog is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys and is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.