How to Choose a Family Lawyer
Legal problems affecting can come with considerable emotional and financial complications to members, but having a family lawyer can provide great relief. A lawyer will give you professional advice on how the laws can be applied to your particular situation and work to promote your interests. But as expected, not all lawyers are created equal. So how do you choose the right one?
Areas of Expertise
Do they practice entirely in family law or is it just one of several practice areas they have? In bigger cities, you will find more lawyers with a specific practice niche, but in smaller towns, they will usually practice in a number of areas.
Level of Experience
Experience is but a single issue to consider. Lack of experience is not automatically a reason to reject a certain lawyer. There are plenty of dependable and competent young attorneys who are ready for work and who give quality service. However, a question to consider asking them, however, is what support system they have in the event that they deal with an issue they haven’t handled before.
Before consulting with a lawyer, inquire about their hourly rate. Everyone’s budget is unique. A first meeting with a family lawyer will often last from one to two hours, depending on the attorney and the nature of the case. When you book a consultation, be sure to ask if you have to pay for it, though it’s usually free; As you book a consultation, ask if you are going to be charged for it, though in most cases, you won’t be.
The Retainer Agreement
The lawyer has to give you a written Retainer Agreement that indicates the services they should provide you, their fees, the retainer deposit, and billing method. Examine the Agreement carefully prior to signing it, make sure that you understand it completely, and ask questions. Never sign any documents under pressure – you do have the right to bring the Agreement home with you and review it prior to affixing your signature.
Be sure that you are aware of the lawyer’s billing practices. Know how often you will be billed (for example, hourly); how often you need to replenish your retainer;how your account statements will be given to you; whether they have payment plans available; and what the consequences will be if fail to pay everything you are billed. Find out how frequently you will be billed (for instance, per hour); how often your retainer must be replenished;how you will receive your account statements; any payment plans available; and the consequences of failing to pay all that you are billed. Find out how often billing is done (by hour, for instance); how often you are expected to replenish your retainer; how you will be given account statements; whether payment plans are offers; and what happens in case you fail to fulfill your financial obligation to your lawyer.
Financial Documents and Other Necessary Paperwork
Finally, when you meet with your lawyer, be ready with copies of three of your latest Income Tax Returns and, if any, Notices of Assessment, along with proof of your income. If you have documents showing assets and debts, such as bank statements, a mortgage statement, etc.