Choose the Right Family Lawyer With These Tips
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Published by TOP4 Team
Choosing the right lawyer for a family matter can be difficult. A family lawyer is, for most people, someone viewed for a small, but important, part of their lives — the end of a relationship. A family lawyer isn’t like your business/commercial/property lawyer whom you see from time to time over a number of years for different transactions.
Here are some tips when choosing your family lawyer.
1. Search for the right lawyer as early as possible.
You don’t want to be placed under the stress when choosing your lawyer in a short time frame. It’s better to seek and instruct a family lawyer as soon as you know the relationship is on the rocks. If this isn’t possible, then you should engage a family lawyer as soon as possible after the separation. Attend an initial appointment for some preliminary advice, even if it’s hoped the separation will be peaceable. You’ll get some advice about your rights and obligations, and this will also ensure the services of the lawyer, therefore, stopping your ex from using that lawyer or their law firm against you.
2. Choose an expert.
Pick a lawyer who practices predominantly in family law to best advance your case and ensure you get the right advice. Experienced family lawyers from prominent firms regularly participate in professional development training. For accredited specialists in family law, professional development is necessary, and they have also passed a gruelling examination set by the state’s law society.
Also, don’t forget other useful research tools, such as Google and lawyers’ websites. Look if your proposed lawyer is an active member of the family law profession. For example, have they delivered papers at conferences or been invited to give professional comment about topical family law matters? The information you’ll get may help you assess whether a lawyer is indeed a family law expert.
3. Ask around.
Today, around 40% of marriages end in divorce. Most of us know someone who has recently or is currently going through a relationship breakdown. If you find yourself in a similar situation, then talk to these people about their experience with the lawyers they may have confronted. Not everyone wants to speak about their situation, but most people will be open about whether they had a good or bad experience with their lawyer. You can also ask for a recommendation to a family lawyer, such as your accountant, conveyancer or financial planner.
4. Meet your lawyer.
Make an appointment to see your chosen family lawyer as soon as possible. This appointment should allow you to evaluate whether you and the lawyer will work efficiently together if the agreement between you is good and you feel you‘ll both be able to communicate openly and effectively. Finally, assess if you're satisfied that the lawyer will get you the best result in an efficient manner.
As with all professional connections, if you don’t feel comfortable with using the services of this lawyer, address this early on then make other arrangements. If the lawyer works in a firm with other family lawyers, ask if there’s another lawyer free to look after your matter. If there are no other lawyers at the firm to help you, look for another lawyer using the steps above. It’s better to change lawyers as soon as possible, as this process may be more complicated once your lawyer has started substantial work for you.
5. Take note of the costs, service and result.
At the end of your concern, the cost of the lawyer’s services, the service they gave and their impact on the final result of your concern will influence your view of whether they were a good family lawyer.
It’s required that your lawyer discusses fee estimates at your first appointment. Ethical family lawyers will be upfront about their charges and give clear advice about costs. They’ll probably only be able to provide an estimation of fees, as much depends on the resolution of the matter, and how you ex conducts him/herself during the process. Even though you’ll only receive a fee estimate and not an exact quotation, this information is crucial for you to have early on. If your lawyer doesn’t raise the topic of fees with you, then ask about potential costs. If your lawyer isn’t open and clear about costs, then you might feel the communication is too poor to use their services.
By following these steps, you can select the best family lawyer as early as possible. If you make the right choice in this situation, you’ll have the best chance at a good result, in a reasonable time frame and at a fee which represents value for money.
If you need any other type of legal service, consider working with the top lawyers in Australia today.