3 Questions to ask a Family Lawyer Before Hiring Them
Why Finding the Right Family Lawyer Matters
The lawyer-client relationship is based on trust. Settling legal matters can be a stressful period in your life. No matter how the family law dispute is handled, be it through the courts, going to arbitration, or working with a mediator or collaborator, the dispute can take plenty of time and money. Furthermore, the separation or divorce will likely cause stress and emotional hardship.
Working with a trusted lawyer removes some of that stress and worry. If you hire someone who acts in your best interest, you won’t question whether you hired the right lawyer. Everytime you meet, you’ll be reassured that they are honest and working diligently on your behalf. This is especially important in family law, since, depending on the specifics of your situation, the lawyer you hire may be responsible for advising you on:
- Resolving parenting issues
- Negotiating spousal support and child support payments
- Determining an appropriate division of property or debt
- Navigating prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
- Providing you resources and recommending services that can help you start a new life
The right divorce lawyer will handle these responsibilities without issues. That’s why we believe it is important to take the time to find one that you’re comfortable with. Below are some questions you should ask lawyers at your initial consultation.
Do You Specialize in Family Law?
There are many different lawyers and some are better equipped to handle your situation. Ideally, you want a lawyer that solely focuses on family law. Lawyers with such a specialization have guided clients through the separation or divorce process many times before—including cases like yours. Though each family case is unique, there are broad patterns that experienced family lawyers will be familiar with.
The advantage of hiring a lawyer who specializes in family law is that they are familiar with the ins and outs of family cases. They’ll be able to provide sound advice based on their experience . Moreover, they may have developed connections in the community and provide you with resources to help you transition to your new stage in life once the case is over.
How will you communicate about the case?
Communication is crucial between you and your lawyer. Some lawyers prefer to speak with their clients over the phone, while others use email. In certain situations the lawyer might reach out through a member of their team. These are all things that you want to know before working with them. If you expect to hear directly from your lawyer and instead receive emails from their team member, your trust may be reduced.
Knowing how they typically communicate means you won’t be surprised when a team member calls or you receive an email from your lawyer. Some follow-up questions you can ask include:
- How often will you be in contact with me?
- Will you contact me directly or through a team?
- Do you typically use phone, e-mail, or in-person meetings to communicate?
- What is the typical turnaround time for a return call or email?
Knowing these details beforehand will reduce the chance of any unexpected miscommunications arising. It can also be an effective way to establish trust early in the relationship, as the lawyer will be communicating with you as they said they would.
What’s your style?
While lawyers will work in the best interests of their clients, each lawyer has their own set of strengths. Some are very talented litigators, while others focus on collaborative law and reaching agreements outside of court. There are many ways to resolve a family law case, most of which do not require going to court. You might already know whether you want to have your case decided by a judge, and it can be a good idea to work with a lawyer that shares your approach as well.
Hiring a lawyer can be stressful and more than a little intimidating. That’s why we strive to build strong relationships with our clients. At Cohen Buchan Edwards LLP, clients trust us because we make sure they’re comfortable throughout the legal process.
When you approach our team for legal assistance, we won’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with; our role is to provide sound legal advice so that you can make informed decisions every step of the way. You’re the one in control, informing us what steps you’re comfortable taking and how you want to move forward. We follow those instructions. If you’d like to see whether we can help you with a legal matter, please book a free consultation.