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Before Hiring an Attorney for Your Family Law Case, Ask a Few Key Questions

Posted on March 6, 2019 in Uncategorized

Choosing an attorney to represent you may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. The more selective you are in choosing the best family law attorney for you, the more confidence you’ll have — in the representation and in the legal proceedings. Ultimately, you want favorable results for yourself and your children. Of course, you want to ask how much you’ll be charged for lawyer services, how much for paralegal services, how and when you will be billed, and how much of a retainer fee is required. But don’t make your decision based on fees alone. Here are a few questions you should also ask before you consider hiring a particular lawyer.

Key Question #1: Has the lawyer been sanctioned for an ethics violation?
Attorneys are held to high ethical standards regarding how they practice law and the customer service they provide to clients. Each state’s bar association regulates its members and, when necessary, disciplines attorneys with sanctions to punish for acts of professional misconduct. Arizona’s attorneys must be members in good standing with the State Bar of Arizona in order to practice law within the state.

A grievance filed against an attorney can lead to reprimand, probation, suspension, restitution, and revocation of the attorney’s license to practice law within the state. A relatively minor infraction may be the attorney’s failure to pay bar member dues timely, leading to an automatic suspension and an easy remedy. When an attorney’s conduct is egregious, as with a felony conviction, then automatic interim suspension followed by sanctions like disbarment may result. You need assurance that the character and competency of your attorney justifies your decision to hire.

Poor legal judgment causes problems for clients.
When hiring an attorney for your divorce, child custody, or parenting time matter, determine whether the lawyer has been disciplined, so ask:

— Was the attorney disciplined for mishandling a legal matter because of inexperience in the law?
— Did the attorney fail to adequately prepare the case?
— Did the attorney fail to get assistance from a more experienced attorney when they should have?
— Did the attorney fail to take reasonable steps to protect a client’s interests both during and after the representation?
— Did the attorney fail to put forth reasonable efforts to expedite the litigation, delaying a case unnecessarily?
— Did the attorney mishandle client funds?
— Did the attorney neglect an entrusted legal matter?
— Was the attorney advanced a legal fee, but failed to refund the unearned portion?
The exercise of poor legal judgment by an attorney can result in significant problems for a client.

Key Question #2: Is the lawyer’s practice focused on family law?
The one constant in the law is change, sometimes in an obvious way and sometimes in a hundred subtle ways. The courts continue to interpret laws differently, and our legislatures continue to pass new laws and change existing ones. Rules of civil procedure, evidence, and local court rules vary from one judge to the next. When the attorney’s legal practice is focused on family law, then that attorney is in sync with emerging trends in the field. Case management is very difficult to streamline when the attorney is not completely tuned in to the controlling laws. The experienced lawyer focused exclusively on family law, who has tried many divorce cases, has worked with complex asset divisions, has handled contested custody matters, and has been successful. That attorney will guide you through your case fluidly, efficiently, and knowledgeably. A focused practice is a focused lawyer.

Choose a family law practitioner.
You want to know whether the attorney you’re looking to retain has a genuine focus on family law, and is not merely dabbling in divorces as circumstances allow. These are the types of questions you should ask before hiring:
— Do you practice family law exclusively?
— What percentage of your law practice is devoted to family law?
— What access do you have to specialists and experts within your firm and outside your firm?
— How many years have you been practicing family law?
— Have you been litigating divorce trials for five years or more?
— Have you handled complex asset and property divisions in divorce?
— Are you well-versed in child custody matters?
— Are you recognized by the public and by your peers for your abilities and experience as a practitioner of family law?

If after your questions are answered, it is apparent that the attorney is not sufficiently experienced in family law, or lacks a genuine focus in family law practice, then keep your options open and continue interviewing other potential attorneys.

Key Question #3: Will this attorney be handling your case, beginning to end?
At some law firms, the attorney you meet in your initial consultation is not the attorney who will be representing you. Allowing your case to be assigned to whoever has a light schedule at the firm this week is not being very selective. You are not a commodity and neither are attorneys. Make sure to ask if the attorney you’re interviewing will actually be the attorney handling your case. Will some other lawyer at the firm be assigned to your case after you’ve paid your retainer fee?

The attorney you first meet may be the firm’s presenter, skilled at promoting the law firm and bringing in new clients. But the firm’s presenter may or may not be the lawyer who will be assigned to your case. If you’re interviewing one attorney, but will be working with another, then the prudent course of action is to interview the family law attorney who will actually handle your case. At the interview, ask the question: “Will you be the attorney handling my case?” If that answer is a negative, then ask “Who will be?” and interview that lawyer before you make a hiring decision.

Meet your new lawyer, in the middle of your case.

When you work with your lawyer, you necessarily develop a rapport. You’ve talked about your case face-to-face. You’ve talked on the phone. You’ve received written correspondence. You’ve given detailed descriptions and provided supporting documents. You’ve emailed a hundred times. In all of those exchanges, your lawyer has watched your mannerisms, noted your frustrations, and observed subtleties in your gestures, voice, and tone. Your lawyer gets to know you, and understands the full context of your words.

There is probably nothing more frustrating than working with a family law attorney, developing a solid relationship of trust with good communication, and then have your case reassigned to a different attorney at the law firm. When reassigned to a junior lawyer, you may reasonably question the importance of your case to the law firm. You may feel that your divorce or child custody matter is not valuable enough to merit keeping a more experienced attorney on the case. Such concerns can only undermine your trust in the lawyer and the firm.

Choose your attorney carefully and, before you hire, take a good look at the attorney’s legal team.

You’ve taken the time to interview the family law attorney in person. You think hiring that attorney is in your best interests and will carry you from the beginning of your case to a favorable resolution. One last thing, though. Before you decide to hire, take a look at the qualifications of the entire legal team at the law firm, from partners, to associates, to paralegals. A favorable outcome in your case may depend upon it.

Divorce and Family Law for Unique Families

Posted on March 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

Child custody cases used to be far more cut and dry than they are today. Modern multicultural society offers many enrichment’s, but at the same time also has some challenges within the court system, particularly in divorce and family law. Courts are being forced to find ways to adapt the current laws to meet the requirements of modern families. Traditional roles used to apply when courts would grant primary custody; females would be awarded custody most often and sibling groups were kept together. While this certainly seems to be the general trend, in spite of there being no statutory requirements for such, courts can and do award fathers custodial privileges and this happens with greater frequency than before. However, today’s custody cases will reflect two mothers, two fathers, one father and multiple mothers, and religious considerations. When met with families who don’t necessarily fit the letter of the statutes the courts must fall back on case law to try and create and ensure consistency.

Unique families sometimes provide real difficulties for attorneys because for many it is truly uncharted waters. They don’t have that many GLBT examples to work from and in the beginning this can involve hit or mess cases. Everyone loves a “hit” but no one wants to be one of the attorney’s “misses” although it is through those cases that the family law attorney to able to improve. Finding an attorney with the background in same-sex oriented families is difficult. Finding an attorney who may have experience with a same-sex family where one partner leaves the first for a straight relationship is even harder. Courts are still made up of people and sometimes those people would look at the two couples that could receive the child and lean towards the option for the child to be put in the straight relationship regardless of how fit the same-sex oriented parent might be. How many attorneys have prior experience with these types of cases? The answer is very few.

In certain areas of the country, there may be religious considerations and “unique” families built off religious foundations of polygamy. Sometimes in the immigrant populations of the United States there are families who are legally married in another country, but, due to bigamy laws in the US, are no longer legally married here. When those relationships break up it becomes difficult for the court to decide on child custody and alimony becomes out of the question with US laws. Issues like this do go before the courts, and the type of attorney becomes very important. Is he or she able to grasp the complexity, does he or she understand international property laws, does he or she understand immigration issues?

Finding the right attorney for any of these types of cases is difficult because the experience is just not there yet for unique families. Certainly you will want to look for family lawyers that specialize in GLBT families or religious divorces and custody, but even then it may be more important just to find someone who believes in you enough to really fight on your behalf in a prejudicial court.

Family Law – Know the Issues That May Come Up

Posted on February 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

The family law is said to be a uniform law that covers all aspects and issues that may have risen through blood line including marriages and divorce. It was from 1970s that family law started evolving at good speed. Before that, this law was based on European Feudalism. Before 20th century, it was a law that after marriage husband would be the owner for wife’s all properties. In 1900s, there were major changes where there were judicial divorces rather than legislative ones. But after 1970s there were major subjects that came under this law and that was going to be there for longer period. It was by end of 1987 that there were no fault divorces being recognized. All states adopted this and divorce process was made much easier. There were some of the professional and traditional advocates who used to oppose this, as they thought new modes of divorces led couples to easily resort their marriages. They thought that as there were easier options in front of them, the couple did not give each other a chance to solve their personal issues without undergoing divorce process.

Child custody is yet another case that comes under family law. It started from onset of 20th century when law started changing to allow male custody and then it further lead to have joint custody. This law involves all matters that are related to status of family and the reputation of family too. Similarly there are other kinds of family laws that involve marriages, civil unions etc. A family law attorney tends to be a great help when you are fighting against any kind of family law. Each of the state has its own kind of laws that protects the demands of normal human beings. These type cases are some kinds of cases that need emotional handling and they needs to be dealt with very sensitively. It might need some kind of mediator or a good attorney who can actively get you out of this law related issues. When you look in to family law, you must make yourself sure with reasonable answering with any kind of question that may have been asked by you. Sometimes, it is better to let emotions guide your feelings. So you must let yourself do this.

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