How to Find the Right Family Law Attorney in California
Family law is a unique branch of civil law pertaining to legal matters among family members. Divorces, adoptions, child custody determinations, and spousal support determinations are just a few cases that would fall within the purview of family law in California. Therefore, if you are bracing for a divorce and need to resolve custody over your child or face any other type of legal issue about family law, it is vital to seek legal counsel from an attorney you can trust.
The right family law attorney can be invaluable, regardless of your case. If you take the time to find an attorney familiar with cases like yours and they have a solid track record of professional success behind their firm, you can significantly improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your case. With thousands of attorneys practicing throughout California, it can feel overwhelming to approach the task of retaining the right one for your case. The following are a few essential considerations when looking for legal counsel for any family law matter in California.
Evaluate Experience and Past Performance
Take time to research your local options for legal representation. You can easily find many attorneys in your area, and you should research what past clients have to say about them. Look at the testimonials and reviews on the attorney’s website and third-party review sites. You should be able to identify positive or negative trends in the reviews you read that can inform your decision.
Whenever you need legal representation in family law, you must verify that the attorney you have chosen has the requisite credentials and experience to handle your case. In addition, you should verify that the attorney is licensed to practice family law in California and that they have adequate experience handling cases like yours.
Review Availability and Responsiveness
Experienced attorneys know to balance their caseloads. While some cases will have long gaps between proceedings that allow attorneys to address other matters, a good attorney must be prepared to meet any unexpected challenges in a client’s case. They must also have the flexibility to address a client’s questions and concerns as they arise during a family law case and the ability to devote as much time as a case demands to fulfill their professional duties to the client.
If you schedule a consultation with a potential attorney, ask them about their current caseload, how many cases they typically handle at once, and how communicative you can expect them to be throughout your case. A good attorney should provide several options for contacting them and offer a rough estimate of the timetable your case is likely to follow.
Evaluate Legal Strategy
A good family law attorney should help their client secure the swiftest result possible for their case. However, you may have more than one option for resolving your current case, and you need an attorney to help you make an informed decision. Ask a potential attorney for their first impression of your case. They may be able to offer insights into issues you hadn’t considered or reveal other potential insights you may have overlooked on your own.
You must also ensure the attorney’s legal philosophy aligns with the unique aspects of your case. For example, if you face a hotly contested divorce in which alternative dispute resolution is unlikely, you need an attorney you can trust to represent you in family court litigation. Conversely, if you intend to pursue divorce mediation or any other alternative to courtroom proceedings for your divorce, you need to know your attorney can provide the support you need in your alternative dispute resolution sessions.
Good Questions to Ask a Potential Attorney
Many family law attorneys practicing in California offer consultations to prospective clients. A consultation is an opportunity to meet a potential lawyer in person and evaluate whether they would be a good fit to handle your case. While you should take time to develop a list of questions specific to your case, there are a few standard questions you should always ask a potential attorney at the beginning of any consultation:
- “Tell me about your professional experience.” Evaluate the attorney’s overall experience level and ask them about cases they have handled that are similar to yours.
- “How long do you expect my case to take?” It’s natural to want to know how long you can expect to face family court proceedings. A good attorney should provide an estimate once they have evaluated the foundational elements of your case.
- “What can I expect from your team while my case unfolds?” Find out how responsive you should expect the attorney to be. They should provide options for contacting them and address any other concerns you may have about communication throughout your case.
- “Do you notice anything unique or unusual about my case?” Family law is complex, and every case is unique. However, an experienced attorney should be able to quickly identify any unique opportunities or challenges that are likely to influence your impending case proceedings.
These are just a few examples to help you start your own list of questions. Take time to think about your impending case and your biggest questions. Once you know what you need to ask an attorney, you are ready to start looking for candidates and scheduling initial case evaluations.
While it may seem like taking time to find the right attorney is very demanding during a difficult time, it will be well worth your effort when you consider the wide range of valuable legal services your attorney can provide. In addition, you will have ongoing support throughout all aspects of your case. Bickford Blado & Botros is a team of experienced family law attorneys with a strong reputation for positive client outcomes in Southern California. No matter what your family law case entails, we are prepared to meet its unique challenges and guide you to a positive result. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with a California family law attorney.
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