Family Law Attorney
Life throws its fair share of curveballs. One day you get married, then, soon after, you or your partner realize marriage isn’t working out and it’s time for a divorce. How does that affect your children? Your assets? Your living situation? Or maybe you’re someone who is enlightened by the idea of adopting a child. How does that process work? All these sudden questions can be best answered by a family law attorney.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of success in any legal family matters, it’s wise you hire a family law attorney. Attorneys go through lengthy and rigorous schooling to familiarize themselves with practically every area of a law discipline. They understand how to negotiate, how to prepare, how to build a case, and how to win a case.
How can a family law attorney help with my family situation?
You don’t have to get a divorce to benefit from the services of a family lawyer. Many individuals will go to a family law attorney to iron out the specifics of a prenuptial agreement. Prenups are often necessary for one party to protect his/her valuable assets, whether it be a fortune, an estate, a business, or something else. They distinguish marital (shared) assets from non-marital assets.
You don’t protect your assets by listing them on a piece of scratch paper and showing the list to your significant other. Rather, you hire a family law attorney to ensure the proper documentation is filed for the prenup, and to ensure each party has submitted their list and understands the agreement. Lawyers are there to facilitate, but also to mediate.
A prenup will resurface only if a couple gets a divorce. It will make asset allocation much easier if that time comes, but many other factors will come into play to fully settle a divorce.
Two words that are strongly associated with divorce are “alimony” and “custody”. Alimony refers to the financial support provided from one ex-spouse to the other. The amounts will be agreed upon in the divorce settlement and will be based on factors like annual income and length of marriage.
Custody of course establishes the arrangements for the children. It determines which parent each child will live with and how often each parent gets to see each child. Custody also determines which parent will make future decisions on how a child is raised—welfare, health, education, etc.
Ultimately, custody is classified as physical and legal, and joint and sole. A child’s living situation is considered physical, while the future decision making for the best interests of the child is considered legal. Divorce lawyers and parents will determine whether each physical and legal custody will be handled jointly between the two parents or solely by one parent.
A divorce settlement is a tedious and detailed process. As child custody, money, and possessions are at stake, you should expect it to be. Plus, believe it or not, many divorces are carried out between two parties that have genuinely grown to dislike each other. Regardless as to whether the dislike is temporary or permanent, it can certainly play a role as a settlement is in the works.
That’s one of the reasons why a family law attorney is so important. The attorney will be able to keep divorce matters professional and flowing. He/she will be able to finalize the divorce far quicker and far more effectively than if a couple tried to go about a divorce without legal representation.
How can you decide on the ideal divorce attorney?
First, you have to find at least a few family law attorneys to consult with. Most will offer a free consultation in which your case can be discussed in length and each party can get an impression from the other.
You probably know someone who went through a divorce; therefore, you might want to ask that person about the process and what they thought about their family law attorney. If they have glowing things to say about their divorce lawyer, ask for the lawyer’s name and contact information. That’s how many lawyers get their cases, through client referral.
There are all sorts of online resources you can seek out as well to find a local attorney. Just search “divorce lawyers near me” through a search engine and you’ll have access to law firms, attorney profiles, reviews and testimonials.
Once you find a few you like, proceed to schedule consultations. It’s the time you meet face-to-face with an attorney when you’ll gather the most important insight.
You can ask questions like:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Is family law your area of expertise?
- Have you handled cases like mine in the past? How many?
- How do you see my case playing out?
- What do you think my chances are of gaining custody of my children?
- How will you request payment for the case?
- What is the overall cost you expect for my case?
- How often will we communicate?
- How do you communicate?
- What accreditations do you have?
There’s no shame in writing these questions down and taking them with you. Whatever gives you the best chance of asking the right questions and remembering the answers is the way to go. You can ask the same questions to each attorney you consult with in order to fairly compare them.
Answers are important, but so is camaraderie. You want to feel a communication flow with your attorney. You want to be able to talk to your attorney as if you are talking to a friend. What you don’t want is for conversations to feel forced and restricted.
Those questions and standards we just mentioned apply with any attorney, not just family law attorneys. To give yourself the best chance of leaving a settlement or court ruling in a favorable position, hire a family law attorney who you communicate well with.
How will you pay your family law attorney?
Because divorce cases are common and structured similarly, typical payment methods are hourly and flat. Both are very straightforward. Hourly, the client pays his/her family law attorney an exact amount for every hour the the attorney works on the case. Family law attorneys keep work logs to ensure the costs add up. The amount varies based on circumstance; however, a client will generally be charged somewhere between $250 – $500 per hour.
Flat, an amount is agreed upon before the work even begins. Of course, an attorney doesn’t want to charge a flat fee and eventually regret doing so once the case blows up and becomes lengthier than it was initially expected to be. That’s why a family law attorney will generally charge a flat rate only for an uncontested divorce.
It’s important to note that rates will vary based on experience. Long time, successful lawyers are hired at a premium, while less experienced lawyers are hired at a discount. Supply and demand… there are many clients searching for the best representation; therefore, they are going to have to pay a decent amount for who they want.
Contingency fees should not apply to divorce cases. The goal is to properly allocate assets and to protect any children that are directly involved. Divorces are not so much about money like lawsuits are. For these reasons, there shouldn’t be any contingencies to worry about.
What about a family law attorney for adoption?
An adoption cannot be completed without the assistance of an attorney. Thus, if you don’t hire one at the beginning of the adoption process, you’ll end up having to hire one before the adoption is official. Either way, research must be done to find the right family law attorney for the job.
Not all family law attorneys service adoptions. So, before any following steps, ask a potential attorney if he/she can help you finalize an adoption. Ask about experience and ask about your specific situation.
Like with divorce, you may know someone who has adopted a child. If so, have an in-depth conversation with that person to learn about the process. If your friend raves about the family law attorney that she worked with, ask for the attorney’s name and contact information.
Whomever you choose as a candidate, be sure the candidate is licensed within the state. That is, licensed to handle adoption cases. A license speaks to qualification, and qualification speaks to success.
As for paying the attorney, expect either an hourly rate or flat rate. Your chosen family law attorney will assess the case based on the initial consultation and decide which payment method is most applicable.
Kafor Law Firm
If you are seeking a divorce or an adoption, give Kafor Law Firm a call. We’ll set you up with a qualified, experienced family law attorney. Also, if you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help. Major family issues or adjustments can be tricky. You need someone going to battle for you who knows the law and knows how to win, whether it be out of court or in court.
To learn more about our firm, please visit https://thekaforlawfirm.com. Our practices cover family law, personal injury, immigration law and criminal law. We’ll get you in contact with our lead attorney, Yvonne Kafor, and ensure your case is in good hands throughout.