Do you need help finding a child custody lawyer? You can read about choosing the best option for your needs in this guide.
In the United States, the divorce rate is around 39%. Sadly, approximately 50% of American children will witness their parents’ divorce.
Divorce can get ugly, and these numbers show that family law is essential for many people. Hiring the right child custody lawyer can help you win your child custody disputes, so choosing the best one is vital.
When unfamiliar with family court, navigating the legal system can seem daunting, and you risk losing your case and money. Thankfully, hiring a child custody attorney can help you guide you through this legal system.
So if you’d like to know how to find the best lawyer for child custody, keep reading. This guide gives you seven tips to hire the best lawyer you can afford.
1. Ask Around
If you know anyone who has been through a custody battle, they’re an excellent place to start when looking to hire a lawyer for child custody. Ask your friends, family, and even maybe close colleagues which child custody lawyers they can recommend.
If they received good service and are happy with the outcome of their case, they will be glad to pass their attorney’s details to you. Likewise, if they received poor service and were unhappy, they will tell you to avoid them. Remember, when asking around, be sure to ask what they were and were not happy with specifically, so you can get a better understanding when making your decision.
2. Search Online
If you don’t know anyone who has gone through family court, your next best option is to search online. Your first stop would be a search engine like Google or Bing, and you will need a few keywords to search for. For example, you can search for the following terms to get a few results:
- “Child custody lawyers near me”
- “Local child custody lawyer”
- “Best child custody lawyer in (City/State)”
You can also use online industry directories to find family lawyers specializing in child custody cases. Typically, you can search for a solicitor by name, firm, location, or area of specialty. These databases may also require specific professional certificates or accreditations before adding them to the listing.
3. Read Reviews
Once you’ve found a few family law firms by asking around or searching online, it’s time to read some reviews. People base their dinner reservation choices on customer reviews, and finding a child custody lawyer is no different. Most companies will have a Google listing, where clients can leave reviews based on the service they received.
When reading reviews, however, there are a few things you need to remember. Only read recent reviews if you want to know how a company is performing currently. You can also read older reviews but understand that policies and employees may have changed since those reviews were posted.
4. Decide What Representation You Require
Our next tip when hiring a child custody attorney is to decide on the representation you need. Every divorce case is unique and, as such, will require different levels of representation.
For example, if your divorce is amicable, you may only require a child custody lawyer to help you come to an agreement together. However, if your divorce turns ugly, then your needs may escalate to needing someone more aggressive who will fight hard for your case.
Child custody lawyers will have varying fees, so you also should decide what representation you can afford. You may have the available funds to hire an expensive, highly-skilled custody attorney, or you may have a limited budget. In this case, the firm may appoint you a newer associate with lower rates.
5. Compare Costs and Services
Now that you’ve gathered a list of firms to consider, it’s time to look at how much a child custody lawyer will cost and what services they offer for that cost. For example, a child custody attorney can provide services such as:
- Legal separation and divorce
- Development of custody agreements and parenting plans
- Modification of current child custody agreements
- Establishment of paternity
- Child adoption and guardianship
Typically, child custody lawyers charge a flat fee upfront to begin. After that, some may charge an additional cost per hour for their services. Child custody attorneys’ prices can vary depending on a variety of factors, which can include elements such as:
- Type of custody dispute
- Total hours spent on your case
- How complex your case is
- Number of motions filed
- Costs of specialists or expert testimonies
6. Check References or Credentials
Next, our next tip is essential before making a decision. You need to check the credentials of any child custody lawyer you’re considering. Ask and contact references to get an idea of the level of service you can expect.
Things you want to check for are whether or not they’re board certified or belong to any industry organization. Furthermore, they should be licensed to practice family law in your state. If your attorney is from out of state, check whether or not they are permitted to handle your case in your state before signing on.
7. Schedule a Consultation
Our final tip when choosing a child custody attorney is to schedule a consultation. This can be done when you have narrowed your selection to less than five candidates. If you have more, you’ll spend more time in consults than necessary.
Scheduling a consultation can tell you a few things about the firm. Your first impression of the company is how they process your appointment booking. If they’re already making errors at this stage, it’s a good indication that they may also be slack in other areas of their practice.
Physically meeting with the child custody lawyer can help you get a feel for them and how they work. They could be an ideal candidate for your case if you feel comfortable with them.
Find The Best Child Custody Lawyer You Can Afford
Child custody disputes can get complicated, and hiring the right family law attorney is crucial, so you want to do your research.
Ask for recommendations and check online reviews, then make a short list of family law firms you’re considering and compare their services and rates. Finally, schedule a consultation to discuss your case and get a feel for them. If you follow all the tips in this guide, you’ll find the best child custody attorney you can afford.
At Johnson / Turner Legal, we provide comfort to our clients to build trusting relationships. View our legal services and book a quick guidance call today.