How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Family Law Matter
In popular culture, your wedding day is often portrayed as the single most important day of your life. For many, however, this special day will ultimately lead to divorce. While divorce rates have slightly decreased in Australia, it’s still a prevalent reality of modern life. Though no one assumes that their marriage will be one of the casualties, life is hard to predict. While impossible to completely prepare yourself for the challenges of divorce, the process will go more smoothly with the right lawyer by your side. Here are some of the most important factors when choosing a family lawyer to represent you.
When looking for a lawyer, it is easy to become overwhelmed simply because there are so many options. Rather than hiring the first firm whose webpage you find or ad you see on the television, take the time to research them and find the right fit for you. Some things to consider are: lawyers who specialise in your issue; lawyers who respond quickly to inquiries; reviews of the lawyer and their firm; as well as any other information you can find.
2. Ask people
The best way to learn about a prospective lawyer is by word of mouth. Ask around, chances are that you know someone who has needed a family law lawyer before and can provide a recommendation or advice. Your neighbours, co-workers, family and friends are your greatest resource as they will give you honest and unbiased opinions, both good and bad.
Before hiring a lawyer, you should have a preliminary meeting to go over your case and explore whether they are a good fit for you. Everyone’s situation and needs are different, and it is up to you to decide what personality, communication style and legal presence is going to make you the most comfortable moving forward. It is important to remember that family law matters are often deeply personal and you should find a lawyer who you feel comfortable sharing these potentially painful details with.
4. Consider your priorities
Decide ahead of time whether you want to try and resolve your matter without formal proceedings or if you’d rather duke it out in court. Then discuss these options in your preliminary meeting with your lawyer and be receptive to their opinion and advice about each option. Some lawyers are tough in the courtroom while others excel at out of court negotiation. Make sure you choose someone who is going to meet your needs and follow your lead while still be honest about possible outcomes.
5. Don’t procrastinate
Though sometimes family law matters arise out of the blue, most people have some indication when their relationship is no longer working. Once this happens, resist the temptation to stick your head in the sand and start researching now. The sooner you do your research and find your lawyer, the more prepared you will be when the crisis actually does hit.
6. Be realistic
It is important that you approach your family law matter realistically. It can be tough to be told something you don’t want to hear but it’s important to remember that your lawyer is on your side! If they are telling you something, it’s not to hurt you but to help you. Along those lines, beware lawyers who promise specific outcomes. There’s no way for them to completely predict the future. It is also important to be realistic about price and balance your budget against the service you want to receive. Ask about fees and costs in the initial interview, and remember that more expensive doesn’t always mean better, but low fees may sometimes be indicative of low quality.