A family law attorney works on cases involving marriage, divorce, child support, guardianship and adoption. Family law is a part of civil law that is completely separate from the criminal justice system. When you need things like a pre-nuptial agreement or you want to file for divorce or you are thinking of adopting child you need a family law attorney. There may be a lot of attorneys, but they are not all good at what they do, so knowing how to find a reputable family law attorney is important.
First you need to determine that you need a family law attorney. There are many things a family law attorney can do for you. You may need a pre or post nuptial agreement drafted. You may be considering divorce, annulment or legal separation. You may need to modify your divorce agreement. You may need guidance on child support or custody. You may be considering adoption. Or, you may need a restraining order.
Determine the venue. Most legal cases are handled in the county in which the plaintiff lives. For instance, if you are filing for divorce you will file in the county you and your spouse reside. You want to make sure the lawyer you pick works in your area. Attorneys who are familiar with the judges, court staff and local customs of a county can serve you better.
Do your homework. A simple online search can serve as a background check on an attorney. You can find out if they have a bad reputation. Some things to look for may include:
- Websites. Generally, an attorney will have basic website that lists their practice areas and contact information.
- Social Media Profiles. Check on sites like Twitter and Facebook to see if they have social media presence. You can find out a lot of information about a firm and its individual attorneys by looking at the social media profiles.
- News stories and press releases. Has an attorney been in the news? Find out about cases they have been involved in by looking for news stories they are in.
Get a referral. One of the best ways to find an attorney is to ask around to people you know. If you have a family member, friend or co-worker that had a positive experience with a specific attorney chances are good you will too.
Call your top choices. Find out if they offer a free consultation. Find out how much they will charge to handle your case. Ask if they have payment plans. Find out how long they have practiced law. Find out what cases they have handled that are similar to yours. Ask for references.