As you move through civil litigation of any kind, it is important to have a lawyer on your side whom you trust. Finding that family lawyer, however, is often easier said than done. A quick search for a family law firm near you may yield many results and leave you feeling more overwhelmed than confident in a decision.
Here at John R. Foley, P.C., we can help. We are sure we are the right family lawyers for your case, and we’re confident you will feel the same after meeting with us! Our Dearborn family lawyers are qualified, experienced, and passionate attorneys who can provide a variety of legal services. Our blog is designed to be a resource for you as you learn more about divorce, child custody, child support, or any other aspect of family law. In today’s blog, we discuss five steps to choosing a family lawyer so you can be sure you make a good decision. Keep reading to learn more and then contact John R. Foley, P.C. today to meet with a family lawyer in Dearborn.
Research Local Family Lawyers
First things first: you need to know what custody lawyers, divorce attorneys, and other family lawyers are even in your area! We recommend looking at online testimonials, asking friends and family for recommendations, and perusing family lawyers’ websites. This will give you a good idea of their representative matters, personalities, costs, and specialties.
All this being said, be careful not to exclusively rely on the internet for your search! If you see a negative testimonial, that does not necessarily mean the family lawyer isn’t right for you; if you see multiple negative reviews detailing the same problem, then consider choosing someone else. Take everything with a grain of salt, make lots of notes, and choose at least three family lawyers to look into further.
Meet With Multiple Family Lawyers
Do you have your list of local attorneys to meet with? Schedule a consultation with each (this is often a free legal service for your first visit) and meet with them all on the same day if possible. Meeting in person is a crucial part of making your decision. Everyone has seen how online profiles can differ from the in-person experience, and it is no different when choosing a family lawyer.
You should meet in person, ask questions, take notes, see how your personalities get along, and make sure their legal style matches your needs. When you meet with family lawyers in Dearborn, we recommend you take copious notes and evaluate the following aspects:
When we say experience, we mean it in two different ways: years of experience as a family lawyer and experience with cases like yours. If, for example, you choose a family lawyer who has heaps of experience with divorce but not much with child custody, then they most likely would not be a good fit for your upcoming custody case.
Find out how long they have been at the law firm and what their specialty is. Ask about how they have previously handled cases that are similar to yours. Here at John R. Foley, P.C., our family lawyers have experience with custody, child support, alimony, divorce, and more (including bankruptcy law, real estate, corporate and business advising, among other legal services).
It is also a good idea to ask about qualifications when meeting with potential divorce attorneys or family lawyers. This will let you know the caliber of lawyers you are speaking with and help you make a decision based on logic and facts. Ask about any awards they have previously received or what makes the law firm stand out from the rest.
When meeting with family lawyers, it is also essential to find out what their availability is like. Let’s say you find a divorce attorney or custody lawyer whom you love. If they are too busy to take on your case, then you could just end up being another piece of paper in their mound of paperwork and not get the individualized attention and legal care you deserve.
While asking about availability and caseloads, it may also be a good idea to ask about their communication style. Will you hear from them weekly? Should you call them to get information? Is email, phone calls, or texts the best way to reach them? These are all questions that can guide you in the process of choosing a family lawyer.
Beware of Red Flags
One of the best parts of meeting with potential family lawyers before committing to working with one is that doing so provides you with a microcosm of what your experience will look like. So, while meeting with a family law firm, look out for the following red flags:
- Lack of communication – From the very beginning, if a prospective family lawyer does not answer their phone or email in a timely manner, then this could be something to look out for. Communication is an essential part of your lawsuit and you need an attorney to represent you well.
- Lack of references – If a potential divorce lawyer or custody attorney does not share references with you, then you may be left wondering why not. And that is a fair question in response to a lack of references! The best family lawyers should all be willing to provide you with references upon request.
- Lack of professionalism – While references and experiences can and should be shared, make sure your prospective family lawyer does not cross the line and violate client privacy. If they divulge confidential information about other clients, then who is to say they won’t do the same with you?
- Lack of focus – During your initial consultation, watch the lawyer’s behavior. If they are continually checking their email or phone, answering phone calls, or leaving notes and paperwork all over their desk, then their focus is lacking and they most likely won’t give your case the attention it deserves.
- Inappropriate behavior – If lawyers are condescending, bully you into making decisions, lack compassion, display too much emotional investment, or are overly antagonistic to the opposing counsel, then you may want to steer clear and choose a different family lawyer in Dearborn.
When meeting with family lawyers for your case, be sure to ask about their attorney fees and what the costs will look like. While we hope you don’t have to find a different family lawyer because of prohibitive costs, it is important to begin with full transparency. Whether you are filing for divorce, working on getting joint or sole custody, or are pursuing any other civil litigation, expenses can get costly; additionally, your finances may look very different after your court case, making it important to budget and plan for your future. The best way to figure out the potential costs of your case is to meet with potential family lawyers in person and ask.
If finances are a serious problem, then John R. Foley, P.C. may be able to help. Mr. Foley provides pro bono legal services in Dearborn on referral from religious leaders in the area.
Make a Decision and Move Forward
Finally, the last thing to do is make a decision! You can make pros-and-cons lists and meet with family lawyers in Dearborn for months; however, now is the time for your divorce, custody, or child support case. Look at your notes and think about your experiences with various attorneys to see if one stands out as the best one for you. (This is why we recommend meeting with all the family lawyers you are interested in in just one day — it keeps your feelings and notes fresh in your mind.)
If it comes down to deciding between two family law firms, then don’t be afraid to go with your gut. You should trust your instincts and feel confident in your decision when choosing a family lawyer. In fact, if you feel extremely drawn to one specific family lawyer who didn’t rank high in comparison to other family lawyers in the area, then that may not even be a bad idea! Your instincts have gotten you this far in the divorce or custody process, so don’t give up on them now.
Meet With a Family Lawyer in Dearborn Today
Whether you are looking for legal services for a divorce, custody case, child support case, or another aspect of family law, then you can count on John R. Foley, P.C. Our family lawyers are passionate, experienced, and qualified. From the very beginning of working with us, you will appreciate our excellent communication, skilled advocacy, and unparalleled commitment to our clients.
Our family law firm began in 1994, and we have helped countless clients in that time. We would be honored to help you next with your family law case, be it divorce, child custody, child support, or another legal service. Contact John R. Foley, P.C. today to schedule an appointment with family lawyers in Dearborn.