Choosing a family lawyer is a tricky business. Do you go with whoever pops up on Google first? Do you go with the ones closest to you? Or do you go with a word of mouth recommendation?
If you’re thinking about hiring a family lawyer, here are 7 questions you must ask a family lawyer before you hire them.
Question 1 – Do You Specialise In Family Law?
Choosing a lawyer that specialises in family law should be the first thing you look for when considering your options.
There are plenty of lawyers who practise in different areas of the law (and plenty who claim to be specialists in particular areas), but choosing a real specialist means that they know the law inside out when it comes to your case.
Question 2 – What Experience Do You Have?
Knowing what experience a lawyer has can give you peace of mind that they’ve probably dealt with cases similar to yours and can bring a wealth of experience to your situation.
They don’t have to have practised law forever but they should have been involved in family law for a sufficiently long period of time to really know what they are talking about and to give you sensible advice.
Question 3 – Will You Be Representing Me?
Make sure that the family lawyer you speak to is going to be the one you will deal with and the one that will represent you in all matters, whether that’s at mediation or in court. Some law firms always give you their lead lawyer at the first interview which can be very impressive but will he or she be personally involved in your case and not simply push it down the line.
Question 4 – What Are The Costs Involved?
When it comes to legal fees, there’s no such thing as cheap. Most lawyers cost money, a lot of it and they usually charge you according to the time they spend (not necessarily the outcomes they achieve for you). There are also costs which you might not have expected. Always allow for at least a bit more than you are quoted. Few lawyers will give you a fixed quote, so the estimates you receive will be pretty open-ended.
So make sure you ask what the costs are and how they are going to be calculated and billed. Prepare yourself financially for what you will have to pay your lawyers – usually every month for the duration of their involvement.
If the legal fees associated with hiring a family lawyer seem out of your reach, think of other ways you might get your issues resolved more cost-effectively, like mediation or arbitration.
Question 5 – How Long Will This Process Take?
When you go through the Family Courts, resolving issues around separation and divorce can take months, sometimes years.
Your family lawyer should be able to look at your case and estimate a rough timeline of events before you get stuck into the process. Add on at least a few months and then consider how you are going to deal with the issues being unresolved for that long.
Question 6 – Can You Explain How This Works, Step By Step?
If your family lawyer wants you to understand everything, they’ll be able to explain the whole process step-by-step using simple language. Don’t be bamboozled by legal jargon. Keep asking questions until you really understand what you are being told. If you still can’t follow, you probably need to go and ask another lawyer who can explain things in a clearer and more comprehensible way.
Question 7 – What Do You Need From Me?
Providing information and documentation upfront may save you time and money later on. Avoid the back and forth and ask your family lawyer what they need right from the start.
Family lawyers can help you during your divorce, but mediation is a simple and much more affordable alternative. You can hire a family lawyer for advice and assistance and still choose to follow the process of mediation.
For more information about mediation in Perth through Move On Mediation, get in touch with us today for a confidential chat.