Relationships, children and finances can make for a difficult mix, especially when something goes wrong. Whether it’s for a divorce, custody dispute or an estate resolution, a good family lawyer can help ease the process, make it simple and get the best outcome for you and your family.
Since a family legal dispute can be a complex and emotionally trying matter, you need an experienced family lawyer that you trust and whose values align with yours. And sometimes that can be tricky to find.
So let’s have a look at a few things you need to consider when choosing a family lawyer.
Get Recommendations and Check Reviews
There are a lot of lawyers out there and finding the right one for you can seem overwhelming. It can help to look for referrals or recommendations from friends, family or work colleagues. Ideally, you want a recommendation from someone who has been represented by that lawyer and had a good experience or outcome.
If you can’t get a direct referral, get online and look through Google reviews and testimonials. This won’t be as good as a personal referral, but it will at least give you a sense of other people’s experience with the lawyer.
Expertise and Experience
Family law is a complex and specialised legal field. So for the best outcome you should look for a lawyer that specialises in or exclusively practices family law. While a general lawyer will probably be more affordable, a specialist in the field will have a better knowledge and more experience dealing with family matters.
Consider Compatibility but be Realistic
A family legal matter can be a sensitive and emotionally difficult issue. So you need to make sure you have a lawyer that you feel comfortable with, someone you can talk to, who listens and whose values align with yours. Make sure their legal style suits you. Some lawyers favour an aggressive approach with an eye to litigation, while others are better suited to mediation and negotiation.
Having a good relationship with your lawyer is important, but you should also remember their primary role is handling the legal aspects of the case. While you will have to talk to them about intimate family matters, their role is not to support you emotionally or psychologically. While a certain amount of professional understanding and empathy can be expected from a good family lawyer, they shouldn’t be considered a friend, therapist or psychologist. It’s important that you have a good rapport with a family lawyer, but be realistic about the parameters of the relationship.
Look for Hard Truths and Clarity
Don’t trust a family lawyer that promises only positive outcomes. A good lawyer should be up front about all potential outcomes, even worst case scenarios. They should outline risk and provide strategies and advice on how to combat potential negative outcomes.
The legal process can be complicated, so you want a lawyer that will take the time to explain things in a way that you understand. Since the lawyer will be guided by your decisions, it’s vital that you understand how the process works.
Cultural and Language
When it comes to family law, it can be important to take culture into consideration. While the law remains the same for everyone, cultural differences may affect how a situation is handled. In some cases, it may be beneficial to have a lawyer who is familiar with your specific culture and can take those considerations into account.
As with culture, language can also be a barrier if there are family members for whom English is not the first language. In cases where language or culture are important, then you may feel more comfortable with a Chinese lawyer of an Indian lawyer, depending on the language and culture in question. Working with a lawyer who understands your language and cultural background can be a lot easier than trying to bring in an interpreter or having to explain the cultural considerations.
If you have a family legal matter, then it’s important to take the time to find an experienced and expert family lawyer that you trust and with whom you can work well. This will help to ensure the matter is wrapped up quickly and with minimal stress.