Choosing a Family Law Attorney Ellijay, Ga
Divorce – one of the scariest and most emotionally draining event someone can go through. I say this not just as a family law attorney, but as someone who has gone through the same emotionally charged and devastating event. All divorces have an element of unknown – what will happen to my belongings, my finances, my home and most of all, my children?
Whether divorce is something that has been on the horizon for a while, or you are caught blindsided by your partner, everyone questions where to begin and what to do first. First thing, decide whether you or your partner are really ready to call it quits. Filing a divorce action can be very costly and doing so prematurely will only lead to wasted time and unnecessary expenses. I always ask any new potential client whether they have attended couples counseling and whether there is any chance of reconciliation.
Once you have decided divorce is the route you want or need to proceed with, you need to decide who you are going to entrust this life altering decision with. Truly, this is a MAJOR life altering event, and who you chose to walk along side of you and lead you through it is one of the most important decisions you will make. So how do you decide? Here is a list of questions I recommend asking or considering with any lawyer you are considering retaining:
1. How much of the lawyer’s practice is family law related? Do they handle enough divorces to keep up with new law changes, or do they simply dabble in divorces here and there.
2. Cost of representation – what is the lawyers hourly rate?
3. Has the lawyer handled complex contested divorce cases before?
4. Has the lawyer practiced in the area and the court your case will be heard in?
5. Does the lawyer know the Judges in your circuit? (This can be important when strategizing what a particular Judge will focus on during a temporary or final hearing)
6. What is the estimated timeline for imitating the action – some attorneys may have a back log and may be unable to draft your initial pleadings in what you may consider a timely fashion. Ask how long you should expect before your partner is served.
7. What steps should you be taking in the meantime – the attorney may instruct you to begin collecting witness affidavits, or opening a separate bank account, etc. Make sure to use the consultation not just to learn about your prospective attorney, but also to gather information about what to expect and things you can begin working on. This will also give you an idea as to the strategy approach the attorney plans to take.
8. What is the initial retainer due up front?
9. Is the retainer refundable if the case settles or the parties reconcile?
10. If your partner has already hired an attorney, are they familiar with this particular attorney, have they worked with them previously and if so, how were their interactions with opposing counsel. This is very important. You want an attorney that is going to provide balance for you, and that is going to understand the approach needed with opposing counsel. If you hire an attorney that has a poor working relationship with opposing counsel, this can not only prolong the process, but it can cause unnecessary legal fees with useless banter back and forth between attorneys. This does not mean a fight will not be needed – however, having two attorneys that constantly bicker about simple procedural issues can incur thousands of wasted dollars to the parties, which is unnecessary.
Divorce can be one of the loneliest and low points in someone’s life. Chose an attorney that you feel 100% comfortable with – a consultation should be informative, but also integrated with an interview type format. You need to get to know your potential attorney to have peace when making your final decision. Once you make your decision, be confident that you made the best choice and trust that their advice is given with your best interest at heart.
Call us today to speak with one of Teague Law’s experienced Ellijay Family Law Attorneys who will protect your interest and fight for you.