When looking for the best child custody attorney, you want to take your time to do some thorough research into the lawyer and his firm. The outcome of your child custody hearing and any subsequent court appointments will garner huge life-changing results which is why you need to do your due diligence in finding an attorney who is a true master in child custody law. But is even that enough to guarantee you are working with the best? Here are five crucial requirements any family law attorney should have before you agree to hire him.
1. Has the Lawyer Represented Child Custody Cases like Yours?
Not all child custody cases are the same. If one parents has criminal charges, or a joint-owned business is involved in a divorce, or the child has made a clear plea to stay with one parent, many factors determine the best angle to approach the case. Look for a child custody attorney who has experience in the courtroom fighting for cases common to your own. Are you or is your soon-to-be ex not a US citizen? Have you dealt with past substance abuse and you fear old dirt will be dug up and used against you in family court? Perhaps your background is clean but your spouse has ghosts in the closet that make them an unfit parent. Your situation is unique and should therefore be handled by a top child custody lawyer who has experience in navigating and leveraging these finer points to the larger picture.
2. What Kind of Resources does the Lawyer Have?
Child custody law can be very complex, especially if there are multiple circumstances involved. In some cases a child custody attorney will need to get depositions from medical professionals, forensics experts, research and present bank records, collect statements from law enforcement officials, and talk to the child’s teachers. Ask the child custody lawyer what type of team he has, who actually collects this information, and to what extent the lawyer plays into piecing everything together.
3. Look for a Sophisticated Shark and not a Laid-Back Guppy
Your child custody attorney should be aggressive and hungry to win your case, but all in the semblance of tact and professionalism. A cool head and a strong demeanor will get you far. Some attorneys are overly aggressive and fail to be strategic thinkers, while others are too laid back and lack the passion to stand up and fight wholeheartedly for your case. You want a ninja; a child custody lawyer who is a true ninja in his field but who knows how to “play the game” and communicate strategically.
4. Make Sure the Billing Method and Cost Works for You
If you find the best child custody lawyer in Los Angeles who hits all the “must haves”, but his billing method or cost doesn’t work for you, try negotiating other terms or move on. The last thing you want to do is hire the best child custody attorney and start making great progress in your case, but then face a wall because you can’t continue to pay his fees. Most lawyers charge by the hour. Whether you are taking out a loan, using your own funds, or getting financial assistance to hire a lawyer, just make sure you can afford him. Otherwise you will have to start all over again and all will have been lost.
5. Notice How the Ease of Communication Between You and Your Lawyer
How quickly does your child custody lawyer respond to your emails, text messages, or phone calls? When you talk does he give you clear updates and explain everything in a clear manner demonstrating that he has the ability to speak at a level right for you? Even before you agree to hire an attorney there will be some initial communication with a first meeting. Notice how easy and fluent the communication chain is. Does your lawyer understand you? Do you understand him? Is he easy to reach in the event of an emergency? Look for a lawyer who doesn’t hide from his clients and who focuses on offering thorough, clean lines of communication.