Finding the best family law attorney for you
Finding an attorney for your divorce can feel overwhelming. In Arizona, there are a lot of lawyers to choose from, and each comes with specific areas of practice and levels of experience. Sifting through the stack is often daunting, but it is essential when you are choosing the best family law attorney for your situation.
Your attorney is going to learn about a lot of private matters and will be involved in matters related to your personal life for the foreseeable future. Not only will you want someone who is professional and skilled, but someone you trust and with whom you comfortable.
Narrowing down the search for a family law attorney
Before you get down to your final selection, it can be helpful to narrow the field. This is where reviews, friends and family, and areas of practice will come in handy. There are a number of helpful directories, such as bestlegalchoices.com.
After you’ve got an initial list, cut it down further by:
- Looking at reviews and finding attorneys that have handled cases similar to yours. Keep in mind that negative reviews may have been posted by an opposing party who was angry about the results an attorney got for their own client, or even by a client who may have had unrealistic expectations, despite their attorney’s best efforts and advice.
- Talking to friends and family. Ask if they experienced similar circumstances and compare notes to see if their lawyers are on your list.
- Use several sites (for example, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Findlaw.com, etc.) to read bios and client experiences and cross off attorneys that don’t feel like a good fit.
- While location shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor, it can be beneficial to choose someone close to your home or work.
- If you have an attorney for something else, like estate matters or business, ask for recommendations.
Once you have a workable list, start to fine-tune it further with attorneys you feel may be good matches.
What to look for in a qualified family law attorney
It’s easy to want the most experienced, highest-reviewed attorney to take your case, but the truth is that isn’t always the best choice for you. You can learn a lot about your prospects by looking at their social media, websites, or any news stories about them. See if someone stands out or says things that resonate with you. Consider that more experienced attorneys will generally charge a higher fee, but don’t ignore prospects that may be less experienced (and often less expensive).
Next, contact your top choices. Have a list of questions that pertain to your situation. Some examples of good questions are:
- Have you worked on cases like mine?
- How long have you practiced?
- Who will be the primary contact in my case? Who else will work on my case?
- What are possible outcomes in my case?
- What will my case cost, and what payment plans are available?
- Are you available to dedicate time to my case?
Many attorneys offer a free or reduced-fee initial consultation. This type of “meet and greet” will likely give you a better sense of who the attorney is and whether they are a good fit for your case than any online or on-paper source.
Why you need someone who understands family law
Family law is more delicate than many types of law—you’re dealing with people’s personal lives, children, assets, and it can become a highly emotional situation. The best family law attorney for you is one that is familiar with the challenges and is compassionate yet realistic. The best attorney for you will also take the time to understand your goals and whenever possible, they will work to help you achieve it.
At Best Legal Choices, there are many professionals that have the skill, experience, and compassion people look for when choosing the best family law attorney for their case. If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, contact us today!
Monica Donaldson Stewart is the managing attorney for the law firm of Donaldson Stewart PC, where she practices in all aspects of family law, including collaborative divorce and family law mediation.