Family attorneys are an important legal resource. A family attorney is a lawyer specializing in family law primarily covering marriage, divorce, child custody, child support and related legal matters. This is a considerable portion of legal activity in the United States and in many countries around the world.
Just last year alone, $32.3 billion was collected in child support through state and child programs, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Administration of Children and Families. Plus, the most recent divorce rate in the U.S. was reported as 2.9 per 1,000 population, as published by the National Center for Health Statistics. Divorce and custody battles are common in today's world. Anyone going through a challenging family time should know that they have access to legal expertise through family attorneys.
If you're looking to hire a family attorney, or you already have one on board, you will want to have open and honest conversations about what you're experiencing and what solutions you want to see. Here are six questions you will want to ask your family attorney, in order to have the best possible experience.
What is Parental Responsibility and How do You Address This?
Any family attorney you hire should have a clear understanding of parental responsibility. This is a set of rights and privileges that children have with their parents or guardians as the foundation of their relationships. This includes hands-on parenting time as well as decision making.
Parental responsibility accounts for parents who prioritize planning and preparing for their child's present-day well being and future. When making legal arguments, family attorneys will present parental responsibility and how their client fulfills these duties.
How Does the Court Decide Where the children Live?
Ask your family attorney is how the court determines parental custody. There are many different custody agreements with different conditions. Some parents prefer joint custody, where the kids spend roughly half their time with each parent. Other cases involve a primary custodial parent and a non-custodial parent who visits or sees their child from time to time.
The court takes a lot into consideration when it determines where the children will live and with whom. The court is supposed to make these decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. Your family attorney can help you determine what's best for your child, and how you can demonstrate this as your legal case proceeds.
What Percentage of Your Cases Settle Outside of Court?
Next, ask your family attorney about their professional track record. You have a right to ask them how many of their cases settle out of court or proceed to trial. You may have an ideal resolution in mind.
Maybe you and your ex are staying on friendly terms, and you're confident that your case can be settled relatively smoothly. Some divorcing parents need to go to trial to get their matters sorted.
When you hire a family attorney, you want to have an idea of what you can expect from their services and their expertise. You should communicate with them about what you would like to achieve as a result of your family legal matters. Expressing your expectations and desired outcomes will assist your family attorney in better helping you.
How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Resolved?
Ask your family attorney about their previous experience with cases like yours. You want someone who is well-versed in situations similar to yours. If your family attorney seems confident and capable in their abilities to resolve your case effectively and efficiently, then this is probably a good match.
While the legal world may be over your head, these individuals have dedicated their entire lives and careers to helping families during times of transition and change. It's in your best interests to work with a family attorney who has reached solutions in comparable cases.
What Do You Recommend for Mediation?
Mediation is a process often used in legal matters that involves the presence of a neutral third party helping parties in conflict. Divorce mediation is common for those who want to try and keep their split out of the court system.
By sitting down and talking out their differences, former couples can often reach agreements regarding their children, their property and other priorities. When you chat with your family attorney about mediation, they can give you some insight into this process. Mediation is often a good starting point.
You can see if you can reach an agreement without escalating the matter any further. Your family attorney will be there to guide you through mediation and help you prepare for these sensitive, often emotional discussions. The more you know and understand about mediation, the better off you'll be.
How Much Will Your Expertise Cost?
When it comes to family law, you want to ask the tough questions about costs before getting heavily involved in this legal process. Your family attorney should be able to give you an accurate estimate of how much their services cost.
Some attorneys work on retainer, and there may be hourly rates involved, as well. You will also want to be upfront and ask about any hidden fees that may come into play, such as filing fees, photocopying or travel expenses.
If you're not careful about your legal spending, it can come back to bite you, so you want to make sure you find an affordable solution for family attorneys. By taking the steps to financially plan for your family attorney, you should have a much better experience overall.
If you're ready to have your questions answered and move forward with this process, get in touch with a reputable, trustworthy family attorney today!