The attorney you hire to represent you in your divorce will have a major impact on the outcome of your case - choose wisely.
What Matters Most When Choosing A Lawyer
In Pennsylvania, the court systems vary from county to county. Each court has different filing requirements, timelines and general way of handling things. For example, some counties will require you to attend mediation or parenting classes before your divorce or custody case can be heard in court, others do not. If your lawyer isn't familiar with the county where your case is being handled, you are at a disadvantage. This lack of knowledge could cost you time and money, and even hurt the end result. Make sure the lawyer you choose knows the local court system.
Experience Handling Your Specific Legal Issues
Family law cases involve extremely personal aspects of your life, including your financial health and your relationship with your children. The decisions made during your case will impact you for years to come. Make sure your attorney has experience handling the specific legal issues you are facing, whether it be dividing a family business during divorce, obtaining child support for a special needs child, or any other issue that pertains to your divorce or custody issue.
A lawyer who is just out of law school may make big promises and offer discounted rates, but there is no substitute for the skills years of family law experience can provide.
A Record Of Success
How good is your lawyer? If you want to know, ask them about their track record. How many cases have they handled? What was the result? What do past clients have to say about the services they received? Research their website and look for client reviews. Check out their curriculum vitae and look at articles they have written and awards and honors they have received. Make sure they have kept up with continuing legal education to stay on top of the latest changes in the field of family law. All of these are good indicators of your lawyer's skills.
Someone You Connect With On A Personal Level
Your attorney's legal skills are extremely important, but it is also important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. Family law involves very personal issues, such as money, property, parent-child relationships and family dynamics. If you don't feel comfortable discussing these issues with your lawyer, then he or she cannot do a good job.
It is also important your approach to dispute resolution aligns. If your attorney is a bulldog, pressuring you to litigate when you'd rather negotiate a solution, or vice versa, the relationship will not work.
Make Sure You Hire An Attorney
Do not try to represent yourself. You will be going up against someone with years of legal training and experience. The stakes are just too high. The best way to protect your financial and parental interests during family law disputes is to hire a lawyer.