When you’re no longer involved with your child’s co-parent, you’ll need to hire a child custody and paternity attorney. Whether you’re the mother or father, establishing paternity (if unmarried) and filing for custody ensures that you have a legal, fair—and most importantly, enforceable—custody agreement.
If you’ve never worked with a lawyer before, you might not know how to go about finding a good custody attorney. Here are some tips to simplify the process:
- Ask around for referrals: If you know anyone who has used a child custody or paternity lawyer in the past, ask them who they worked with and what they thought. This is a good way to start building a list of potential attorney candidates. You can also Google attorneys—just make sure they practice family law in your location.
- Select a few candidates to interview: After you’ve compiled a list of candidates, pick the most promising ones to interview. Most attorneys are happy to offer a consultation to ensure your case is a good fit for them.
- Ask relevant questions: When you’re interviewing potential attorney, ask them everything you want to know. How long have they been practicing, and more specifically, how often do they handle these types of cases? What do they expect the outcome to be? Are there any unusual facets to your case? Who in the firm will handle your proceedings—the lawyer you’re speaking to, or someone else at the firm? How will they communicate with you, and when? What happens if you don’t get the results you want? What are their fees, and what kind of payments do they expect?
- Research their reputation: Next, research the lawyers’ reputations. You can look at their state bar record for any disciplinary history. You might want to read their online reviews, too: look for a general pattern, rather than a few one- or five-star outliers. You’ll also have a sense of their reputation if you used word-of-mouth for a referral.
- Choose an attorney who makes you feel comfortable: Finally, it’s time to choose your custody and paternity lawyer. Considering everything you’ve learned, can you afford them? Do they make you feel confident in their education, experience, poise and reputation? Do you feel like you’ll get a realistically good outcome? Based on your answers, usually one or two attorneys will stand out from the rest. Select someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident in the proceedings, even if they can’t guarantee you’ll get everything you ask for.
Choosing a paternity and child custody lawyer will help simplify the divorce and/or custody process. While you can represent yourself, it’s always best to go with someone who thoroughly understands the law and the legal system.
When you’re looking for a family law attorney, reach out to the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler today. We’re here to help you through your custody proceedings.
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