How to Choose a Family Law Attorney

Your New Mexico family law attorney will provide you with guidance, answer your questions and help you on your way to getting the best possible outcome for your case. The attorney you hire will likely have a significant impact on how your case goes. Because the decisions made, and actions taken, in your family law case can have repercussions on your entire family now and in the future, choosing the right attorney is essential. Use the checklist below to help you hire the family law attorney who will truly cover all of the bases throughout your case.

Make a list of candidates

Ask family, friends, and other people you trust for names to help start you on your search. Don’t go with the first attorney someone refers you to, and make sure you take the time to carry out some research of your own. Check online reviews and other discussion forums about firms in your area to see what experiences other people have had with prospective attorneys on your list. Some attorneys focus on specific legal areas, such as collaborative divorce, while others are more broad, so make sure the attorney you’re considering has experience in the areas relevant to your case. Select from a list of Certified Family Law Specialists. Once you have a decent list of names, try to cut it down to two or three options you’re most interested in so you can focus your attention effectively.

Schedule consultations

Some family law attorneys offer free in-office or phone consultations, while others offer them for a fee. Check with each attorney to find out how they handle their first consultations; you may be able to find this information right on their website. Don’t be put off if the attorneys you are interested in charge a fee for a consultation as this may mean they will take your case more seriously and give you a more detailed and honest assessment than you might receive from a free consult.  Those who charge a fee are likely to spend the entire hour giving you good legal advice instead of a sales pitch.
Before you go to your consultations, have a list of questions ready along with a clear explanation of the help you need. Your questions will vary because they depend on the facts of your case.  As the attorney answers them they will give you an idea of the firm’s focus, their inner workings and the staff experience levels. You should also ask about fees, contact methods, and references.

Consider what you learn

Consider the experiences you’ve had with each family law attorney, in addition to the answers to your questions, to make your final decision. There are no hard and fast rules for selecting your attorney, but you should at least feel comfortable with and confident in him or her and the office in general. If your attorney can’t answer your questions clearly or makes you feel uncomfortable or concerned about his or her ability to handle your case, it’s time to move on to the next name on your list. If fees are a concern, be sure to speak to the attorney about it.  The firm should be transparent on what they charge and the costs for your case. She may be able to offer you some type of payment plan if you can’t afford the full rate upfront.
Having a family law matter can feel urgent, but you still need to handle the hiring of your attorney with care and attention. When you have a plan in place for finding one before you start searching, you’ll be more likely to have a successful end result. You can, of course, change attorneys in some situations, but this will only add to the stress, cost and duration of your case, so it’s best to start with the right attorney by your side.