When a marriage is dissolving and a couple decides that it is time to divorce, the process normally goes one of two ways. Either thing are relatively amicable and easy, with both spouses working to keep things as fair and peaceful as possible, or they become contentious and difficult, with every detail providing an invitation to an argument. Whether you are anticipating that your divorce will be hostile or one in which you and your soon-to-be-ex are able to keep the lines of communication open and peaceful, no issue will be more emotional than those involving your children. It is essential that you choose your attorney for child custody carefully, as they will be acting as your advocate and your voice throughout the custody process. Here are some tips on what you should look for in a child custody lawyer.
Experience and a strong background in family law are the absolute minimum requirement when selecting a child custody attorney. You want to work with somebody who knows the laws inside and out, is familiar with the process, and is well respected within the family law community. Seek referrals from friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues. Search the Internet for information on their background and involvement in family law organizations, and speak to people within the court system to see what kind of reputation they have. You may have to push people to talk to you, but you want to find somebody who is well-respected by insiders because they see family law attorneys every day and their opinions are generally well-founded.
Willingness to Listen
There are family law attorneys who take a formulaic approach to child custody, and who let a preconceived notion about what to expect to drive their actions. It is important that you select an attorney who takes the time to listen to what you have to say and who has a clear understanding of your concerns and your goals. If you have a sense that an attorney either doesn’t understand what is at stake or is being dismissive, then you need to keep looking. Though it is certainly important for you to be realistic in your expectations, it is equally important that you are confident that your attorney is working towards the same goals that you are.
This may seem like an inconsequential matter at first, but it is important that you choose a child custody attorney with whom you are comfortable. You must be able to speak freely and to trust the lawyer you choose, as you are likely to spend a good deal of time with them in circumstances that can quickly become highly emotional. When you are sitting in a custody hearing, you will be relying on the attorney you choose to speak for you and your child’s best interests, so take the time to find somebody who is not only qualified but who is also a good fit.