If I had a nickel for every post I saw in a Facebook group looking for an “aggressive” family lawyer or a “pit bull” of a family law attorney, I would be a rich woman.  These types of requests make me cringe.  Instead, I wish people would seek out a good, knowledgeable attorney who will look out for their best interests and help them resolve the case in the best possible way.

More often than not, “aggressive” does not achieve those goals.  I know a handful of other attorneys who I would put into the “aggressive, pit bull” category, and they are awful to work with.  I feel terrible for my clients when there is one of these folks on the other side.  It almost always means higher bills, more discovery, more time spent in court, and more heartache in an already difficult situation.  Sure, you may be mad at your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and you may want to go after him with guns blazing.  An aggressive attorney is ready to go with those guns blazing at all costs, but is that really in your or your children’s best interest?  Or, would you be better off reaching a reasonable, fair settlement and moving on with your life without wasting tens of thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees?

In my opinion, the ideal attorney will do a great job on your behalf in court, but she will also help you try and avoid going to court at all.  She will work hard to keep your costs down, help you understand the process, help you know what is necessary and what is not in terms of discovery and court hearings, help you understand the most likely outcome if you do end up in court, and help you settle the case, if at all possible.

gavel

0

Most people who find themselves confronted with divorce have no experience with the legal process and have never hired an attorney.  So, what can you expect when you have that first meeting with a family law attorney?

While all attorneys approach things a little differently, there are several things you can expect when you meet with a divorce attorney for the first time.  Most consultations last from thirty to sixty minutes.  Some firms offer a free consultation (ours does) and some firms charge a fee for the initial consultation.

The goal of the initial consultation should be twofold:  (1) You want to get to know enough about the attorney to decide whether or not to hire him or her; and (2) You want the attorney to get enough information about your case that he or she can give you a good idea of what your case will involve and how he or she would handle it.

When I meet with a client for a divorce consultation, I generally start by having the client give me background about their situation.  What has gone wrong with the marriage?  Have they tried counseling?  Does the other spouse want a divorce?  Are there children involved?  Have the spouses already reached any agreements?   I also ask what county you live in, because that can impact how the case proceeds.  (Most of my clients are in either Dallas County or Collin County.)  After I have learned as much as I can in that short period of time, I set forth what I think the likely scenarios are for their particular case.

It can be difficult for an attorney to give an exact fee estimate.  Although some attorneys will handle divorces on a flat-fee basis, that usually only applies to purely uncontested divorces.  With a contested matter, it is impossible to know exactly how many hours the attorney will need to spend on the case.  However, the attorney should be able to give you a good idea of how fees are calculated and what ballpark fees would be for various scenarios.

0