Selecting your family law attorney can be one of the most important decisions to make in your family law case. An attorney who gives you a complete and honest consultation will attempt to give you enough information so that you will not have many questions after discussing your case for a while. This is a list of questions that you should either ask during a consultation with a Phoenix, Arizona family law attorney, or, preferably, the attorney should answer before you ask.
1. Can you explain the issues in my case to me? This is a basic requirement. If the attorney cannot adequately and clearly identify and explain the issues in your case, look for another attorney.
2. Can you explain the procedure for my case to me? This is another basic requirement.
3. Who will handle my case? Many firms will assign your case to an attorney other than the attorney with whom you consult. It does not make any sense to interview an attorney and hire that attorney's firm, only to never deal with that attorney again. Also, many firms will assign a paralegal to do most of the work on your case. There is nothing wrong with someone else working on your case, but you should know who will do most of the work.
4. How would you handle my case? The attorney does not necessarily have to have a concrete plan as to how to handle your case, but the attorney should have a general idea and a basic plan for your case. Issues in a Phoenix, Arizona family law case, such as legal decision making (formerly custody), parenting time (visitation), child support, divorce, spousal maintenance (alimony), and other issues do not drastically vary from case to case, and an experienced family law attorney will have a general knowledge as to how to handle them.
5. What is your experience? You should know how long the attorney has practiced law, how long the attorney has practiced family law, where the attorney has practiced and for how long, how much of the attorney's practice is family law, and how often the attorney has seen the issues in your case.
6. How much of your firm/practice is dedicated to family law? You should know whether the attorney dabbles in family law or practices it on a regular basis.
7. What is your experience with my judge? This is not a deal breaker, but it can be helpful, and sometimes important, to your case if your attorney has some idea how the judge thinks, whether you should keep a particular judge on your family law case, and on what you judge may focus.
8. What is your experience with opposing counsel? This, too, is not a deal breaker, but it is sometimes helpful if your attorney has some idea of how the other attorney may approach the case, how he or she thinks, and how to deal with opposing counsel.
9. Ask yourself how you feel about the attorney. You should hire an attorney with whom you are comfortable. A divorce, custody battle, or other family law case may be one of the most difficult times in your life, and it helps to have an attorney that you trust and like. You want someone who makes a good team with you and someone with whom you will not have friction.
An attorney who is genuinely trying to give you your money's worth during a consultation will try to give information on most or all of these points without the client asking. Beware the attorney who will simply try to get you to hire him or her before he or she gives you a significant amount of information. If an attorney will not give you a satisfactory answer to any of these questions, you should look somewhere else for your attorney.