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5 tips to know before hiring a Family Lawyer

The decision to file a family law case is not one that you should rush into. Whether you are deciding to file a divorce or child custody case, there is a fair amount of information that you should be aware of before engaging in a case like this. When so much of your life is related to these subjects you want to make sure that you are making a decision based on the most amount of information possible. For many people, this could mean going online and reading every resource available to them. We certainly hope that this blog post and the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are a source of trustworthy and approachable information. 

We know that it can be overwhelming to try and learn anything about the world of Texas family law. Not only can the information be complex and unfamiliar but there are so many sources of information out there that you may not know exactly where to turn when it comes to looking. Do you start with statutes? What about trying to do basic case law research on your own? Or are blog posts and articles written by attorneys like this one the best place for you to start your journey? If you talk to enough people, they will give you varying bits of information and advice when it comes to this subject. For us, we want you to have a diverse amount of information at your disposal before making decisions about your case.

However, while you can start your search for information in a family law case from a variety of sources, we know that the best source of information that you could examine is that of a good relationship with a family law attorney. Whether you have hired an attorney before or are just considering the possibility for the first time now we know that you likely have a lot of questions about the process of hiring an attorney and how that fits into your family law case. We cannot speak for everyone, but we believe that we have experience in working with a variety of people in our community. As a result, we have been asked many questions by potential clients and have guided many different types of people through their family law cases.

This puts the Law Office of Bryan Fagan in a unique position to be able to say that we possess a great deal of knowledge in the area of Texas family law but also have the heart of a teacher. What do we mean by this? Having the heart of a teacher means that we may be practicing attorneys who advocate in courtrooms and at the negotiation table for our clients daily. However, when it comes to educating our clients and guiding them through their cases we understand that we must make the law as simple as possible so that our clients can make good decisions for themselves and their families. What we aim to do is to put the metaphorical cookies on a shelf where everyone can reach them. This means that we want the information that we share with our clients to be done in a way that everyone can understand what we are talking about so that all persons can make good decisions for themselves in whatever family law case he or she is facing.

In today’s blog post, we are going to walk through 5 tips that you should know before you hire a family law attorney. These are five tips that we have gained in our decades of combined experience representing people in our communities throughout Southeast Texas. We believe that by sharing these tips you can get started on your journey towards gaining knowledge in this important area of your case. Many of our clients have told us that their case took a turn for the better as soon as they hired our office to represent them. Our goal is to make a positive and immediate impact on the case of each client once we are hired. It is a challenge and an honor to represent clients in family law cases. We are up to meet any challenge presented to us.

After reading today’s blog post if you have any questions about the material, you have read or would like clarification on anything please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how you and your family may benefit from hiring our office in a divorce or child custody case.

A divorce is not inevitable

It would be a mistake to assume that just because you are going through difficulties in your marriage a divorce must be around the corner. Or that a divorce is your only option to consider. On the contrary, when you get to the point in a marriage where you are going through some tough times that is the exact situation where you need to think through What your options are and what you can do to avoid ending the marriage unnecessarily.

We do not know the exact circumstances that you find yourself in as far as your daily life is concerned. We certainly do not know the ins and outs of your marriage or whether a divorce is the correct path to take. However, our attorneys and staff have seen first-hand how spouses can resolve disputes and avoid divorce through diligence and hard work. Usually, when it comes to resolving problems in a marriage the road that parties take involves a hefty amount of communication as well as a willingness to see your situation from the perspective of your spouse.

The question that we need to ask ourselves is how can you get to the point where you can have a worthwhile discussion with your spouse about this subject matter. After all, you are considering a divorce for a reason. There needs to be a problem that is either significant or one that you perceive to be significant to have even gotten to this point. When we talk about divorce and your family considering this path, we need to first assess your ability to communicate your way through the problems that you are facing.

None of us are born as great communicators. Rather, we develop skills over time that allow us to improve our communication skills and then use those skills to better the lives of ourselves and those around us. It should go without saying that your ability to communicate well with your spouse is the most profound example of how communication skills are integral to relationship building. When you begin your marriage the need to communicate as well as the necessary skills to communicate were different than they are now. Your relationship looks different, you have children, and there are added stressors and attributes of the relationship that have changed over time. With that said, we can all stand to improve our communication skills. However, one of the questions that we are asked frequently is where can you learn better communication skills?

Attending a session of marriage and family therapy is a great place to start. It is not true that a marriage or family therapist exists to determine winners and losers in arguments. Rather, the true purpose of marriage and family therapy is to help people like you develop better communication skills when facing trials in their marriage. Why not reach out to a local marriage and family therapist to determine whether or not he or she may be a good fit for you and your spouse? The communication skills that you learn may be sufficient to help save your marriage and avoid a divorce in the first place.

Hiring a family law attorney is not necessary but it almost undoubtedly would be beneficial 

There is no requirement in the Texas Family Code that you hire an attorney to represent you in a family law case. This is one of the most surprising aspects of the entire discussion on hiring an attorney. Most people assume that it is required that they hire a lawyer to represent them in a divorce or child custody case. However, the reality of the situation is that it is optional in any family law case for you to hire the tourney to represent you. What you need to examine is whether it is in your best interests to consider hiring an attorney and then ultimately hire a lawyer.

To do this, you will need to examine your particular situation in depth and make a decision about the benefits to your case. A good rule of thumb that I talk to potential clients about is if you have minor children or have a significant amount of community property to divide and it is absolutely in your best interest to hire an attorney. There is simply too much at stake in your case for you to not have someone guiding you. Hiring an attorney does not mean that the attorney is there to make decisions for you. Rather, the attorney will provide you with information and then help you walk through your different options until you arrive at the one that suits you and your family the best.

However, if you are involved in a divorce case where you have no minor children with your spouse and little to no community property to divide then it is completely up to you whether or not to hire a lawyer. For many people, there is peace of mind that comes with hiring an attorney. Additionally, you will also stand to benefit from that attorney’s experience by helping you gain whatever advantages you can in the case and see to it that the divorce proceeds smoothly and without delay. These are just a handful of benefits that you can gain by hiring an attorney even in a divorce that does not feature a significant amount of community property or minor children.

Family law attorneys bill by the hour

Without a doubt, the number one concern that people have when it comes to hiring an attorney is the costs associated with doing so. Many people have little to no understanding of how a family law attorney bills clients, but they have a strong belief that the costs associated with hiring an attorney just not being worth it. Even if there is some benefit to be gained by hiring a lawyer, those benefits are canceled out because of the costs associated with hiring a lawyer. What is the reality and what do you need to know about hiring an attorney as far as costs are concerned before you meet with a lawyer for the first time?

The most basic and probably the most important piece of information that we can share in this blog post is that family law attorneys bill by the hour. This means that your attorney will charge you for work done on your case only when work is being performed. It would make sense then that the more work that is done on your case the more expensive your case will be. Conversely, the less work that needs to be done in your case the less expensive your case will be. Additionally, you will likely be asked to pay a retainer fee at the beginning of your time with the lawyer. A retainer is essentially a down payment that secures the lawyer’s services on your behalf.

Lawyers do not make decisions for their clients

Or, rather, it may be more accurate to say that good attorneys do not make decisions for their clients. Allow us to explain. It has happened before that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have been told by clients or asked by clients to do all of the heavy lifting in a case including the decision-making at various junctures. Again, I can understand where people get the impression that an attorney makes decisions in a divorce case. However, a good family law attorney will not make decisions for you in your divorce or child custody case. Rather, a good attorney will provide you with information and guidance that will set you up to make good decisions for yourself and your family.

Think about it from this perspective. You want to be the person who makes decisions in your case because you are the one who must live with the consequences of those decisions. Rather than allowing your attorney to make decisions for you, you want to be the one who can say that you understood the options and made decisions for yourself. Your attorney does not live your life and your attorney goes home to their issues and set of circumstances. At no point will your attorney step into your shoes and live your personal life. As a result, you want to be the one who makes decisions on your case and not your attorney.

When you are meeting with an attorney for the first time you should begin to get a feel for that lawyer as far as determining whether the two of you are a good fit. If the attorney gives you the impression that he or she will be making decisions for you in the case or anything that gives you reason for a pause that is a good sign that you should move on and speak to a different lawyer.

Hiring an attorney is not a guarantee of anything

Hiring an attorney does not mean that you are signing up for a particular result in your case. While we like to think of ourselves as effective advocates on behalf of our clients, there is no guarantee that you will be able to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself just because you hired an attorney. The last thing you want to do is to spend money hiring an attorney only to find out that the attorney cannot guarantee you a particular result in your case.

Rather, when you hire an attorney, you can take the time necessary to go over your goals with that attorney, fine-tune your strategy, and then determine the best route for you to take as far as reaching those goals. You may find that the goals you had were unrealistic. Or your goals may simply need to have been fine-tuned a little more and that is something that an attorney can work with you on as well.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family’s circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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