If you were motivated to do so, you could read through the hundreds of blogs that we have posted on our website over the past years, and you can learn a lot about several different topics in Texas family law. I will go out on a limb and say that our selection of blog posts is second to none for family law attorneys in our State. Go ahead and read through them, and I can almost promise you that you will learn as much as you would ever want to about child custody, divorce, adoption, and any other family law case variety.
However, that knowledge is all well and good, but ultimately it doesn't matter if the knowledge you possess can't translate to results in your specific case. A car's engine can be as powerful as any in the world, but if that power isn't getting to the rear wheels, then all the effort it takes to get the engine humming was for naught. Results matter- theories don't amount to anything after a family law case.
All this is to say that you need to translate those theories and facts into a positive outcome for you and your family. That is where attorneys come in. Despite your impression of attorneys and what we do for a living, we strive to put our clients' interests first ahead of our own. This is because it is the right thing to do and is sworn to do once we become attorneys. Secondly, it is in our best interest as business-people to do so.
What if you have never even spoken to an attorney, and now you find yourself needing to respond to a child custody or divorce petition? Should you start driving and hire the first lawyer who will take a check? Not.
That is where today's blog post from the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, comes in. We want to share with you some tips regarding hiring an attorney. This could be an invaluable resource for everyone reading it, especially if you have no experience with attorneys. We will also discuss hiring an attorney if you cannot afford to pay one.
Choosing a family law attorney
If you are staring down paperwork from a family law court and have no idea what to make of it, you will likely want to make a decision as quickly as you can to take the pressure off you. I mean, you were handed a stack of papers from a constable or process server, and that person wasn't overly interested in helping you understand everything that was going on. You were left with many questions and a kitchen table covered with legal documents.
While your instinct is correct, as far as hiring an attorney is concerned, you should be sure to know what you are getting yourself into when it comes to hiring a specific lawyer. For instance, does the lawyer you want to hire have experience handling family law cases. I can tell you from experience that all sorts of lawyers practice family law because it is commonly believed that anyone with a law degree can file your divorce. Sort of like any realtor can sell your house. However, if you have ever sat with a house on the market for six months, you know as well as I do that no two realtors are created equal. The same can be said for family law attorneys.
You will want to hire an attorney who has experience practicing family law. More specifically, you will want to hire an attorney that has handled your type of family law case. If you are a person who is nearing retirement with no kids under 18, then you will need an attorney who has successfully managed divorce cases for people with high net-worths. If you will hire an attorney with family law experience but only quick, uncontested divorces under their belt, you should ask yourself why you are doing so. It's like when you were a kid; your mom would take you to the store to buy a toy or other goodie. If the first store didn't have what you wanted, you likely settled on something you didn't want just because you had built up the idea of getting something NOW, rather than waiting for something you wanted. Resist that temptation and interview multiple attorneys for the job of representing you.
Fees, fees, and fees
You should inquire about attorney's fees and figure out what your attorney is planning on charging you for your case. Most family law attorneys that I know charge an up-front retainer (down payment) for their services as well as a monthly payment throughout your case as long as it is active.
Different attorneys charge different amounts as with any service provided in the marketplace. Price is a huge consideration when hiring an attorney. However, I would tell you that it is just one of many factors in play that you should consider when hiring an attorney. For instance, many attorneys balance a higher than average retainer with a more reasonable monthly payment amount, coupled with attorneys who do not charge much (relatively speaking) per hour. If you find an attorney you trust, someone who communicates well, and one with a level of experience that you are confident in, then you may want to pay more money to hire that person.
Review a contract before signing on with an attorney
It would help if you asked to see the contract you will sign to hire an attorney when you meet with them. Attorneys have lengthy contracts that we have you sign before engaging with us. The contract spells out our responsibilities as a client, what your responsibilities are to us as your attorney, and several other tidbits of knowledge.
If you come in for a free of charge consultation with our office, we will go over a contract with you briefly but then give it to you to take home and look it over with a friend or family member that you trust. If you have questions about the contract, we welcome you to contact us about those questions. If you come back and want to hire us, we will walk you through every page of the contract and explain its finder points to you to understand everything you are signing.
Trouble finding an attorney you can afford?
As it happens with a divorce, money becomes tight, and sometimes you don't have enough to go around and hire an attorney. This can be especially true if your spouse has already eaten up a large chunk of your bank account by hiring an attorney of their own.
If this situation sounds familiar to you, instead of panicking, you should read our blog post tomorrow on this very subject. We will aim to provide you with some helpful tips that will hopefully make you feel better about your situation.
We will also detail how to locate attorneys if you don't know where to begin. The internet is a good resource, but the options may be overwhelming. We will help you narrow down a search method that should yield some positive results for you.
Questions about hiring an attorney? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
Sometimes the most challenging part of finding a reasonable and trustworthy attorney is beginning your search. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, are experienced in Texas family law and always strive to provide the best service for our clients. If you are beginning your legal search, please call us to set up a free-of-charge consultation with a lawyer from our office.