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What to Expect From a Family Law Attorney

Many single parents will need the services of a family law attorney at some point. Separation, divorce, death of a partner, modifying a visitation agreement or child support order are just a few of the times to seek out a family law attorney. However, many of us have little experience with attorneys. The following will give you some general information on how to select and what to expect from a family law attorney.

Where Do I Find an Attorney?

1. The phone book – Look under the Family Law section in the yellow pages. Here you will find a wide selection of attorneys. There are attorneys who specialize in the representation of men or the representation of women. Some attorneys specialize in a particular component of family law, for instance custody. There are attorneys that are Christian focused, and some that offer payment plans. Many offices will give you a free phone consultation.

2. The library – Ask to see the Martindale & Hubbell Law Directory. This directory lists most lawyers and areas of practices within the United States.

3. State or Local Bar Association - Most operate a Lawyer Referral Service. After asking you to briefly describe the facts of your case, they will refer you to attorneys in your area. Tell the attorney you were referred from the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service and you will often get a half-hour consultation at no charge. The referral service does not give legal advice.

4. Network - Ask friends, family, and co-workers for names of attorneys they would recommend. Ask friends who have used a family law attorney if their attorney did a good job and if they would hire him/her again.

5. Legal Aid Offices – If lack of money is a problem call your local legal aid office to determine if you qualify for representation. Your income has to be below a certain point to qualify for most services. Legal aid organizations often have restrictions on case acceptance. For instance, they may only take domestic violence cases. If they are not accepting your type of case ask them to refer you to pro bono attorney programs. These are local attorneys who have agreed to provide free legal representation to eligible persons, usually lower income. Like legal aid, some have restrictions on case acceptance.
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