Millions of families across the United States are navigating child custody arrangements, either because the parents are unmarried or were previously married and went through a divorce.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 30 percent of children live primarily with just one parent.
While the majority of child custody cases are settled out of court, there are many instances in which co-parents need to seek the advice and support of a family law attorney to navigate the custody process. This is also true if one parent has major change in life circumstances and the family needs to revisit the custody arrangement.
Hiring a lawyer is typically recommended in child custody cases. An experienced family law attorney can help advise an individual through child custody related issues such as visitation rights, paternity testing, and alimony or spousal support.
If you are considering hiring a child custody lawyer, here are five tips to keep in mind.
- Do your research. You should research and interview several family law attorneys before making a final decision. Visit their websites and try to find reviews or recommendations of their services before meeting with them to discuss your case. Speaking with potential attorneys in person or over the phone is critical. Important questions to ask include how many child custody cases they have handled and what their current caseload is like.
- Find someone who specializes in child custody. Make sure you choose an attorney with experience and a proven track record in child custody cases. During your consultation with a potential lawyer, you can ask about past cases. While they may not be able to give you specific details about past cases, you can ascertain whether a particular attorney has experience with cases like yours.
- Choose a responsive attorney. From the initial strategy session through the final court order, your attorney should be personally involved in every aspect of the case. It is a bad sign if an attorney doesn’t respond to you promptly or is constantly distracted by calls or emails during your consultation.
- Look for red flags. An attorney should never divulge confidential information from other cases, disrespect other parties, treat you or their staff poorly, or make bold and unrealistic promises.
- Trust your gut. Don’t ignore your intuition when choosing a family law attorney. From start to finish, you should feel confident in your representation and should experience a sense of relief in the midst of a difficult situation.
This blog post does not constitute legal advice. For questions about hiring an attorney for a child custody case, contact the experts at Sandoval Law Firm.
At Sandoval Law Firm we understand the stress of dealing with divorce, child custody and domestic violence. Our firm consists of founding attorney Raul Sandoval Jr. and a dedicated support staff. Mr. Sandoval earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. Since that time, he has been practicing family law in the Austin area, as well as teaching seminars, classes and other forms of professional development.