Things to Consider When Interviewing a San Jose Custody Attorney
If you are battling an ex over custody of your children, the emotions and stress can be overwhelming. A San Jose custody attorney can help you, but finding the right lawyer can be stressful in itself. This article can help you sort it all out.
When you are searching for an attorney to help you in your child custody battle, there are a lot of factors to consider. You need a lawyer with:
- A strong background representing other San Jose clients facing custody disputes
- Solid advice for you in how to proceed
- Reasonable legal fees
- An approach you believe will get you results
We’ll discuss each factor in detail.
Most San Jose child custody lawyers are willing to discuss these areas in a first meeting called an initial consultation. They use initial consultations as an opportunity to introduce themselves. You can use them as a tool to help you decide which attorney you want to hire.
When you head into your initial consultations understanding the most important factors in hiring a lawyer, you’ll get the most you can out of the meetings. With these factors in mind, you should be able to select the very best San Jose child custody attorney for you.
Background & Experience
You have a lot on the line with your custody dispute, including where your children will live and whether you’ll have a say in the major decisions in their lives. So it’s important to find an attorney familiar with resolving custody disputes. This is not the time to hire someone fresh out of law school.
The State Bar of California, a professional organization for lawyers, allows family lawyers to become certified specialists in their field. Lawyers with this designation must get their certification from either the state bar or another group accredited by the state bar, such as the National Association of Counsel for Children.
However, just because a lawyer hasn’t been certified does not mean that the lawyer is not experienced or qualified to represent you. There are plenty of non-certified lawyers who have been helping San Jose clients with custody disputes for years. You’ll want to know the specific background of the lawyers you interview at the initial consultations.
Advice & Strategy
The San Jose child custody attorneys you interview will have many questions for you about your particular set of circumstances. You should answer every question completely and honestly.
Then, based on the information you provided, you’ll want to solicit the attorneys’ opinions on whether you’ll be able to get a parenting agreement on your terms. You’ll also want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Find out what you can do to strengthen your case. If you and the other parent of your children can’t work out a parenting agreement, the judge may have to step in and decide custody for you. You’ll want the lawyers’ opinion about what is likely to happen in court if your case comes before a judge.
Before you end up in court, you’ll be required to meet with a trained counselor, who will try to resolve the differences between you and your ex. So also ask the attorneys at the initial consultations how they think that session will go.
In the end, only you can say whose strategy is most likely to work. You may have to trust your gut instinct on this one.
Most child custody attorneys in San Jose charge an hourly fee, that is, they charge you for each hour worked on your case. You’ll want to know what is that hourly rate and whether they charge a retainer fee.
A retainer works like a deposit. The lawyers will withdraw their fees as the hours pass. When the retainer is gone, they may ask you for another retainer fee, or they may start sending you monthly billing.
You may be able to negotiate a better rate, but only before you hire your lawyer. Once you have hired someone, it is too late to ask for a smaller hourly rate.
Style & Approach
Some custody battles are fierce and call for equally fierce lawyers. Other custody disputes can be resolved with a gentler touch. When you are interviewing San Jose custody lawyers, find out if they have the reputation of a pit bull or of a peacemaker. It is up to you to decide which approach is more likely to be successful.
Beyond the resume a San Jose custody brings to the table, you have a whole other element to consider, one that is based more on feelings than on measurable facts. You want a lawyer who is trustworthy and builds your confidence. You need someone patient with your questions and compatible with your personality. You may be working together for several months.
Do not ignore this touchy-feely component of your search for the best custody lawyer. In the end, you’ll want to go with the San Jose custody lawyer who makes you most comfortable.
When you have found that attorney, hire him. You’re now ready to fight for custody of your children.