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Questions to Ask When Interviewing Baltimore Custody Lawyers

If you and your children’s other parent are splitting up, you have probably been thinking a lot about Baltimore custody arrangements. By meeting with attorneys and asking a lot of questions, you can find a Baltimore custody attorney who can help you get the right arrangement for your family.

Maryland Child Custody Laws

Under Maryland child custody law, the courts will decide custody arrangements if you and your ex can’t agree. When making a custody determination, the courts will consider the best interests of your child or children.

A custody arrangement can be a very hard thing to figure out, even when you and your ex agree on most of the issues. A contested situation can be even more difficult. According to the Maryland courts, a contested custody situation “is one of the most difficult types of cases.” You should work closely with an attorney in Baltimore who understands the law, has a lot of experience with child custody cases and can help you through the process.

Meeting with Baltimore Custody Lawyers

Before you hire a lawyer, you will first need to meet with him to decide if he is the right one to work with. Experience with family law cases in the Baltimore area, whether it’s Lauraville, Federal Hill, Owings Mill or elsewhere, is extremely important.

You will want to hire a lawyer who understands your goals and can work with you to achieve those goals. But you also need a child custody lawyer whose judgment you trust. Even if you are angry or emotional with your ex, your lawyer can give you good advice and help you focus on the big picture.

The first meeting with a Baltimore custody attorney is called the initial consultation. This is your chance to get a sense of the lawyer, familiarize him with your situation and decide if this is the one you want to retain.

You will want to ask a lot of questions, so bring a list of them, along with a pen and paper to write down information. Your questions should cover a wide range of topics, including:

Education and Experience

  • Where did you go to law school?
  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • Do you practice other types of law, or do you mostly handle divorce, child custody and other types of family law?
  • How often have you appeared in court on behalf of parents in child custody situations?
  • Are you a member of the Bar Association of Baltimore, the Maryland State Bar Association or any other bar associations or professional organizations?

Your Child Custody Case

  • Can you discuss my specific situation before I hire you, or should we talk in general terms about Baltimore child custody?
  • What are the child custody laws in Maryland?
  • What types of physical and legal custody are available?
  • If my ex and I can’t agree on a custody arrangement, what factors will the judge consider when deciding custody for my kids?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses in my case?
  • What are the potential outcomes?
  • What strategy would you propose for handling my case?

Handling Your Case

  • Can you represent me in my Baltimore custody case?
  • If so, will you handle my case or will someone else at the firm?
  • Who will appear in court with me and who will communicate with my ex and my ex’s lawyer?
  • If I have questions or want an update, who do I talk to?
  • How long will it take to get a response?

Legal Fees

  • What type of fee do you charge?
  • How much is that fee?
  • What is extra, such as court costs?
  • How much could my total case end up costing?
  • What kind of retainer will I have to pay up front?

Choosing a Baltimore Custody Attorney

Once you have met with Baltimore child custody attorneys, it’s time to consider what you learned during the initial consultation. Think about each attorney’s strengths and weaknesses. Consider if they have the right strategies to help you with your particular situation. Look at what they charge in fees. You can also follow up with references to find out what former clients liked and didn’t like about the lawyer if you still aren’t sure.

Once you have thought about all of this, you can decide which attorney you want to hire for your Baltimore child custody case. Then, you can focus your time and energy on working to get your children into the best possible living arrangements.