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How to Select a New York City Custody Lawyer



In New York City, custody battles are often resolved through the courts if the parents cannot agree on child custody arrangements. The New York City Family Court determines custody by deciding what’s in the best interest of the child.

Whether you’re an unwed parent or in the midst of a New York City divorce, child custody disputes are often contentious. Because of this, you need an experienced attorney who understands the ins and outs of New York City divorce and custody laws. Reasonable legal fees are also a plus. The following article will outline how to select a New York City child custody lawyer.

Identifying Prospective Lawyers

The first step toward finding a child custody lawyer is to compile a list of potential attorneys. Ask family, friends or business associates to recommend child custody lawyers they’ve used in the past. Personal recommendations are a valuable resource because you can get feedback on the lawyer.

If you don’t want to ask someone you know about potential lawyers, or would simply like to expand your list of child custody lawyers, Attorneys.com can help. We can connect you with a New York City child custody lawyer. All you have to do is fill out the form on this site or call 1-877-913-7222. Attorneys.com will then connect you with one or more child custody lawyers. You can contact the lawyer directly at your convenience or the lawyer will call you within two business days.

Scheduling an Initial Consultation

After compiling your list of New York City custody lawyers to potentially hire, schedule some initial consultations.

An initial consultation is the prime opportunity to get to know a lawyer and familiarize him with your child custody case. The goal of the meeting is to decide whether to hire the attorney to handle your case.

Generally lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation, but make sure and ask when you schedule the appointment.

Since the initial consultation is the most important step toward selecting a child custody attorney, take time to prepare for the meeting. Gather any relevant information and documents for the lawyer to review. Then write a list of questions to ask the attorney.

Key questions should focus on a lawyer’s experience, their billing rates, case management processes and case assessment. Sample questions include:

  • How long have you been a child custody lawyer?
  • Have you ever handled a child custody case like mine?
  • How is child custody determined?
  • What is your suggested strategy for handling my child custody case?
  • What determines who gets child custody?
  • Will I have to go to court or are there any other ways to resolve my case?
  • What is your billing rate? Can you give me an estimate of the total cost to handle my matter?
  • What types of court-related costs will I have to pay?

In addition, ask lawyers for references. If the initial consultation does not help pinpoint which lawyer to hire, the lawyer’s references could help you make a decision.

You can take notes during the initial consultation or write down your thoughts about the lawyer and his strategy after the meeting when the visit is still fresh in your mind. Factors to think about include:

  • Did the lawyer listen well?
  • Did he understand your child custody problem?
  • Could the lawyer explain New York City child custody laws?
  • Did he speak about the law in a manner which you understood?
  • Are the lawyer’s rates reasonable?

Selecting a New York City Custody Lawyer

After meeting with at least one attorney, review the lawyer’s qualifications. Ask yourself if the lawyer understood your case and answered your questions. Could the lawyer help you gain custody of your child?

Call the references provided if you cannot decide on which attorney to hire. Ask former clients about their working relationship with the child custody lawyer. Were they happy with their experience? Would they hire this lawyer again? What were the benefits of working with this lawyer? What didn’t they like about their experience with the lawyer?

Taking the time to interview a potential child custody lawyer and then assessing his skills before selecting one will make you more comfortable with your decision. So select an attorney, hire him and move forward with your case.