Things to keep in mind
Always keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for. This does not necessarily mean that the most expensive attorney is the best one. He or she may simply be better than others at marketing or have been practicing long enough to build a vast referral network. At the same time, an attorney advertising a free initial consultation or low flat fee may not be the best choice for you. Sometimes the most expensive aspects of legal representation are hidden beyond the asterisk and in the fine print. The old adage applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Be sure to check around and compare rates, fee structures, and philosophies before meeting with or hiring a family law attorney. During the initial consultation, try to get a feel for how well you and the attorney would get along, how honest and straightforward he or she appears to be, how likely he or she would be to use your money as efficiently and economically as possible, and how experienced and knowledgeable he or she is with cases like yours. If the attorney meets these criteria, he or she probably is worth every penny.
One other consideration: Most people do not anticipate having legal needs, much less save up for them. But even if you do not think you currently have enough money for an attorney, you might be surprised at the options that are available if you take a deep breath and consider them. Family or friends might be willing to help. A bank or credit union might be willing to give you a signature loan. You might be able to get a credit card with a low introductory interest rate.
No one likes to ask for money or go into debt. But consider how much the legal outcome means to you and your family, and then think of ways to make it possible to get the level of legal representation you need.
Disclaimer: This legal guide provides general information, not legal advice that can be applied to any specific matter. It does not establish an attorney-client relationship.