Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. Some days are ok, some are bad. Combine impatience and emotions and you have a recipe for making many bad decisions. Some people will be under the proper type of care with a therapist, but many times they won’t be. One of the person that will be the closest to them during these moments is their divorce lawyer and this family law attorney can be the one person they will yell at all the time because that is the only person they can find. They are going through a lot and begin to rely increasingly on the lawyer, therefore it must to be the right type of relationship.
It has to feel right on both sides. The family law lawyer should want to help and know they can help their client. The client has to want to work with their divorce lawyer and trust their skills.
There are many family law lawyers, but one attribute you want to know is the extent to which your attorney knows the local courthouse, how many cases are in that county, how familiar are they with judges, the local procedures of the courthouse as opposed to the California procedures or the county procedures. Also relevant is the relationship your attorney has with other divorce attorneys because lawyers are human beings and unfortunately some will not put their personal issues aside in order to do what is right for their clients. A case that could be settled outside of court may turn into an expensive litigation not because the client and their spouse cannot come to an agreement, but because their attorneys won’t.
Every attorney will have some minimal knowledge of the law but you will want to look for someone who has ten or more years of experience. This will give them enough time to mature as an attorney and to understand the practice of law.
You will want an attorney who specializes in Family Law and moreover you should ask what areas of family law they specialize in. For example at Stabile & Moshtael some of our attorneys are extremely well versed with divorce or family law case with Complex Financial issues, while other attorneys are expert with Custody and International Custody issues.
It is also very important to find whether they practice family law only or do they mix it with Business Law, Workers’ Comp or other practice areas. You want to work with an attorney who focuses on Family Law exclusively. Regardless of what an attorney says, if they practice more than Family Law, you want to find another firm to work with.
Size of the Firm
Do you really need to go with a big firm. Probably not, they have multiple layers of people and every person who touches the file will be reflected on your monthly bill. This model means you are going to run out of money before you get anywhere near the end of the case. You won’t see much progress and when the money is out they will nicely throw you in the street. You want to find a small to mid-sized firm with attorneys and a staff that have a lot of experience from big firms who are not afraid of going against the big companies but they won’t charge you the same type of rate. On the other hand we do not recommend one guy without a receptionist or support staff.
Most family law lawyers are good at negotiating agreements because most of the time they are able to settle outside of court. By consequence most are not comfortable inside the courtroom and they are not good divorce trial attorneys. They do not have the practice experience of civil litigation lawyers who are doing Procedure every day, show up in front of a judge and stick to the Evidence Code or the Code of Civil Procedure which are the legal weapons lawyers have available to them to ensure things are done in order in a specific way and they are predictable.
When hiring a family law lawyer, you want to hire someone who has no fear with respect to going to court and knows the Evidence Code and the Code of Civil Procedure needed to conduct a proper trial. You do not want someone who is going to just bill and convince you that you are going to win everything yet force you to settle a case at the last minute because they are afraid to go to trial.
At Stabile and Moshtael we are ready to trial any day of the week. We are not afraid to tell the other party their deal is unfair and we can go in front of a judge if they choose not to be fair.
This does not mean we do not try our best to settle the case, but rather we have the skillet to go to trial if we cannot settle. You need divorce attorneys with this ability otherwise you are doing yourself a disservice and forcing yourself to settle because your lawyer is not comfortable with the idea of going in front of a judge and fighting for you.
Plan of Action
When we say analytical we mean someone with a plan of action. At Stabile & Moshtael we seat with our clients and do case plans. We ask them what they hope to achieve realistically and we make a plan of action. Once agreed upon we go down the list and begin to check items off.
Look at their rates at see if it is consistent with other attorneys in your city.
More Attributes To Look For
You want your lawyer to be analytical, organized, responsive. The biggest complaint about lawyers is they are great at taking money but they are not good at return phone calls. At Stabile & Moshtael we make it a point to work on everything people do not like about attorneys. We respond to our clients within a business day whether they email, call, text, fax us. The attentiveness one puts into the file, how quickly they get back to you, how organized they are, how responsive they are, how critical they are are extremely important attributes of a great family law lawyer.