Florida Family Law Matters: Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Legal Needs
Everyone knows that a skilled attorney can prove instrumental in securing favorable outcomes in criminal and civil court. But what about family law court? Other than contested divorces and contentious child custody issues, do you really need a lawyer?
Given the complexities of family law and the potential negative consequences of an adverse ruling from the court, the answer is yes for most issues before Florida’s family court system. And consider the numerous issues beyond divorce and child custody the Florida Family Court system addresses:
- Domestic violence.
- Injunctions and issuance of protection orders against abusers.
- Termination of parental rights.
- Custodial care and access to children.
- Temporary or concurrent custody of minor children by extended family.
- Emancipation of a minor.
- Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (to force payment by non-resident child support debtors).
- Juvenile dependency.
- Juvenile delinquency.
- Legal sanctioning of prenuptial, marital, and postnuptial agreements.
- Legal name changes.
- Marriage annulment.
If you’re facing any of these issues before a Florida family court, and realize that you should probably secure the services of a competent attorney, the next question you might ask is how does one choose the right family law lawyer? With extensive experience in family law, the attorneys of Tallahassee’s Cowhey + Ward Attorneys at Law have some tips for you.
Start with the Basics
To begin your search for a family law attorney who can handle your issue, collate all relevant documents and information, and try to detail in your mind or on paper the outcome you seek from the legal action. Ask family members and friends if they know any competent family law attorneys and conduct an internet search for lawyers in your area who practice family law. Once you’ve picked out a couple of prospective lawyers, call their offices to schedule an initial consultation and draft some questions designed to flesh out the following information from them.
Do They Have the Experience You Need?
You might schedule an initial consult with a lawyer reputed to be the best divorce attorney in Leon County. However, that might not help much if your issue involves a different family law concern with which the esteemed divorce lawyer has limited experience. Therefore, confirm that your prospective lawyer has distinct experience with the family law issue you’re facing.
Their experience should include settlement and litigation. While most family law cases are settled through out-of-court negotiations, some proceed to trial. Thus, you want a family law attorney skilled in negotiations and arguing cases before a judge.
What is Their Legal Approach and Track Record of Success?
Ask your prospective attorney how they’ve handled cases like yours. You want to feel comfortable with how the lawyer approaches such issues and ensure that their approach tends to lead to successful client outcomes. Assess whether the attorney’s description of their process involves close cooperation with clients. A competent family lawyer strives to understand their client in context with the family dynamics to help strategize the best approach for a successful outcome.
What Are the Attorney’s Fees?
Attorney fees can vary widely as they are typically based on experience, success rate, and law firm size. Costs can also vary depending on the complexity of the legal issues and the time needed to resolve the case. While the lawyer with the highest fees doesn’t guarantee success, the lowest-priced family lawyer probably lacks expertise and experience.
Whatever the fees, your prospective family lawyer should be completely transparent about how much resolving your case might cost depending on how the case progresses. A compassionate attorney will also tell you how they and you can work on your case in ways to help reduce costs without sacrificing service.
Are You Satisfied with the Initial Communications with the Prospect?
Communications are a critical element in family law, and if your prospective lawyer’s communications with you left you bewildered, consider another option. An experienced family attorney should be able to explain how they will address your case with terms you can understand. A lawyer skilled in communications can easily translate unfamiliar legal terminology and explain what the relevant law(s) might mean for your legal situation. In fact, if your prospective lawyer doesn’t make a clear effort to ensure that you understand all legalese, you should consider a different prospect.
Does Your Prospective Family Lawyer Seem to Care?
In addition to the above attributes, you should seek out in a family lawyer, you want one who seems like they will dedicate themselves to securing the best possible outcome for your case. You want a lawyer who displays a passion for their profession and expresses compassion for those facing legal issues affecting their family. These attributes should be apparent during your initial consult. A passionate lawyer will express interest in the details and legal issues of your case, and compassion can be evidenced by their interest—or lack thereof—in how the legal issues impact you and your family. If your prospective family lawyer seems bored or uninterested in the details of your legal matters, you should probably seek a different lawyer.
Turn to Cowhey + Ward for Passionate Support of Your Family Law Rights
We trust these tips will help you find a family law attorney who can help you successfully navigate a positive outcome for your case. Take time to carefully vet prospective lawyers, as their experience, expertise, and personal skills could be instrumental in securing a positive result.
We also hope you will consider contacting us if you’re seeking family law guidance in the Leon County, Florida area. Our attorneys Adam Cowhey and Zach Ward take a hands-on and passionate approach to every detail of their family law cases. In addition to a strong track record in divorce proceedings, our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in other domestic and family law issues. Additionally, past membership in the Florida Family Law Rules Committee, along with authoring family law publications, provides Mr. Cowhey with in-depth insight into the legalities of Florida’s family law and up-to-date information on any changes in the laws.
To learn how Cowhey + Ward can provide you with the best legal representation before the Florida Family Court system, contact us today at (850) 222-1000.