What Should I Look for in a Virginia Child Custody Lawyer?

Finding the right Virginia child custody lawyer can help you during and after your divorce. Here are a few things you should consider before hiring a lawyer.

Last updated on October 22nd, 2018

Finding the Right Virginia Child Custody Lawyer

Divorce is difficult, and is often made more strenuous when children are involved. You need the right attorney to guide you through the child custody process. So here are some things to look for as you begin to talk to your Virginia child custody lawyer:

Experience

It’s important to know who you’re hiring to represent your family. Before scheduling a consultation with a Virginia child custody lawyer, be sure to do your research and get to know who you’ll be contacting.

Look into their legal work experience, previous cases, and education. These are all points that can help you to get to know who you’ll be contacting. Get to know how they operate in the courtroom, and gain a better understanding of what they represent through research.

Understanding their legal and personal interests can provide a better idea of how they’ll represent your interests in the future.

It is also good practice to know their connections. Asking about the judges that may be ruling on your case may help. Knowing the judges and their positions on key issues relevant to your case can be beneficial in knowing how you will want to lead your suit in court.

Knowledgeable

There is truth to the phrase “knowledge is power”, and this is especially true when seeking a Virginia child custody lawyer.

Before committing, you’ll want to be sure you’re hiring an expert in their field. Not all lawyers practice family law, and once you’ve found one that does, you’ll want to be sure they know their practice inside and out.

Look for someone who is regarded as a knowledgeable resource by others in the same field of law. You can do this by asking around – talk to different lawyers, people in the community, or online sources to find recommendations.

Although, finding an attorney who is knowledgeable comes with the additional risk of falling into their heavy case-load. Ask them about how many cases like yours they represent, and make a note of their interest in representing your case.

You don’t want to be represented by someone who sees you as a file on their desk. You want someone who is able to show that they are personable, and that they can represent you in court without relying on a page to tell them who you are.

Affordability

A Virginia child custody lawyer is primarily looking after the best interest of the children and the family involved. But hiring a quality attorney can be expensive. In addition to experience, the right attorney for you must also be one you can afford without putting you into serious debt.

Speaking with a Virginia child custody lawyer that offers a consultation can help you decide if their representation is appropriate and affordable. As legal services evolve, many offices offer flat fees and payment plans. Ask about these options when you meet with the attorney.

Areas of Practice

If you’re looking to hire a Virginia child custody lawyer and you want to be sure you’re making the right decision, take the time to do some research into their firm.

Few firms practice Virginia family law as a specialty. Although some firms practice family law as a secondary area, others only practice in particular locations.

Many of the larger practices have offices in various cities throughout the state, and sometimes the firm closest to you may not be the office of the attorney you’re seeking.

 

Communication

Communication is truly key when you’re filing for custody. This is a stressful and confusing time, so you will want to seek out someone who is able to communicate clearly, without the density of legalese.

You may also find that you have more questions than answers, and that’s okay. Finding a lawyer who is easily accessible whenever you may need to call or email will help reduce your stress and anxiety.

After you’ve found a lawyer you are able to communicate well with, be sure that the relationship fits your personalities. Remember – you’re trusting this person with your family’s future, so it’s important that you get along and match in personality.

Sometimes aggressive approaches aren’t the best route to take in a custody case. You’ll want to be sure that their temperament fits what your family needs, whether that temperament is calm, and level-headed or persistent and curt. You’re going to have enough on your hands, and worrying about an attorney who has a temper shouldn’t be one of them.

Abilities

Custody Agreement

The terms of your custody agreement will influence who you should consult. When filing for custody, you’ll want to find a lawyer that has experience and success with those types of cases.

This is where knowledge of their prior experience will come in handy. A proven track record is reassuring when custody trials are taken to court.

Child Support

Gaining custody often comes with the need for financial support in the years that follow divorce proceedings. Aside from alimony (if sought during the divorce), custodians can file for child support from the former spouse. Financial support provides care and adjustment for the children’s new lifestyles.

The benefit of child support is to provide a more stable environment for the children during a time of major transition.

There is benefit in seeking a lawyer who has proven ability to negotiate in financial proceedings. You will want to inquire about their success rates in child support settlements and the enforcement of those settlements.

Respectability

When you’re looking for someone to represent the interests of your family, you should consider who they are as individuals. Do you want a family oriented, or financially-driven attorney?

It isn’t always all about the firm. Choosing a lawyer based on their expense and notoriety alone isn’t always the most reliable method.

Checking personal websites, bios, and LinkedIn pages can be starting points to finding someone involved in their community. An attorney’s ability to display an investment of time and involvement in the community speaks to their ability to be personable as a professional.

In your search, look for someone who is known for their ability to adjust to your needs. You’ll want to hire someone who knows your situation and can remember the details of your suit when it comes time to go to court.

Honesty is also important when it comes to reviewing lawyers to represent you. You should seek someone who is able to give you honest opinions on what they feel the outcome could be, and how to proceed from those outcomes.

Transparency is encouraged, and often necessary when trusting someone with your family’s future. Without honest advising, it’s hard to fully understand what could be at stake when your family goes to trial. You don’t want to be blindsided by an outcome that you never saw coming.

Relationship with the Guardian Ad Litem

During a divorce, a Guardian Ad Litem will be appointed to represent your children. When filing a custody suit, you will want to ensure that the family attorney you are choosing has a good relationship with your Guardian Ad Litem.

Remember: the Guardian Ad Litem will be making the decisions for your children. They hold a lot of weight in the courtroom, and you will want to be sure that your attorney and Guardian Ad Litem are able to communicate efficiently and effectively to prevent conflict.

Reputation

If all else fails and you’re still unsure which Virginia child custody lawyer would best protect your interests, try asking around.

With 1 in 4 marriages each year ending in divorce, chances are you know someone who has been through what you’re facing.

People who have been through a divorce may be able to recommend a Virginia child custody lawyer that would best suit your needs as a client. When in doubt, reach out to those who know the field first-hand and can offer you a recommendation through their personal connections.

Sometimes, it can even be helpful to “Google” for legal representation in your area. Chances are, you’ll be overwhelmed with a flood of firms and names that meet your search. However, narrowing your options to four or five names will help. Choose a few that meet your search and appear to be agreeable candidates, then “Google” them individually.

 

Conclusion

Finding a Virginia child custody lawyer that best represents your family doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are a lot of qualities to consider, but there are also plenty of resources to ensure that you’re making the right decision.

Interested in speaking to a Virginia child custody lawyer? Schedule your consultation online.

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