As a devoted parent going through a divorce, you will need a Texas child custody lawyer who can help you obtain the best outcome to ensure that your children are raised in a stable and nurturing environment. With so many lawyers licensed to practice law in Texas, a parent may be overwhelmed when trying to choose a Dallas child custody lawyer who will be the most effective in protecting their rights. Here are seven questions that can help you assess the quality and value of an attorney’s services:
1. What type of experience do you have with Texas child custody cases?
Experience is often the deciding factor when a client hires an attorney to represent him or her. In a child custody proceeding, the attorney’s experience in dealing with family law issues is essential because no two custody cases are quite the same. In each case, the emotions between the divorcing parties can vary, which in turn can affect each parent’s willingness to cooperate in working out a fair and amicable custody arrangement. A seasoned attorney who has handled many cases (contentious and non-contentious) will be able to able draw upon these experiences to suggest a strategy that will be in the best interests of your child.
2. What are your rates, fees, and retainer requirements?
While the quality of the legal services of the child custody lawyer is always paramount, the cost of the legal services also needs to be discussed upfront. When you leave the attorney’s office, you should have a complete understanding of all the costs associated with your representation.
Typically, you will need to make an initial payment to retain the services of the attorney. This advancement, known as the retainer fee, is an amount necessary to cover certain fees and expenses that will be incurred in preparing your case. If you are having financial difficulties, it is also important to ask whether the attorney can work with you on a payment plan.
3. Can you explain what I can expect in my child custody case?
Your attorney should be able to explain how the course of events will unfold during a child custody case proceeding so that you have a good understanding of what to expect. Often a client involved in a child custody dispute has certain expectations about how long the proceedings should take — which may or may not be realistic.
It is the duty of the attorney to ask you specific questions about your expectations for custody and visitations as well as gather initial background information about you, your spouse, and your children. With this information on the table, the attorney should be able to address your questions regarding what to expect during each stage of the proceedings.
4. What is your proposed strategy for handling my case?
After your attorney has learned some of the specifics of your case, you should ask questions relating to his analysis of the case. You want to get inside the attorney’s thought process to determine if he or she thinks the issue of custody and visitation can be settled amicably, or if further legal actions are warranted. In particular, you want to know if the attorney plans to use arbitration or a court proceeding to resolve these controversies.
5. Can you explain how child support works?
Regardless of whether you will be the custodian or non-custodian parent, you will need to understand your rights and obligations related to child support in Texas. The amount of child support that you may be obligated to pay will depend on number of factors, including your custodial status, who pays for the child’s health insurance, the number of children from the marriage, and your annual net income.
6. Who else will be working on my case and what are their qualifications?
Most clients intuitively know that their child custody attorney has a support staff working behind the scenes preparing legal documentation and correspondence under the direction of the attorney. An attorney should introduce you to the other members of his or her team and explain their roles in assisting with your case. You want to be reassured that an attorney has a competent, diligent, and hardworking staff working to protect your interests.
7. When should I expect to hear from you regarding the status of my case?
Most clients are understandably anxious to move on with their lives and leave the divorce proceedings in the rearview mirror. They also worry their children will be subjected to a long drawn out custody dispute. The attorney needs to provide you will a realistic timeframe for when the case will be settled. In addition, you should ask how the attorney how they plan to communicate with you during the representation and what is the best way to reach the attorney.
Contact a Dallas Child Custody Lawyer
With these seven starter questions firmly in hand, the lawyers at Warren & Migliaccio invite you to come into the office and give them an opportunity to answer all of your questions. Call them today at 888-584-9614 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.