May 19, 2020
As with other law practice areas, you don’t typically think about the process of finding a family law attorney until you absolutely need to.
To help you in your search for a family law attorney, we’ve compiled some tips on steps that will help you make the best decision you can for hiring a family law attorney.
Here are the 4 things you need to know to hire a family law attorney in Richmond, Virginia:
- Know what type of lawyer you need
- Know where you’ll file your case
- Know what your options are
- Know what makes a good family lawyer
Know What Type of Lawyer You Need
Not all lawyers work in all practice areas. Many of them specialize in specific types of law. Before you begin your search for a family law attorney, you need to know if your case is something that qualifies as family law.
Family law, otherwise known as “domestic relations” or “matrimonial law”, can typically include the legal matters surrounding marriage or family relations such as divorce, custody, adoption, or prenuptial agreements.
You will need a family lawyer if your case involves one of the following:
- You would like to get married with a prenuptial agreement
- You and your spouse are pursuing a divorce, annulment or legal separation
- You would like to modify a divorce agreement
- You would like guidance or modify the terms of spousal support, alimony or child support
- You are pursuing an adoption
- You and your child’s other parent cannot agree on custody or visitation
Know Where You Will File Your Case
Most cases are filed in the county where the person who is filing the case lives, or if it is a matter involving child custody or support, where the child primarily resides The person who files is called either the plaintiff or petitioner.
It’s important to consider the legal residence of the plaintiff because family laws vary from state-to-state. Because the laws are different from state-to-state, each state has a bar association that the lawyer must join before he/she can practice law.
A lawyer who practices family law in Richmond and Chesterfield county, for example, might join the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation or the Chesterfield Bar Association.
Your friend in another state might have a good recommendation for a family law attorney that they trust, but if they don’t have a license to practice law in Virginia, you can’t hire them. If your friend has a good recommendation for a family law attorney who practices in another part of the state and is not familiar with the courts and judges in your area, you may want to consider another attorney who practices more in your area.
Know What Your Options Are
Once you know where you are looking for a family law attorney, you should search for the law firm that will best represent you. You can begin your search on your state’s bar association directory or on a search engine like Google or Bing.
If you search online, you’ll want to include the county or city that you are looking for a family lawyer in rather than “near me.” A good local family lawyer, even if they are on the other side of the city/county, may serve your needs better than the lawyer that happens to be closest to you at the time that you are searching.
Most lawyers have a website that will tell you a little about them and what practice areas they are involved in. They might have some informative resources on their website that give you a snapshot of the types of cases they handle. There might even be answers to some of the frequently asked questions that you might already be wondering about!
Know What Makes a Good Family Lawyer
A good family lawyer should be:
- In good standing with their state’s bar association
- Easy to get in touch with
- Willing to answer questions
- Clear about how much they charge
- Can explain to you a good plan to be successful in your case
Family law attorneys help you navigate legal matters that are sometimes simple but are usually very complex. It’s important that you evaluate a family lawyer not just for what they do in court but how they treat you as you work with them. A good family lawyer has excellent communication skills both in listening to your claim and in explaining your legal options.
Give Your Family Law Attorney a Call
Once you’ve found a family law attorney, contact them. Many lawyers in our local Richmond area have a contact form on their website. If not, their phone number is usually not too hard to find.
If they’re like us (Cravens & Noll is also a local Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Colonial Heights, and Harrisonburg family law attorney with years of experience in these county courts and the counties surrounding them), you’ll be greeted by a friendly receptionist that will set up a consultation for you. The consultation will help them gather the information they need so they can handle your case. Feel free to schedule your consultation with one of our family law attorneys today.
And with that, your search for a family law attorney is complete!