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How to Choose the Best Lawyer for Your Custody Case

by | Apr 25, 2024 | 0 comments

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

Are you getting ready to face a custody battle in court?

I have been there and done that and it was one of the most stressful situations in my life.

Plus, the fact that it went on for two years before anything was resolved didn’t help. 😐

But there was one thing that got me through the whole ordeal:

An amazing lawyer.

I couldn’t image trying to navigate the complexities of family law by myself, let alone while fighting against a narcissist.

This is why I always recommend to anyone dealing with court and custody to get a lawyer.

But with so many lawyers out there, how do you choose the best one for your case?

If you’re gearing up to face your ex and court and need representation, here are some key factors for choosing a lawyer to represent you in court:

Can I Talk to a Lawyer for Free?

Whether or not a lawyer will chat with you for free depends on the lawyer. Usually, they will offer a free consultation where you can discuss your case and figure out if they are the right fit.

From there, you’ll pay a retainer that covers a certain portion of their work or pay them when the case is finished.

However, many family court offices also offer free lawyer advice. This is typically a one-hour meeting where you can ask questions.

This lawyer can’t file anything for you or represent you in court, but it’s still an option if you need help or can’t afford a lawyer.

Can I Choose My Lawyer Through Legal Aid?

If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may qualify for legal aid. This program can provide you with free legal representation.

However, even though legal aid organizations have a roster of qualified family lawyers, you usually can’t choose which one you want.

I had a legal aid lawyer and even after my custody case was adjourned, I wouldn’t have been able to request her if the issue had to go back to court.

Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. She knew the details in and out – being assigned another lawyer would mean wasting time going through it all again.

That’s just the way the system works. If you need a free lawyer, you can’t be choosey, but having a legal aid lawyer is infinitely better than representing yourself in a custody case – especially if you are up against a narcissist.

What Types of Lawyer Should I Look For?

When you’re looking for a lawyer for your custody case, you 100% need to find one who specializes in family law.

Family law attorneys have the expertise and experience necessary to navigate complex custody matters and advocate for your rights as a parent.

Plus, they have seen all kinds of conflict in court. This means that they are more likely to spot narcissistic tendencies and be able to address their behaviors.

How to Choose the Best Child Custody Lawyer

If you have the opportunity to choose a child custody lawyer, you want to make sure you find someone who understands your situation and genuinely wants to help.

I was blessed to have an amazing legal aid lawyer, but I know moms who were not so lucky. In fact, one of my good friends recently hired a lawyer who did more in one court visit than her previous legal aid lawyer did in many.

What makes a good lawyer for a child custody case? Compassion and empathy.

You need a lawyer that cares about you and your child. It makes a world of difference.

Other than that, here are some other things you should look for to choose the best child custody lawyer:

Case Experience

One of the most critical factors to consider when choosing a custody lawyer is their experience handling cases like yours.

Have they dealt with toxic exes? Can they enforce your boundaries in court?

Look for a lawyer who has successfully represented clients in custody disputes and who understands the legal issues involved.

Knowledge of Family Law

Of course, a custody lawyer should know the ins and outs of family law. They need to be familiar with local laws, relevant statutes, and legal precedents governing custody arrangements in your area.

While you may come across lawyers who dabble in different areas of law, try to stick to one that focuses on family law. In fact, you can always reach out to a family law firm that only deals with these cases.

Strong Reputation

A lawyer’s reputation can speak volumes about their ability to represent you and your child’s best interests in court.

Take to the interwebs for reviews and testimonials. You can even ask your Facebook friends who they recommend.

Try to hone in on recommendations from people who have been through a situation similar to yours.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is key in any legal proceeding, especially when it comes to sensitive matters like child custody.

Look for a lawyer who actually listens to your concerns and doesn’t try to hand you a cookie-cutter solution to your situation.

Yes, some custody cases are pretty cut-and-dry, but if you’re dealing with someone who is toxic or narcissistic, this adds a whole other layer of complexity that a good lawyer will address.

Finances

Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you ask them about their fee structure and any additional costs associated with your case.

While you don’t want to skimp on quality when it comes to legal representation, it’s important to find a lawyer who won’t break the bank.

Consulting With a Lawyer

Once you find a lawyer you feel comfortable hiring, you will meet with them and explain your situation.

Even though a good lawyer is going to know what to ask and what evidence to collect, it’s still helpful to prepare yourself.

Plus, if you’re paying for their time, you want to be as efficient as possible!

Give Details About Your Case

During your first meeting, provide as much information as possible about your custody case, including any relevant documents, text messages, or recordings.

For example, this can include text messages in which your ex is purposefully difficult or manipulative. Or maybe a voicemail in which your ex makes threats against you or your child.

Make a list of what you have so you don’t have to go through everything. Your lawyer will know which evidence is worth submitting.

Share Your Goals

Be clear with your lawyer about what you hope to achieve in your custody, whether it’s obtaining sole custody, shared custody, or visitation rights.

Your lawyer’s job is to take your information and evidence and get you as close to your goal as possible.

They are also responsible for doing what is in the best interest of your child.

Ask Them About Their Legal Strategy

Sometimes a lawyer is going to tell you something that you don’t want to hear. They are not there to get you everything you want – they are there to get you everything they can within the confines of the law.

In order to understand their advice and approach, ask them about their legal strategy. Get them to explain to you how they plan on advocating for your rights as a parent.

Choosing the Right Lawyer

Choosing the right lawyer for your custody case is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

I’ve seen what happens when lawyers don’t give a shit – and it’s the kids that suffer.

So make sure if you’re heading to court that you find, at the very least, a lawyer who cares.

This will make a world of difference so you can get the best possible outcome for your little one.

Have you dealt with family lawyers and court? What did you look for in a lawyer? Share your insight in the comments below!

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