How to Select a Family Law Attorney

Relationships can be complicated. For some couples, one or both of them may want to end their relationship. If they are married, one party will need to file for divorce in order to legally end the relationship.  If the parties have children together but are not married, they could simply agree to go their own separate ways. However, if they do not agree about issues such as child support and child custody (called time sharing in Florida statutes) then they may need to consult with a family law lawyer in order to help them establish rights to support and visitation. For people that already have a family law court order, circumstances may change, perhaps one of the original parties to the divorce wishes to move to a different state or someone has lost a job, and this will require a new order to be established either through mediation or through another trial.

A Jacksonville family law lawyer is someone that can help you obtain a divorce, establish paternity, get a court order regarding child support and custody and help you enforce or modify any existing family law court order. If you need to deal with any issue that concerns marriage, divorce, separation or any other issue where child custody and child support are involved, then you will need a Jacksonville family law lawyer.

How do you find this attorney, one that you can put your trust and confidence in?

The initial consultation:

Many people will use the internet to search for lawyers and law firms.  Once you have identified a firm that you think can assist you, you should contact them by phone to schedule an initial consultation. Be sure to ask about any fees that are charged for the consultation. At the initial consultation, you will have adequate opportunity to ask questions about your case. You should also be given an overview of the divorce process for your particular circumstances. Take the opportunity to ask the lawyer any questions that you have about the process, the likely outcomes, the fees and the lawyer’s approach and experience with cases like yours. Prior to the meeting, you should prepare a list of questions.  Some questions you may want to consider are:

  • What do you think a realistic resolution of my case should be?
  • What experience do you have with cases like mine?
  • Is my case a case that you would want to take on?
  • Are you available to represent me rather than my case being assigned to another lawyer?
  • What is a realistic estimate for fees and costs for your office to handle the case?
  • How quickly will my case be processed and how quickly do you respond to e-mails and return phone calls?
  • Do you have a contract or fee agreement that outlines how your office will handle my case?

What is the cost of a Jacksonville family law attorney?

Most attorneys bill for their work in six minute increments at a set hourly rate. Most offices will also have paralegals and secretarial staff that are also going to bill in six minute increments for any work done for you but at a lower hourly rate than the lawyer. If the case requires the services of any outside third party, the price of that service is communicated to the client and the client either arranges for and pays for the service directly or the client will be billed for the actual cost of the service if the service is paid for by the law firm on behalf of the client. The billing rate of attorneys is dependent on the geographic area where they practice, the type of law practiced and how experienced the lawyer is.

The rates are generally several hundred dollars an hour unless the lawyer offers a flat fee for a particular, well defined legal service such as simple document preparation, attendance at a mediation session only or some other instance in which a lawyer can estimate the time needed and offer a flat rate for the work.

When meeting with a lawyer for an initial consultation, be sure to ask any questions that you may have about billing rates, fees and costs if these are not provided to you by the attorney. You may also want to ask about the billing frequency and retainer requirements. Most lawyers will ask for a retainer amount that they can deposit into a trust account and bill against as work is done before they will open a file and perform any work for you.

An experienced Jacksonville family law lawyer can be found at Cameron Baker & Associates, P.A. Their practice is exclusively dedicated to family law and their focus is to help guide you through your family law issue, keeping your goals and budget in mind, by offering hourly and flat fee services to all clients.

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