It’s no secret: finding the right attorney to handle your child custody arrangement in Louisiana is a high-stakes endeavor. When “shopping” for the right attorney for you, there are a few ways that can help you discern which one is right for you. Different attorneys have greatly different strategies when it comes to child custody proceedings, and you want to always make sure they are on the same page you are. After honestly and thoroughly explaining the current situation to your attorney during your consultation, here’s what you should ask them next.
1. Have you handled any cases similar to mine? How often do you handle child custody cases?
Experience is everything when it comes to family law and child custody. You want to have a very good idea of how frequently and how well the attorney you’re consulting handles cases like yours. After all, you are paying your attorney for their education and experience more than anything else. Even though every family situation is different, the attorney may have even handled something very similar to yours and have a very good idea on how to proceed.
2. How would you describe your litigation style? What is your general approach or philosophy in handling child custody cases?
It might surprise you to know that aggression is only one part in a broad range of traits that any well-rounded litigation attorney should have. Screaming and kicking rarely get children what they want, right? Similarly, an attorney should not be only aggressive. That attorney should also be focused on keeping you up-to-date on your case, on listening to you, on constantly educating him or herself on that case and the applicable law, and on presenting that case in a clear, logical, educated, and very firm manner.
3. Will you personally be working on my case yourself, or will someone else?
This question is extremely important. When a law firm takes your case, you might get one attorney the whole way through, you might have more than one person working on that case, or the attorney with whom you are consulting may not even be available to work on your case him or herself. You need a good idea of how this whole thing is going to go, how communication is going to be handled, and with whom you will be communicating. You obviously also want to know who is going to be handling your case.
4. What do you think about my child custody case? What problems do you think we have with it? What can I expect?
In order to see how well the attorney will listen to you, first you should find out if they are listening to you. Get what you can out of your initial consultation! You can learn a lot by asking an attorney what he or she thinks the eventual outcome will likely be. Be wary of potential outcomes that seem too good to be true. A good attorney will be honest with you if he or she sees any potential issues with getting you what you want.
5. How am I going to be kept in the loop? Who is my point of contact, and how frequently do you communicate with and return calls/emails for your clients?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: communication is perhaps one of the most important factors in your working relationship with your child custody attorney. To have a successful outcome, there should always be an open line between attorney and client.