A family law attorney can help you with any of the following situations: divorce, legal separation, annulment, divorce agreement modifications, child support and/or custody guidance, restraining orders, adoptions, and legal documents such as prenuptial marriage agreements.
If you are seeking a family law attorney to receive legal advice and representation for filing a divorce, it is important that you look for qualified lawyers in the county where the person filing the claim (referred to as the plaintiff) lives. For example, if you reside in Fort Collins, Colorado and are looking to file for a divorce, you would want to find a family law attorney practicing in the Larimer County area.
How to Find a Divorce Attorney in Your Area
There are many ways to go about finding the best family law attorney for your divorce. Some options you may want to consider exploring are the following:
- The Colorado Bar Association maintains a listing of attorneys that are admitted to the bar association and eligible to practice law in Colorado. You can search by legal speciality, such as family law, as well as by town. In addition, Larimer County in Northern Colorado also has its own local bar association. You can learn more about their organization and access information about special services such as pro bono and “modest means” representation which they provide to the community.
- Public-interest online legal directories such as LawHelp.org (for low-income individuals), Lawyers.com, LawInfo.com, FindLaw.com, and Avvo.com can provide listings, client reviews, helpful tips, and current legal news.
- Ask for referrals from friends, co-workers, or family members who have recently become divorced or legally separated. Their information and suggestions can help you find a lawyer that aligns with your values and communication needs and avoid those who may not.
- If you’re currently working with an attorney for a non-family law matter, ask them for recommendations. If you have an established relationship with an accountant or financial planner, they may also be able to provide suggestions as well.
Questions to Ask A Lawyer
Once you’ve gathered a few names of family law attorneys, it’s time to start conducting deeper research to make sure they are the best fit for your particular needs. Visit each attorney’s website and social media profiles to learn more about their experience, qualifications, and specializations. If you haven’t done so already, read over the client reviews available through the online legal directories listed above to get opinions about services and fees, punctuality, and their ability to answer questions in a prompt and respectful manner.
Every attorney has a different fee structure and guidelines for preliminary consultations. Some will offer a set amount of time to speak with you at no charge over the telephone about your legal needs. Other attorneys will offer a preliminary in-person office visit for a free or reduced rate. Whether you are talking over the phone or meeting for your preliminary consultation in-person, this is the time to ask key questions to make sure your find the best attorney for your family’s needs. Some of the questions you’ll want to cover include the following:
- What the average cost may be for handling your divorce, legal separation, or annulment?
- Are payment plans available? Is you are lower-income, does the attorney offer negotiable or reduced fees?
- How long has the attorney been practicing and for how long have they been practicing in your county?
- How many cases similar to yours have they handled? Do they consider this area one of their specializations?
- Will they provide references from past clients?
- Will they have primary responsibility for your case or will it be turned over to another attorney in the firm?
How To Prepare for Your First Legal Consultation
During your initial consultation, be sure to bring copies of all of your relevant documentation (family financial information, tax and pay forms, any notices you may have received from the opponent’s attorney or prior legal documents or records) take detailed notes and ask follow-up questions if you need clarification or don’t understand an answer. Remember, in some ways, the initial consultation is like a two-way job interview. You need to ask questions to make sure you are finding the best possible family law attorney for your needs and the attorney needs to make sure that you truly have a legal case and that they have the expertise to handle any extenuating circumstances that may be a part of your divorce (e.g., your spouse lives overseas, you or your children have documented disabilities or medical illness…)
When you take your time to do the necessary research, prepare your information, and ask key questions, you’ll make the best use of your preliminary consultation. If all goes well, you can walk away from the meeting confident in the lawyer’s ability and comfortable with their communication style. These impressions can go a long way in helping you to rest