Selecting The Right Family Law Attorney
SELECTING THE RIGHT FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: KEYS TO MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE
Most people are aware that they need a “good” family law attorney when going through the divorce process. Everyone’s set of circumstances vary, meaning that the word “good” changes with the unique set of circumstances. Family law is different than other areas of law because the issues are emotional and deeply personal. The outcome of these issues will also have a long-lasting impact on your relationship with your children, your former spouse, and your financial future. These aspects of a divorce make it important for you to evaluate your preferences and the nature of the divorce that you expect when considering whether a particular divorce attorney is right for you. We have provided some basic considerations that typically factor into choosing the right family law attorney.
CONTESTED VS. UNCONTESTED DIVORCE CASES
One of the first considerations when selecting an appropriate divorce attorney is an honest assessment of what type of divorce you expect to have. If you and your spouse agree on most or all issues, then you will want to look for any attorney who can efficiently handle uncontested divorces in a cost-effective manner. At my law firm, we recognize that the best resolution to a divorce is one that leaves you in the best position possible, which includes minimizing the costs of litigation. If you and your spouse seem to agree on most issues, I can evaluate a possible settlement solution and make you aware of potential traps or mistakes that could cost you money and unnecessary aggravation. Once all issues have been resolved, I can draft the paperwork and guide you through the appropriate court procedures to make sure that the agreement is given effect and that your divorce proceeds as efficiently as possible.
A divorce that will involve contested issues requires a different skill set. If you and your spouse strongly disagree on a parenting plan for your children (i.e., time-share arrangement), you will need a family law attorney who is experienced and comfortable handling potentially high conflict custody cases. While your divorce attorney should try to resolve such issues through artful negotiation to reduce the cost and stress associated with your divorce, sometimes these emotional issues cannot be resolved without litigation. Pennsylvania family law courts use the “best interest of the child” standard to determine custody and visitation orders in a contested divorce. The court has a long list of factors that they will weigh in making this determination. My law office investigates each factor as it applies to your child so that we can provide a realistic assessment of what the court might do and advise you about your range of options.
If you do not have children or agree on custody and visitation issues, you may face serious issues about property/debt division or spousal support. The real question here is the complexity of your marital estate. Certain types of assets will make your divorce more complicated, such as:
- Division of a family business
- Resolving interests in a professional practice (lawyer, doctor)
- Valuing and distributing interests in stock options
- Dividing retirement plans, 401Ks or other deferred compensation plans
- Other intangible or difficult to value assets
Many times these cases require use of a forensic accountant or at the very least, a family law attorney who has extensive experience in evaluation and division of more complex assets. I utilize my experience and experts to help my clients obtain their fair share of the marital assets.
PERSONALITY AND COMPATIBILITY
Family law attorneys vary widely in their personality and demeanor. Some attorneys are extremely aggressive while others prefer to avoid high conflict divorces. Most family law attorneys fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. However, it is important to work with a divorce attorney who makes you comfortable and who you feel is a good fit for how you would like your case to proceed. You may be reasonably confident that your divorce is going to be very contentious because there are already allegations of abuse, domestic violence or substance abuse. In such a situation, you will need a divorce attorney who has lots of experience in litigating more complex and contentious divorces. On the other hand, an attorney who is always looking to “scorch the earth” may create dispute and conflict where there may be room for agreement. A family law attorney who wants to litigate every trivial issue may be not be serving your best interest. The more contentious a litigation is means higher cost. The point is to pick an attorney whose demeanor seems suited for the way you would like your case to proceed.
Compatibility with your attorney also is critical. Pennsylvania divorces that involve highly contested property or child custody issues can last more than a year while even the most efficient divorce last a period of months. The most efficient family law attorneys form a team with their clients, which is based on candid, straightforward communication. If you are comfortable with your attorney, it will promote cooperation and open communication. This communication is essential to obtaining the best possible solutions in your divorce.
EXPERIENCE AND SPECIALIZATION
Unless you have a very straightforward and simple divorce, you should seek out a family law attorney who possesses a lot of experience and who focuses most or all of his or her practice on family law issues. Attorneys who focus their practice on family law are in court resolving divorce issues daily. This experience and focus mean that they are well-versed at providing skilled negotiations, creative family law solutions, and zealous advocacy.
CONTACT LARRY LEFKOWITZ TODAY – YOUR EXPERIENCED & AFFORDABLE PA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY
At the Law Offices of Larry H. Lefkowitz, Attorney Larry H. Lefkowitz has effectively handled hundreds of family law cases from the simplest divorce to very contentious divorces that involve the most sophisticated and complex family law issues. If you are considering filing for divorce or have been served with divorce papers, I invite you to contact me at (215) 750-9202 to arrange a case evaluation.