How to Know When You Need a Family Law Attorney

As you might imagine, having the option to represent yourself in family law matters can come with a lot of pressure. If you’re in a family law matter and unsure whether to hire a private attorney or represent yourself, you’re in the right place. The good news is, there are many ways to know when you need the help of a family law attorney. If you’re unsure about how to proceed, keep reading for some helpful tips on how to know when you need a family law attorney.

Know the Different Types of Family Law Matters

Before we get into how to know when you need a family law attorney, it’s important to understand the different types of family law matters. There are numerous types of family law cases, including:

● Separation agreements between married couples

● Separation agreements between unmarried couples

● Protective orders in cases of domestic violence or stalking

● Child custody agreements

● Child visitation agreements

● Property settlements

● Modification agreements

● Equitable distribution matters”

● Uncontested divorces

● Contested divorces

● Child support matters

Decide Whether You Have the Time to Handle It Yourself

The first step to knowing when you need a family law attorney is to decide whether you have the time to handle it yourself. If you have a limited caseload or don’t have a lot of experience in the family law field, you might consider representing yourself. But, if you’re in this situation, you should know that it’s nearly impossible to know every law applicable to your situation and you could end up making a lot of mistakes. If you’re not sure whether you have the time to handle it yourself, you should definitely consider hiring a family law attorney.

Look Into Hiring a Lawyer

If you decide you do have the time to handle your own family law matter, your first step is to look into hiring a lawyer. This is often a lot simpler said than done because as we’ve addressed, it’s nearly impossible to know every law applicable to your situation. To get a good idea of whether or not you need a lawyer, you should definitely do some research into attorney fees. You can Google different law firms to get an idea of how much it might cost to hire an attorney, and if you end up hiring one, you can also ask them how much they charge per hour. If you can’t afford an attorney, don’t worry! There are many self-represented litigants programs across the country that provide low-cost or no-cost legal advice.

Understand When You Should and Shouldn’t Hire a Lawyer

If you decide to hire a lawyer, you have to understand the difference between when you should and shouldn’t hire one. It’s generally a good idea to hire an attorney if you can afford to do so, if the matter is complicated, or if you are dealing with something that might require a lawyer’s assistance down the road, like a custody matter or financial dispute. However, there are a few instances when you should definitely consider representing yourself in family law matters. If you’re dealing with a “low-contact” family member, like aunts, uncles, or grandparents, you might be able to represent yourself and get the same result. If you’re also dealing with a “low-contact” family member, you should definitely consider hiring a family law attorney instead. A final instance when you should definitely consider hiring a family law attorney is if you have a lot of complicated issues to negotiate, like a property settlement or divorce.

Tips for How to Know When You Need a Family Law Attorney

While there are many ways to know when you need a family law attorney, here are a few tips that might help you get there:

If you are not sure whether you have the time or skills to handle a particular family law matter, it’s probably a good idea to hire an attorney.

If you are dealing with an opportunistic family member (someone who is mostly or entirely uncooperative), a “high-contact” family member (someone who you can easily communicate with), or a family member who has a history of violence or verbal abuse, you should definitely consider hiring a family law attorney.

If you end up needing legal representation, know that you don’t have to hire an attorney that offers “quick” or “low-cost” services. Even if you have a limited budget and can only afford an attorney who charges “cheap” fees, you can still get the representation that is both competent and affordable.

Conclusion

Hiring a family law attorney can be a huge financial burden, so it’s important to be strategic about it. Make sure you understand which type of attorney you need, determine whether or not you have the time to handle your matter yourself, and then look into hiring a lawyer.

Keep in mind, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer here. This decision is all about what’s best for you, your family, and your situation.

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