According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hundreds of thousands of couples go through divorce proceedings each year.
While divorce is hard enough on its own, matters grow even more complicated when children get involved. Sometimes, these complications lead to custody battles.
Keep reading to learn about some key questions you’ll need to ask your child custody lawyer throughout your battle.
1. How Many Cases Have You Handled?
Let’s face it, any lawyer lives and dies by their victory rate. A custody lawyer certainly isn’t any different.
The first thing you should consider when speaking with a lawyer is their level of experience.
Have they handled cases like yours in the past? How did they turn out? Are they confident about taking your case?
This is the life of your child or children, after all. You need the best possible lawyer in your corner.
2. What if the Other Parent Won’t Cooperate?
It’s a nightmare scenario, to be sure, but it does happen from time to time. Whether your child’s parent doesn’t show up to hearings or refuses to honor the terms of your agreement, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with having a lawyer that can handle any curveball.
Ask if they’ve handled difficult situations in the past. And if they have, what you can expect from a worst-case scenario.
3. What Common Pitfalls Should I Avoid?
Divorce is hard for everyone. You likely have some intense feelings of anger or sadness toward your former partner.
However, you must stay level-headed for yourself and your child. Lashing out — physically or verbally — can be of detriment to your case.
At the same time, it’s understandable that it’s easier to dole out this advice than to practice it. That’s why you’ll want to ask your custody lawyer about what, in your specific situation, you can do to keep things civil and reach the best possible outcome for your child.
4. Can I Renegotiate?
Over time, things change. Children grow up and their needs may differ from what your previous arrangement offered.
For example, you wouldn’t expect an 8-year-old child to have the same custody requirements as a 16-year-old child. Though they’re both minors, the 16-year-old will want greater freedoms, the least of which includes the ability to choose which parent they live with.
There may come a time where you and your former spouse need to reexamine your custody agreement. Rest assured, this is a viable option.
However, you’ll want to look at a child custody attorney that has specific experience with renegotiations.
5. What Are Your Billing Practices?
Let’s face it, divorce and custody hearings are expensive, even when they’re civil. And as a single parent, every penny you can save counts.
While money can seem like a taboo subject, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before working with a child custody attorney.
Most attorneys bill through either a contingency fee, where they take a percentage of the financial award once a case is finished or an hourly fee.
Custody attorneys typically charge by the hour, however, it varies from practice to practice and your lawyer may require a flat fee instead.
Finding the Best Child Custody Lawyer
The right child custody lawyer can make all the difference. So follow these tips and find the right lawyer for your family’s needs.
And if you’re still having trouble finding the right questions, check out the other legal content on our blog.