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Hiring a Family Law Attorney
Hiring a family law attorney can be a daunting task. In many situations involving a legal dispute, challenge, or deal, you may not wish to chance the risks of going it alone without the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you out. In fact, while good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help get you out of a number of sticky situations.
Locating a Family Law Attorney
The first thing you should consider when hiring a family law attorney is where you will be filing or responding to a legal action. If you have a case in California you should look for a California family law attorney because they are licensed to practice in the State of California and know the applicable law that may be used in your case. You can further limit a search by hiring a family law attorney located in Sacramento to find a family law attorney who not only practices in this region but who is familiar with the local court rules.
Other Considerations in Hiring a Family Law Attorney
While each person’s legal situation is different, the following are some of the considerations that clients often undertake when hiring a family law attorney:
- The matter is complicated. If you are not a family law you should carefully consider the consequences of representing yourself in certain instances. Even and experienced family law attorney will not typically represent themselves in court. A solid case can quickly unravel without the help of a trained and emotionally detached family law attorney. Similarly, failing to hire a family law attorney at the beginning of an action can result in otherwise avoidable pitfalls.
- Affordability. Not having a family law attorney may actually cost you more. What is at stake? Should you not address all issues in your case, you may end-up hiring a family law attorney who will now charge you to review your case and possibly be required to file amendments to your case. Also, you may be able to claim legal fees in a civil case and actually save yourself some money by hiring a family law attorney.
- Presenting evidence Lawyers know how to challenge (and sometimes suppress) evidence. You may not even know that a key piece of evidence against you was improperly obtained or that the testimony of a witness contradicts an earlier statement.
- Filing court documents. Attorneys understand how to properly file court documents and handle other legal procedures. If you’re not an attorney, you may struggle with the deadlines and protocol for properly filling out and filing certain legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could derail your case, delay a given legal procedure or worse – have the case thrown out altogether (and not in your favor).
- Expert testimony. Because you don’t know any expert witnesses or private detectives, you will have difficulty locating and retaining an expert. Attorneys depend on an extended network of professionals to help their clients’ cases. Most non-attorneys do not personally know the types of professionals who can help with discovery or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party.
- Deciding to file as a petitioner or a respondent. An attorney who understands the law will be best situated to explain your options and can help you avoid potentially severe pitfalls even before you file your action.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is probably better to avoid problems in the first place rather than try to fix them once they arise. If you an attorney, in many instances, it will help you avoid potential legal headaches down the road. Do you really understand the agreement you are you are signing? Do you know how to determined jurisdiction and venue? Do you under California community property laws? An experienced attorney will know all the answers to these questions.
- Settling your case. A good lawyer can strike up a good settlement offer or agreement, if necessary. An experienced lawyer has probably has seen cases similar to yours or at least knows enough to make a calculated guess about how it might be resolved. Sometimes a settlement is the best choice, while other times it makes more sense to see your case through to trial. An attorney also can help negotiate a fair settlement with the opposing party.
- The other party has legal representation. Non-attorneys are generally at a disadvantage when squaring off against opposing counsel or doing business with another party that has legal counsel. As explained above, the law is complicated and an attorney representing your adversary (or even a non-adversarial party entering into a legal agreement with you) will take advantage of this inequity.
- Lawyers often provide a free initial consultation. We will meet with you for free to have a face-to-face consultation – there is really no harm in talking to our attorney. Not only will a free consultation give you an idea of the type of case you have, it will help you decide whether you actually need to hire an attorney.
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