If there is a situation or shift that will result in changes in your family dynamic, such as adoption, or legal issues arising between you and your spouse, such as a separation, it is best to consult a family lawyer. Family law is a wide field and encompasses legal matters that may arise between families, such as:
Legal matters can be time-consuming and expensive. Having an experienced family lawyer to guide you through your unique situation is ideal to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome. Here are 6 things to consider when hiring a family lawyer:
1. Your goals
Before you consider hiring a family lawyer, it is best to evaluate your situation and understand your goals. Ask yourself:
- Are you just seeking general advice or will you be hiring a lawyer to assist you with a legal proceeding?
- What approach would you prefer to take in your situation? Do you want to handle the case amicably, or does your situation require a family lawyer who will be aggressive?
- How will your approach affect the nature of your relationships in the present and the future for all parties involved?
Be prepared for your initial consultation. Understanding yourself and what you want to achieve will help you find a family lawyer who is aligned with your needs.
2. Family law experience
Family law focuses on legal matters involving the family and can be a very delicate and emotional field of practice. An experienced family lawyer will have a thorough understanding of legal proceedings related to family law and the expertise to present the facts of your case in court if necessary. They should be knowledgeable and keep abreast of judicial adaptations that impact family law so that proper procedural standards are maintained throughout your case. Given the nature of family law, you also want a family lawyer with professionalism and finesse to guide you through the best course of action for your unique situation.
Laws governing family matters vary in each province. It is advantageous to have a lawyer who practices in and has a keen understanding of the laws and precedents in the province in which your matter applies. A family lawyer with experience in your province will also have a complete understanding of the procedures of local courts and an understanding of the prosecutors and judges who may be involved in your case.
When possible, hire a family lawyer that is close to the court where your case will be filed. This will help to reduce travel costs that may be billed to you if the lawyer needs to attend court.
Dealing with legal matters relating to family issues can be sensitive. It is best to find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable communicating all the details of your case. You also want a lawyer who will be forthright about the steps of the case and advocate on your behalf using an approach that fits your personality. If you have the opportunity to meet with multiple lawyers, use your initial consultation to outline your expectations and seek clarification. Evaluate the lawyer’s responsiveness and demeanour, and analyze your comfort level. Be clear on how you would like communications to be handled, the regularity with which you need updates, and the medium of communication (phone or email) that is right for you. Make sure to find out if you will be able to speak directly to your lawyer rather than a third party.
5. Legal fees
In meeting with your lawyer, it is best to know your budget and relay this to your lawyer. Your family lawyer, in turn, should be clear on their legal fees. There should be no ambiguity when presenting their process and any associated fees. Your family lawyer may also be able to tailor their pricing by having less experienced associates work on different aspects of your case to help you stay within budget.
Do your research when looking for a family lawyer. When possible, get recommendations or check with family members and friends about the reputation of a family lawyer you are considering. Look for reviews and testimonials that can provide insight into past client experiences.
Family lawyer in Oakville
Legal matters amongst family members can be complicated and emotionally overwhelming. A skilled lawyer who is aligned with your goals can help guide you through the chaos to a favourable outcome. If you are in Oakville, Ontario and need a family lawyer, contact Carpenter Family Law to request a free consultation.