What makes a great family lawyer?
A family lawyer obviously is going to do the legal work necessary to move whatever your case is forward in the court system, if it’s a family law matter. What is a family law matter? It’s divorce, it’s child custody, it’s allocation of parental responsibilities if you have a child and you’re not married, it’s prenuptial agreements, and it’s postnuptial agreements. It’s modifying agreements after you’ve finished your case, modifying child support, modifying maintenance, and modifying parenting time. It could be reopening a divorce. You have a 5-year window to reopen a divorce if there’s been fraud. So there’s a number of things that family lawyers do. You can expect that they will do the legal work necessary.
But you should ask yourself “Is there more that you should expect from a family lawyer than just doing the legal paperwork for you?” My personal answer to that is absolutely. I think a family lawyer should be a counselor. That’s why they call us counselor, right? You are a legal counselor. And that includes in my opinion looking 360 degrees at what is really going on in your life and if you have children your children’s lives, and the family situation. A family lawyer should really look at what is in your best interest in the long term, not just are you going to win or lose this issue. How are you going to move forward as a co-parent? What is the best strategy such that you can move forward powerfully as a co-parent? What is the best strategy to have the family, because there still is a family if there are children, you are still a family. You may be a divorced family but you’re still a family. How is that going to work well for you, what support structures are needed?
To me that’s a really good attorney, that’s an attorney that goes the step farther than just doing the legal work for you. And in my world, that should be your expectation.