How do I Choose the Best Custody Attorney?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2019
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There are a number of things to take into account when choosing a child custody attorney. It is important to select an attorney who will help achieve an outcome that will be beneficial for the children and satisfactory for the adult parties in a custody dispute. Taking the time to research and meet with several attorneys before making a choice will provide people with a greater array of options.

The first step in selecting a custody attorney is to get a listing of lawyers who have been admitted to practice before the bar, and to narrow that list down to attorneys who specialize in family law or child custody, specifically. It can also be helpful to see if there is a professional organization of custody or family law attorneys that provides listings of local members. Attorneys who belong to professional organizations tend to have higher standards in their practices.


With a list of possibilities, potential clients can call attorneys and make arrangements for consultations. A consultation is a brief meeting, usually free of charge, where attorney and client meet to see if they are a good fit for each other. Parents should come armed with an outline of the situation and a list of questions about child custody and visitation. It is also important to ask the lawyer about experience, the strategy that will be used, how long it should take, and the overall estimated cost of the custody battle. A good custody attorney may also bring up mediation and other alternative dispute resolution options.

If the case has been assigned to court, clients should ask the attorney about experience with the judge the case is assigned to. Attorneys who have worked successfully with a judge before are more likely to achieve a good outcome in a custody case. A custody attorney can also provide a list of references that a potential client can contact to get more information. People may also find it helpful to ask friends and family for recommendations, as they may have experience with custody attorneys.

Taking copious notes during consultations and discussions with references is very helpful. With this information in hand, child custody attorneys can be compared against each other to help a client arrive at a choice. Once a custody attorney has been selected, it may be necessary to pay a retainer fee. This fee should be disclosed during the consultation so that the client is aware of how much he or she will need to start working with the attorney.



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