Top 3 Questions In All Family Law Cases
Before you embark on any life changing event, you most likely want to know a few very important details… How much will it cost? How long will it take? Will I be successful and “win”? These three questions are usually the first considered when being faced with the possibility of a divorce or a chil
How much will this cost?Good question. Some "divorce mills", for lack of a better term, charge a flat fee for their services or accept low deposits to start the case in order to get you in the door to obtain your business. Buyer beware - the expression "you get what you pay for" rings true for hiring an attorney. I am not suggesting you go out and hire the most expensive attorney, because the most expensive doesn't necessarily equate to the best. Do realize that most attorneys who practice family law bill at an hourly rate and not a flat fee. At our office we meet with the client to gain background on the situation prior to quoting a retainer (the deposit requested to begin work on the case). Why? Each case is different. When you are quoted a retainer that figure represents what we estimate it will cost to get started or possibly complete your case.
How long will this take?In Texas you must wait a minimum of 61 days from the date you file your divorce petition until you can finalize. Does it normally happen in 61 days? Almost never. Family law cases such as divorces or custody cases are marathons - not sprints. You get one bite at the apple, make it count. Of course, you do not want to drag it out, and neither do the courts, but you do want to make sure you are thorough. Most amicable divorce cases take about 3-6 months to finalize. Cases involving property or custody disputes? Plan on closer to a year if not longer. Cutting corners for a quick finish can almost guarantee you a seat back in your attorney's office to modify or enforce your divorce or custody agreement in the future.
Will I win? How will this end?There are no "winners" in divorce; however, an honest attorney can advise you of possible outcomes regarding property division and custody. You may not like what your attorney has to say, but better to be well-advised than filled with unrealistic expectations. Be wary of an attorney that promises a result that seems too go to be true, you will be disappointed in the end. With the right attorney, you will not be 100% guaranteed a specific outcome, but you will be provided a realistic outcome for your case based on your attorney's expertise and experience in their field.
You may also ask your attorney, if litigation does become necessary, will the court or judge will rule in your favor? Simple answer, if your attorney could predict the future, he or she would have already picked the winning lottery numbers and be on a beach in Cabo right now. While it is impossible to know exactly how a judge or court will rule, attorneys can make fairly accurate predictions. Meteorologists also can make fairly accurate weather forecasts, but some things you just cannot foresee. A seasoned attorney will be knowledgeable enough to predict a judge's future ruling based on his or her past experience with that judge. When you have worked in the court system for a length of time, you become familiar with each judge's tendencies for how they rule. Attorneys can do their best to provide you their specific insight on how they believe a judge may or may not favor your situation, but there is no guarantee. Judges are human too, they have good days and bad days. The law is the law, but there is room for interpretation.