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Family Law Attorney Free Consultation

Family Law Attorney Free Consultation

Family law attorneys in Utah offer a free initial consultation. This meeting gives you a chance to learn more about the lawyer, his/her skills, and his/her personality. You can also discuss the basic tenets of your case, and the attorney may offer information about your legal options.

Knowing that questions to ask your lawyer during this consultation can make finding the right attorney much easier. These should include:

What kind of experience do you have with similar cases?

You need to know how comfortable the lawyer is with cases like yours. While every case is somewhat different, the attorney will likely find some similarities between your case and a case s/he handled previously.

Related questions may include:

Where did you attend law school?
How long have you been practicing in Utah?
What types of cases do you handle?
How often do you handle cases similar to mine?
Can you tell me about a case you handled similar to mine? What was the result?
Do you have any client testimonials?

What would be your strategy for my case?

Most lawyers do not offer specific legal advice in an initial consultation, but s/he should explain the possible approaches to handling your case. S/he may also offer a general overview of the strategy s/he will follow.

Related questions may include:

What strategies have you used for similar cases in the past?
How long do you think this case could take using this strategy?
What are the pros and cons of this strategy?

Are there any alternatives to going to court?

Especially in personal injury cases, there is often a good chance you can avoid going to court. A lawyer will usually try to negotiate a fair and just settlement with the insurance company before resorting to filing a lawsuit. Even once you file a suit, mediation and arbitration may be possible. Both of these options can help you avoid going to court.

Related questions may include:

What percentage of your cases has settled out of court?
Do you consider yourself an effective negotiator?
Are you comfortable taking this case to trial if you cannot reach a just settlement?
Will you prepare my case for court even if you plan to settle out of court?

What are my possible outcomes?

Some lawyers may only tell you what you want to hear. The right lawyer, however, will give you an honest look at how your case may conclude. No lawyer can give you an exact value of your case or promise that you will reach an out-of-court settlement, but s/he can offer possibilities based on his/her experience.

Related questions may include:

Do you see us running into any major issues?
What are our chances of avoiding a lawsuit?

Who will actually handle my case?

While you may meet with one lawyer, others in the legal office may work on your case. This often includes other attorneys and paralegals. You will want to know who your point of contact is within the office, and the experience of those working on your case.

Related questions may include:

Who should I call with questions about my case?
How often can I expect updates or reports? How will I receive these updates?
Will you represent me in settlement negotiations and/or court?

What is my role in my case?

Attorneys desire different levels of participation from their clients. Your attorney probably will not want you to talk to witnesses or the insurance company without prior approval, but s/he may need you to compile documentation of your injuries and other similar tasks.

Related questions may include:

What do you need from me to build the strongest possible case?
What should I avoid in order to win my claim?

How much will this cost me?

It is never fun to talk about money, but this is the time to do it. Most personal injury lawyers charge based on contingency. This means you pay nothing until you receive your settlement. There may, however, be another fee structure or additional fees you need to pay.

Related questions may include:

What is your fee structure? Contingency? Hourly? Flat fee?
Will there be any additional costs?
Can you give me an estimate of the total cost of my case?

Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Attorney

Family law incorporates a variety of issues, including divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and adoption. Whether you have made a solid decision to make changes in your life, or are seeking information about your options, you need a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Many parents worry about how divorce will affect their children emotionally. Research shows that children make a solid adjustment within about 24 months after the divorce. They also find that children who grow up in an environment where their parents are in constant conflict have more problems overall.

Now is the time to hire a Utah family law attorney. The new year has begun and there are benefits to taking that step forward now.

Eliminate a Toxic Relationship

It is easy to get wrapped up in a toxic relationship. You may not even realize that you are in one. Your relationship is toxic if the parties do not support each other, there is an ongoing conflict, one person tries to undermine the other, and there is competition, conflict, disrespect, emotional abuse, or physical abuse.

One sure sign that you are in this type of relationship if it is constantly draining your energy and you are constantly unhappy. If you find yourself struggling in a situation of this nature, you may want to consult with a family law attorney to learn your legal rights and options.

The divorce rate in the United States is 39%, with the common causes of divorce being:
Problems with money

 Affairs and infidelity, resulting in an irreconcilable marriage
 Sexual problems, including lack of sexual compatibility, including sexless marriages
 Substance abuse
 Emotional or physical abuse

Whatever is the reason for desiring to be out of a relationship, contacting a family attorney will help you take the first step forward into a new, more satisfying life.

Your Ex-Spouse Got a Promotion

You were skimming through social media and saw a post by your ex-spouse about getting a promotion at work. It stands to reason if they got a promotion they will also now have a higher income. If you have minor children this can have an impact on the amount of child support they contribute.

Parents have an obligation to notify the court when they have a change in income. Typically they remember this step when income goes down, but it conveniently slips their mind when income goes up. You can push the matter by filing a petition requesting an increase in child support.

The court will then need to review the wages of both parties and make a recommendation on whether or not an increase in child support or responsibility for medical bills is reasonable. When considering child support the following things are taken into consideration:

 The income and ability to earn of each parent
 Each parent’s level of education and employability
 The costs for child care and education
 The cost of health insurance and health care
 The cost of living

The employability of a parent is their ability to earn. This prevents a parent from taking a low-paying job on a temporary basis in an effort to keep their child support obligation low. For example, if a parent has a dental license, but is earning a low-paying wage in a small factory, that will be taken into consideration. That parent is obviously not earning wages to the best of their ability. This standard applies to both parents.

The above factors are taken into consideration, but the general rule is that if you are providing support for one child it will be 20% of your net income. The percentage then increases by 5% for each child thereafter up to a total of six or more children, at which point support will be at least 40% of your net wages.

Your attorney will be knowledgeable on child support laws and how to make sure the request is properly filed to support your position in requesting the increase.

Parenting Time and Custody Disputes

The holiday parenting time is complete, and problems have arisen. There are several common reasons why one parent may request a change in parenting time or custody, including:

 A parent is moving a substantial distance away or out of state
 Incarceration of a parent
 Endangerment to the child
 Failure to comply with the court order

Children are chatter-boxes and you may learn about inappropriate things happening in your ex-spouse’s home. This can be something minor such as inadequate sleeping arrangements for the children to more serious claims of physical abuse, emotional abuse, substance abuse, or mental illness.

The safety of your child must always be a priority. If you believe your child may be in danger, you do not want to attempt to represent yourself. By consulting with a family law attorney you will know where you stand and what steps you need to take to ensure the claims you are making are factual.

The attorney can advise you on how to proceed in a manner that is in the best interests of the children. Courts do not like to disrupt the living arrangements of minor children unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This change must be significant, material, and can be enduring in nature.

Failure to Comply With Court Order

Family law attorneys are familiar with the trials and tribulations that can result in contempt of the court for failure to follow the court’s orders. This can happen at any time with divorce, custody, or child support matters. While a court order should keep things in line, people frequently try to side-step court orders.

A request for a party to be held in contempt requires the filing of a motion. The motion must contain the provision of the order that you are seeking enforcement of. It must also state how the respondent is not complying with the court order and include a request for relief.

When a person fails to comply with a court order, the court may order them to pay fines. They may enter a new order and sometimes may order incarceration.

If you are dealing with someone who refuses to comply with a court order, you will want to hire a family law attorney who knows how to prepare the motion requesting enforcement and/or the other party be held in contempt.

This can be for numerous reasons, including an ex-spouse who is withholding assets awarded to you in the divorce settlement, or failing to refinance joint assets they receive in the settlement into their name. Other issues of contempt may be parenting time violations, failure to pay support or alimony, or harassment.

How to Prepare for an Attorney Consultation

When you need to hire an attorney for legal services, you want to be sure to hire the right person for your case. Most attorneys offer a free consultation so that you have a chance to determine if he or she is the right person for you. Going to the first meeting with some simple questions can help you ensure you find the right person for the legal help you need. You will not get much legal advice at this consult since it is not meant to resolve your legal question, but is instead an opportunity to determine if you wish to hire this attorney.

Finding the Right Attorney

Before you can have an attorney consultation, you need to find an attorney who might be a good fit. Look for an attorney who focuses his or her practice on your type of legal question, or someone who lists this as a type of law they regularly practice.

Background Knowledge

When you have your lawyer consultation, one of your primary questions will be about the attorney’s background.

Some people feel intimidated asking about this, but the truth is you are going to pay a lot of money for services. You wouldn’t hire an electrician who had never done wiring, so it is wise to ask questions about the attorney’s experience. You can find out basics on the firm’s web site before the appointment, which will save you time. You may want to ask how many of this type of case the attorney has handled. For example, how many divorces has this lawyer done in the past year? A lawyer who has done one or two is not very experienced. You may wish to ask how long the attorney has been practicing law and how long he or she has practiced in the county or state, which will give you an idea how familiar the lawyer is with local judges and procedures. It is generally not very helpful to ask where the attorney went to law school since you can find this information online and it often tells you nothing useful anyhow. Focus instead on experience with your type of case. You can also ask the average verdict the lawyer has obtained in your type of case.

The Legal Plan

An important question to ask a lawyer is what the strategy for your case will be and the outcome the lawyer expects. You’ll want to get details on what kind of procedures to expect. Ask how long it will take for the entire case to be resolved. Discuss the legal strategies that will be used. Find out if your attorney will attempt to settle and if mediation or arbitration are options. Think about the answers and if you are comfortable with them. Maybe you want to avoid a trial at all costs but your attorney really wants to just go to trial, or perhaps you have no intention of settling and want your day in court. It is important that your lawyer’s strategy lines up with your needs.

Working with Your Attorney

Another important component of selecting an attorney is finding out how the firm will handle and manage your case. In large firms, it is common for other attorneys to work on the case, so the people actually doing the work on your case might not be the person you first meet with. Most attorneys have paralegals or legal assistants who handle much of the paperwork and scheduling, so you will want to know who the contact person will be for your case. You should also find out how often you can expect to hear from the lawyer. If you have legal questions, how soon will you hear back if you call or email? How often will the lawyer or firm reach out to you with updates? What do you do if something comes up after hours? What information and material do you need to supply to the attorney to make the case go smoothly?

While you are in the office, look around and get a sense as to whether this is a person or firm you want to work with. Are people friendly? Are they patient with your questions? Do you feel that your case is important to them? If not, you might want to go someplace else.

Money Matters

Another important component of your case is the cost. Legal fees can be complex, so you will want to get details at your initial consultation. If different people will be working on your case (for example, a partner, associate, paralegal, and legal assistant) they all bill at different rates, so find out what those are. Most attorneys ask for a retainer, which is an amount of money up front. They then bill at an hourly rate against that money. You will owe whatever charges are not covered by the retainer. Ask how much of a retainer is required, what the estimated total fee is, how the office will bill you and if there are payment plans or other options available to you. Don’t forget to ask about court fees which are charged in addition to the lawyer’s rates. Find out what you can do to keep your total bill down (for example, providing needed financial documentation in your case will save the paralegal from having to hunt it down, or not calling for an update every three days).

Meeting with a lawyer for an initial consultation is generally not a chance to ask legal questions that are in depth, but is instead an opportunity to get a sense as to whether this lawyer is the right one to handle your case. Use this meeting to help you decide which lawyer will be the best one for your case.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

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