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Overlooked Details When Hiring a Family Law Attorney
By Sam Vigil

The Attorney

Find a family law attorney who specializes in high conflict custody cases, preferably with knowledge of Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation – when a parent encourages the child to reject the other parent and discourages their relationship.

Verify the attorney you are considering is licensed to practice law, a good track record and reputation. Interested in resolving conflict amiably and not prolonging it with adverse tactics. A good indication is a preference for collaboration law as opposed to litigation.

Collaborative law: Both parties and their attorneys agree to use a binding contract to use cooperative strategies to come to an agreement. When an agreement cannot be reached and it goes to litigation the attorneys agree to withdraw from the case and not assist either party any further.

Judges dislike tactics that promote adversity instead of resolution. and it can hinder your involvement with your children by influencing their ruling. What they want is finality of the case.

Working with Attorney

Be honest with the attorney you hire. This includes divulging what reflects negatively on you. Remember he is not there to judge you, but to represent you to the best of his ability. Failing to fully tell him will hinder him from representing you effectively. When the opposition brings up the negatives he will have to defending you instead of pro-actively retaining your involvement with your children Do not let your pride or shame get in the way of being with your children.

Minor Detail often Overlooked

Ask potential attorneys for their license to practice law in you jurisdiction. I got side swiped overlooking this costly detail.

Anxiously waiting for my attorney while sitting in the gallery the Judge announced my docket number. I had desperately tried to phone him from the lobby earlier when he failed to show up to meet me before the hearing to go over my case.

As I’m standing at the respondent’s table my ex-wife’s attorney state her representing for my ex and her presence for the record. They smirk at me. Feeling vulnerable I tell the Judge that my attorney is not present, but expect that he will be here shortly.

“Do you know why he is late?” He asked.

“I called and left him a message, but have not heard back from him.” I replied.

“Do you know if he is aware that there is a hearing today?”

“Yes, yesterday we made arrangement to meet in the lobby before the hearing.”

My ex’s attorney cut in and asks the Judge to order me to produce contact information for my lawyer and he orders me to do as requested.

I start to panic, my mind whirls with unanswered questions. What is going on? Where the hell is he? What do… ?

At the same time I’m bombarded with unanswerable questions of theirs. Why is he not present? How did you come about obtaining his services?

Before I can my equilibrium back my ex’s attorney addresses the court. “Your Honor, I looked up the respondent’s attorney in the registry at the State Bar Association and found no record of him. I also believe that the respondent hired him knowing that he was not licensed to practice law. Therefore, we ask that he be held in contempt of court and serve time in jail to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Request denied and ordered a continuance.”

Thankfully, the Judge saw through her ploy and recognized that I was swindled.

Hiring this scam artist could have landed me in jail. In addition, cost me money, time, and delayed involvement with my children. If I would have asked for his license to practice law I would have saved myself from this ordeal. Pay attention to the small details.

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