Which Bellevue Law Firm Has the Best Child Custody Attorneys?

December 1, 2022

One of the most challenging things about getting a divorce is determining how to handle child custody. When you’re already struggling to get along with your ex-, or soon-to-be-ex-, spouse, it can make the child custody process seem even more difficult to navigate. Both parents want the best for their children but don’t want to sacrifice precious time with them.

The first step in successfully handling a child custody suit—either during a divorce or after it’s finalized—is to secure an experienced, qualified child custody attorney. But who has the best child custody attorneys? How do you know you’re choosing the right one for you? Let’s look at how to choose the best child custody attorney for your situation.

What Lawyers Handle Child Custody Matters in Bellevue? 

Child custody disputes are best handled by attorneys who are experienced in family law matters. If the situation is more contentious, people need to consider using a family law attorney. Hiring a family lawyer is the way to go because a family lawyer has extensive knowledge of family law and understands how family relationships can affect the outcome of child custody cases.

While choosing the best child custody attorney can seem like a daunting task, there are specialists in the field who are waiting for your call and the opportunity to help you with your child custody case. An experienced child custody or family lawyer can help gather evidence regarding your case and present it to the judge. These lawyers specialize in family law and particularly in child custody cases. They are able to handle custody issues for either married or unmarried parents.

Do You Need A Lawyer for Your Child Custody Case in Bellevue? 

Technically, you don’t have to have an attorney to handle your child custody case. It’s not required by law, but it can be quite helpful. An attorney can help keep you informed of your rights as well as advocate for you and your child. The level of expertise your attorney has can make a big difference in how the case gets resolved in court.

Remember, you’re fighting for your child, so you want to present the best case possible. That means that unless you have legal expertise, you don’t want to go it alone in court. Defending yourself in court isn’t a good idea because it could be risking your child’s future.

Many people attempt to go to court without professional legal representation. Unfortunately, those people tend to end up spending more money. Individuals who choose to represent themselves risk making errors that cost them money and perhaps their children’s custody in the long run.

Three Steps for Narrowing the Field of Attorneys

Someone who has never dealt with child custody issues may feel intimidated by trying to find the best child custody attorney to handle their case. However, the process isn’t as difficult as it might initially seem. There are three simple steps you can take to narrow the field of attorneys and find the attorney you want to hire.

  1. Gather all the names of local child custody attorneys. Ask for personal recommendations from friends that you know have experience dealing with these issues. You can also do an online search for local attorneys or check with your local bar association to get a list of names.
  2. Meet with each attorney that interests you. Give them the pertinent information regarding your child custody case. Treat the meeting like an interview. Learn about the lawyer’s skills, background, and recommended strategy for dealing with your child custody case.
  3. After each meeting, review your notes, then choose the best child custody attorney for your case.

Before your meetings with each attorney, you should prepare yourself by doing some homework. Create a detailed list of questions you want to ask each attorney when you meet with them. This will help you learn as much as possible about the attorney so that you can make an informed choice.

Background Questions to Ask Each Potential Custody Attorney in Bellevue

You want to ask each child custody attorney about their legal education and professional experience. Those questions should include the following:

  • What college and law school did you attend?
  • When did you graduate, and how long have you been practicing law?
  • Are you a member of professional organizations or bar associations? If so, which ones are you a member of?
  • How many child custody cases do you handle each year? An average number will suffice if you don’t have an exact count.
  • Do you handle child custody cases like mine routinely?
  • How often do you use mediation when handling a child custody case?

Legal Philosophy and Style

Other questions you should consider asking the attorneys you interview pertain to their approach to practicing law.

  • What is your philosophy for handling child custody cases; how do you approach child custody cases?
  • How do you typically work with your clients? Do you tell your clients what to do, or do you give them options and have them make a decision?
  • Describe your personality or style as an attorney.

Assessment of Your Child Custody Case

Ask them for their assessment of your child custody case. Here are some relevant questions to ask them.

  • What is your assessment and opinion of my child custody case?
  • What can I expect regarding the kind of resolution I’ll get?
  • What problems do you see that could affect how my case ends?
  • Is a trial necessary?
  • How long should it take to resolve the custody issues I’m having?
  • Do I have options other than going to trials, such as mediation or arbitration?

Case Management

You want to find out how the attorney will manage your child custody case by asking some questions. Here are some questions to ask the attorney regarding your case management.

  • Are you available to help handle my child custody case?
  • Are you going to be in charge of my case personally, or will a different attorney be handling it?
  • Will other attorneys or experts work on my case with you? What will they be doing on the case?
  • How often will you give me progress reports regarding my case? What do you include in your reports?
  • Are you going to personally handle the negotiations and court appearances for my case?
  • Are you the person I will communicate with on a daily basis?
  • How can I best reach you, and how quickly will you respond to my communications?

Legal Fees

These questions should be asked about the costs of your child custody case:

  • What do you usually charge for your services?
  • How often do you send out bills?
  • When will my payments be due?
  • Do I need to pay a retainer fee to use you as my attorney?
  • Are there other fees and expenses that I will be responsible for?
  • What will be the total cost of my child custody case in your estimation?
  • Do you have paralegals or less experienced lawyers who can and are willing to work on my case for a lower cost? (This question is an optional choice if you need to save money, and most people do need to do that.)

How to End Your Interview with the Attorney in Bellevue

Before you leave your interview with your prospective attorney, ask them if there is anything else about their process or procedures you should know. You can also ask if there are other questions you should have asked them. Is there anything you should know that will help you make your decision whether to hire them or not?

Ask for References

When you’ve narrowed your choices to just a few potential candidates, ask for references from other people. The people to ask for references for child custody attorneys include:

  • Friends and family members
  • Court clerks or other staff at the courthouse or in the court offices
  • Other parents—even strangers—who are currently working with that attorney
  • The state bar association
  • Sometimes the courts themselves can give references or referrals regarding attorneys.

How to Investigate the Attorney’s Reputation

There are several ways to check an attorney’s reputation. Those include:

  • The attorney directory in your state: The attorney directory contains information regarding the attorney’s standing with the state bar, the current status of their license, whether their license has ever been suspended, and if so, why. Most states require an attorney to reveal this information to potential clients anyway, and attorneys must have a valid license to practice law in the state. If their license has been suspended in the state, they won’t be allowed to practice law in that state.
  • Ask around town: If you live in a small town or community, the attorney’s reputation will likely be well known within the town. Parents can ask about an attorney with someone else or with multiple people in the town.

Don’t Put Off Consulting with an Experienced Child Custody Attorney in Washington

Choosing the best child custody attorney for your case can seem difficult. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be. Knowing the questions to ask and the actions to take can make all the difference in the world to your custody case.

The attorneys at the Aberdeen Law Firm are available to assist you with your child custody case. Contact the attorneys at the law firm to learn more about how they can help you with your child custody case in Bellevue.

Related Content: What Do Most Judges Look for in Washington Child Custody Cases?

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