Finding the right child custody lawyer can feel like an overwhelming prospect. The end of a marriage is already difficult to navigate. Trying to figure out parenting arrangements only adds twists and bumps to the road.
The ultimate goal is serving the best interests of your child or children. With that in mind, it’s extremely important to find an attorney who can help you determine what is most appropriate for your situation. Here are a few tips for researching and choosing a child custody lawyer in New Hampshire.
Ask for References
Do you have local friends and family, neighbors or coworkers, who have resolved child custody disputes of their own? Ask about their experiences and what they did and did not like about working with their attorney. Sometimes it can be just as helpful to know who people you trust would not work with as it is to know who they would work with. Parents in support groups can also be good sources for attorney referrals.
If you’re looking for more formal recommendations, try the New Hampshire Bar Association, which offers a lawyer referral service. And consider asking any lawyers you might already know. Even if he or she doesn’t practice family law, it’s likely they can give you the name of a good one who does.
Investigate the Attorney's Reputation
Whether you’ve obtained names from references or are searching for New Hampshire child custody lawyers on your own, you should always research an attorney’s reputation.
Note that New Hampshire does not provide an online searchable database of licensed attorneys. You can, however, contact the NHBA to find out if a lawyer is licensed to practice law and is in good standing with the state.
Once you find out the attorney’s standing, look to confirm the intangibles. Every lawyer will claim to be the best in local advertisements—but what’s the word around town? Is he or she not only ethical and sensible, but also compassionate? Those are key assets in this scenario.
Conduct an Interview of the Child Custody Lawyer
Your first meeting with the lawyer who might take your child custody case is an opportunity for an interview. The relationship could last longer than the initial engagement, especially if young children are involved and the case is contested, so you should find out everything you can to feel comfortable before making a decision.
Questions you might want to ask include:
- What percentage of your family law cases go to trial and what percentage are settled out of court?
- How much experience do you have with handling my particular type of case?
- What is your strategy for resolving child custody cases?
- What is your fee structure like? Do you charge an hourly or retainer rate?
- What is your communication style? How will you update me about my case?
You owe it to yourself—and your children—to work with a lawyer who understands the complexities inherent in the child custody process. With these tips and some research, you can find an attorney with the combined knowledge, experience, and skill in litigation to safeguard your rights in and out of court.