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Frequently Asked Questions Important Information About Hiring a San Diego Divorce Attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist
The following are some frequently asked questions related to consulting, hiring and being represented by a Certified Family Law Specialist for a divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding:
- What is a Certified Family Law Specialist?
The State of California has set rigorous standards for knowledge and experience before an attorney can be deemed a “Certified Family Law Specialist.” An attorney is able to refer to himself as a Certified Family Law Specialist because he has demonstrated to the State of California Board of Legal Specialization that he has an advanced understanding of family law and the significant experience in divorce, child custody and other family law proceedings.
As a result, by hiring a Certified Family Law Specialist, you ensure that you are retaining the services of an expert in family law, not an attorney who may simply dabble in the area.
- Do I need a Certified Family Law Specialist?
Ask yourself the following — if you needed surgery, what would be the best option: performing the operation yourself, hiring an inexperienced surgeon or hiring an experienced, board-certified surgeon? The answer in the context of surgery is obvious. But for whatever reason, the answer is not always as obvious to individuals who are involved in a divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding.
Your family law case may touch on every aspect of your life — your income, your property, your children and, if a restraining order is involved, your freedom. Therefore, our firm believes that handling your divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding without a Certified Family Law Specialist can be as risky as performing surgery on yourself.
A Certified Family Law Specialist has the experience and expertise necessary to ensure that you have the information you need to make knowledgeable and informed decisions throughout your divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding and that you will not unknowingly sacrifice any of your rights under California family law.
- Do you offer a free consultation?
Happ Law Group P.C. requires the payment of consultation fee. However, if you ultimately decide to retain Happ Law Group P.C. for your divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding, you will receive a credit on your first invoice in the amount you paid for your consultation.
- Do you offer military discounts?
Yes. Active, reserve and retired members of the military are eligible for a military discount with Happ Law Group P.C. We also provide an equivalent discount for spouses of military members as well as the “other parent” of a child in custody/support case that did not involve a marriage.
- How much will it cost to have a Certified Family Law Specialist represent me?
It depends. The cost of your divorce, child custody or other family law proceeding can depend on many factors, such as:
- How cooperative you and the other parent/spouse are with each other.
- If you and the other parent battle over custody of the children.
- The complexity of determining the actual gross income of each spouse/parent.
- The complexity of characterizing, valuing and dividing the spouses’ community and separate assets and debts.
- The ease in which the other party provides information and documentation through informal disclosure or formal discovery.
- The legal strategy of your spouse’s attorney.
- Is there anything I can do to control the cost of my divorce?
Pursuing a family law matter can be a costly process. While some aspects of cost control are out of the client’s hands, some are within their control. The following are three tips a client can follow to help control the cost of their family law case.
- Tip #1: Decide What is Truly Worth Fighting Over
Clients often come into a family law case with “guns blazing.” As a result of this disposition, the client can often accrue significant attorney fees early on in the process. Sometimes, this early accrual of fees can impede the client’s ability to afford their attorney through the end of the case. Therefore, it is very important that a client look at the big picture early in the process and truly analyze what issues are worth fighting over and what he or she is willing to compromise on. This way, the client is more likely to have the necessary financial resources to maintain representation throughout the entire family law proceeding.
- Tip #2: Telephone and Email Contact Can Add Up
Your attorney will always be available to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and act as a confidant in this trying and emotional time. With that said, you must understand that the time that your attorney spends on the telephone with you or exchanging emails is billable time and will be reflected on your monthly invoice. Therefore, limiting email and telephone contact with your lawyer to issues which benefit your case will help keep the cost of your representation down.
- Tip #3: Provide Complete Responses to Your Attorney’s Questions
Throughout a family law matter, an attorney will send a client emails or a letters requesting certain information or documents. Sometimes, the client will provide an incomplete response. As a result, the attorney must send a follow up email or letter to the client asking for the balance of the information. This follow-up email has now cost the client additional attorney fees. Therefore, it is always advisable that you read your attorney’s emails and letters very carefully and do your best to provide a complete response to each and every aspect of your attorney’s email.
- Tip #1: Decide What is Truly Worth Fighting Over
- My spouse and I have come to an agreement on all issues, do I still need a Certified Family Law Specialist?
Yes. Even when you are in agreement on all terms, hiring a Certified Family Law Specialist to consult with will ensure that all terms agreed upon are properly addressed in the written court order.
If you draft the agreement without the assistance of a Certified Family Law Specialist, you may not recognize or realize potential or unintended pitfalls, which a Certified Family Law Specialist may help you avoid. Therefore, hiring a Certified Family Law Specialist can prevent you from making a costly error, both to yourself and, potentially, to your children.