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Choosing the Right Family Law Attorney

Mar 24, 2015 | Written by: Diana N. Fredericks, Esq. |

I recently read an article written by the Chair of the NJ State Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee discussing the common difficulties experienced by family law attorneys when dealing with one another. Although the article was written for attorneys, there is a significant message that can be passed along to our clients: professionalism.  

Effective representation should allow for your attorney to work with the opposing attorney in a professional and courteous way. That does not indicate collusion or that the attorneys are in “cahoots”. We always remain advocates for our clients, able to respectfully and appropriately disagree, but with the goal of achieving an amicable resolution for our clients whenever possible. When the attorneys are unable to communicate or behave professionally, the clients suffer. The fees increase exponentially, and it is likely that months or even years of litigation will follow.

As a prospective client, it is imperative that you do your own due diligence when seeking an attorney to assist you during what may be one of the most difficult times of your life. Research your attorney online to see what comments not only prior clients have made, but also peers. Select an attorney who can communicate with others in a professional and effective manner. Ask prospective attorneys how many trials they have had in the past year versus how many matters they have settled. Ask whether they have ever received an award or commendation for professionalism. Inquire about training in alternate dispute resolution; have your prospective attorneys taken training in mediation or collaborative divorce? Are they willing to assist you in exploring alternatives to litigation? To what organizations do they belong and in which ones do they participate?   Do not be afraid or intimidated to ask questions; it is possible you will spend the next year (or longer) discussing the most intimate details of your life with this person and you need to feel confident in your choice.

Diana N. Fredericks, Esq., a partner with Gebhardt & Kiefer, PC, devotes her practice solely to family law matters. In 2015, Ms. Fredericks was named to the NJ Super Lawyers® Rising Stars list for the Family Law practice area. To contact Ms. Fredericks, please call 908-735-5161.