Family Law: Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
Being involved in a family law case can be overwhelming and incredibly emotional. . . but it doesn't have to be.
Keep reading here to get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about family law attorneys including how much you can expect to spend and how to find the best family law attorney for your case.
What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?
The area of family law can be as broad or as narrow as a family law attorney wants. Some attorneys may limit their family law practice to only divorce cases or only custody matters while other lawyers may practice in a wide variety of areas that involve their client's family.
In general, family law attorneys handle a wide variety of issues related to a person's family. This can include issues related to spouses such as divorce or legal separation. It can also include handling matters related to children such as adoption, guardianship and child custody. Some family law attorneys may also handle matters involving their own parents or aging family members such as estate planning, adult guardianship and grandparent visitation rights.
Almost every type of family law case involves quite a bit of paperwork that must be prepared and filed with a family court judge. This is true whether the case is a divorce or an adoption. In addition to preparing the appropriate paperwork, most family law attorneys will appear in court and make arguments on behalf of their client.
How much does hiring a family lawyer cost?
This is usually one of the most frequently asked questions callers ask when considering whether to hire a family lawyer.
Unfortunately…the answer depends on a variety of factors.
First and foremost, the type of family law matter involved will dictate how much the lawyer will charge. For example, if you have a hotly contested custody case you should expect to pay more than if your case involves an uncontested divorce. So as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay more for a contested matter than you would an uncontested matter.
You should also expect to pay more if your case is one that involves multiple court appearances. For example, if you have a divorce case where multiple motions have been filed and your case is going to trial, you should expect to pay more than a case involving a simply prove-up hearing where only one court appearance is required.
In addition, a more experienced family law attorney will charge more than inexperienced lawyers. This is usually because more experienced family law attorneys know how to move cases through the Court system with little delay. A more experienced lawyer can usually reduce errors in paperwork and will know the arguments to make with your family court judge in order to get you the best result and avoid additional costs and delay.
Finally, some lawyers will charge by the hour while others will be by a flat fee. In general, you should expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000 depending on the type of case and the work to be completed by the attorney.
What if I cant afford to hire an attorney for my family law case?
In Nevada, there are no court appointed attorneys for family law matters with the small exception of cases where children have been removed by Child Protective Services. If you have a run of the mill divorce or custody case, the Court will not appoint an attorney for you. You must hire your own lawyer or represent yourself.
If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you have several options.
First the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada offers pro bono lawyers for those individuals who can qualify for a pro bono attorney. The Legal Aid Center sets their own standards for who can get a pro bono lawyer so it is best to contact Legal Aid directly. If you don't qualify for a Legal Aid attorney or a pro bono lawyer, you have the option to complete the paperwork on your own and represent yourself in Court. Almost all of the paperwork for any type of family law case is available through the Clark County Self Help website. You can also get the paperwork by going to the family court at 601 N Pecos Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. The family court also offers the Ask-A-Lawyer program every Thursday. The Ask-A-Lawyer program allows litigants with family court questions to meet with a lawyer for free about 15 minutes to ask questions and get assistance with paperwork. The Ask-A-Lawyer program operates on a first come, first serve basis. For more information about the Ask-A-Lawyer program follow the link here. As a litigant you also have the option of hiring a paralegal to assist with your paperwork. Paralegals are often far less expensive than attorneys. BEWARE: Paralegals cannot offer legal advice! There are no set standard in Nevada for someone to call themselves a paralegal - you should check the qualifications of the paralegal before giving them any money. For more information about hiring a paralegal for your family court case click here.
Another option is to hire an unbundled family law attorney. Unbundled attorneys can represent you for one part or a few parts of your case. For example, you can complete and file all of the paperwork on your own but you want a lawyer to speak for you at your motion hearing. You can hire an unbundled attorney who will appear for you in court and make arguments on your behalf. Usually, unbundled attorneys charge a few hundred dollars to just make a court appearance.
We know that being involved in a family law matter can be overwhelming. Our attorneys have over 20 years of combined experience in family law and over 200 family law trials. If you need help with a family law matter, call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.