[S]o you’ve been served papers, your divorce is not salvageable, you made an absolute calculated decision that you would be the better parent, and you need to fight for custody. It’s time to hire a good attorney. So how do you find a good attorney?

Sadly most people ask friends or co-workers, or play Russian roulette with search engines or heaven forbid, the yellow pages and pick the first attorney that answers the phone. This is not necessarily the best way to collect options when hiring an attorney. You need to treat your attorney search process with the same life or death perspective you would have if selecting a brain surgeon. Most insurances and terminal patients get second opinions and seek out the best-of-the-best before agreeing to go under the knife. You need to do the same. This is rocket science because your decision will affect your relationship with your kids and their future. DO spend some time on this decision and choose wisely. I’ll link each of these tips into future posts so that we can examine the details of each.

1. Listen for Good Attorneys in Court. There is no better place to judge an attorney than by watching them work. Yet so few parents take time to see their future attorneys in action before it counts. Is this attorney well known? Could I work with this person? Are they really good at helping their clients? Seeing is believing, so take time and observe them before hiring them.

2. Ask a Divorce Group or Organization to Recommend a Child Custody Attorney. I ask dads, “Have you joined the local father’s group? Met freely with an attorney at a Father’s for Equal Rights meeting?” Right under your nose are organizations that help divorced moms or single parent dads. Go to these organizations and ask someone who has lived through the process if they would recommend their attorney.

3. 10 Questions You Should Ask a Child Custody Attorney. Don’t just run to the phone in a panic. Grab a notepad and get organized. Prepare at least 10 brief questions you would ask a potential attorney. What are your hourly fees? What would you estimate this going to cost? How many cases similar to mine have you won? What advice would you give me in this particular situation? What do I need to do to prepare for this case?

4. Vet, Interview & Meet Potential Child Custody Attorneys. You’ve gathered your list of 5-10 potential recommended attorneys. It’s time to take your prepared list of questions, understand your needs and budget, and go interview your potential lawyer. You cannot narrow the process until you have met and compared a few. You are looking for someone you feel you can clearly communicate with and who can represent your wants well. Before leaving, ask for some references of clients they have represented with cases similar to yours.

5. Call & Check References on Local Child Custody Attorneys. You have finally narrowed it down to two attorneys you really like. It’s time to look at their online reviews and make some reference calls. Use your list of their clients and really ask them the hard questions. You are the HR director for the final selection, do the background reference work.

6. Consider a Daddy Got Custody Recommended Attorney. I’ve been asked so many times if I could recommend a good attorney that I have decided to start vetting and finding attorneys for you. Go and check and see if there is one in your area. If not, send me a personal note and I’ll help in your search.

Finding an attorney can be time consuming. However, finding the right one that you feel comfortable working with and talking to is paramount to winning your case. If you are serious about trying to fight for custody, then you need to be serious about finding the right attorney.

What tips would you give for hiring a lawyer?

Fred Campos is father to three and primary custodian to his daughter Caitlyn from a previous relationship. Image courtesy of SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.