What to Expect from a Family Law Attorney


You’re about to go through a divorce.  Or perhaps you’re already divorced but need to make some changes to your court orders (a “post-judgment modification”).  Either way, you’re likely dealing with some very difficult dynamics in your life.  You’re looking for the help of a family law attorney to help you through what can be a confusing court system, and a  difficult time in your life.  What are some of the more important things should you expect from your family law attorney?  Please keep in mind that as family law attorneys in Orange County, California, we write this blog with a focus on California family law.

First of all you should be dealing with a family law attorney who strikes you as credible and capable, someone you are comfortable partnering with.   Not all personalities mesh together.  This journey could very well take longer, and be more difficult, than you think.  Your attorney should be someone with whom you sense a professional connection at all times.  Divorce can be triggered by domestic violence in a relationship, therefore choosing a family law attorney with whom you can feel safe during court proceedings may be something to consider.  Mark Irwin has been a great source of comfort for domestic violence victims because of his past experience as a law enforcement officer.  He understands what safety means, and he can be there with you during court proceedings to help protect you and your interests.

Your family law attorney should be responsive and treat you with the highest of level of customer service and professionalism (something unfortunately some law firms don’t practice).  What that means in practical terms is that you should expect a response to your phone calls (or perhaps emails) within a day or two.  It’s not okay for your family law attorney to disappear “off the radar” for weeks at a time.  Of course if you have an emergency you should get a callback as soon as practical depending on the circumstances.  At the end of the day this is your case, your time, your money, and your life at stake.

You should also expect an itemized invoice at the end of each month.  Most likely you’ve paid an amount of money in advance to be held in trust by your family law attorney, against future billing.  At the end of each month you should receive an invoice explaining what expenses and services you received, and that amount is then transferred out of your attorney’s trust account to pay the law firm.  You should always review your invoice within thirty days so that if you have any questions or concerns you can bring them to your attorney’s attention in a timely manner.

And finally when your case is concluded, or if you happen to choose a new family law attorney along the way, your case file belongs to you and you have every right to be provided a complete set for your records.  Your family law attorney is obligated to provide you with your file upon your demand.  An attorney may never “hold” your file  in demand for payment — even if you owe money.  No exceptions.

Irwin & Irwin Family Law is all about obtaining the best outcome for our clients. Kelly and Mark Irwin are very focused on listening to each case, understanding the dynamics within a relationship, dissecting asset structures to provide a fair split, assessing child custody arrangements, and most importantly fighting for the best outcome for all parties involved with your ultimate happiness in mind.  Life is hard, as is going through a divorce.  If you’re not careful the children are sometimes the biggest casualties, and the last thing you need is added stress and havoc with your family law attorney.  Take the time to interview 2 or  3 family law attorneys, even though you’ll often pay for an initial consult.  It may just give you enough facts and information for you to establish a level of confidence with the right attorney.  Consider  it an investment in yourself and your life.