02.29.2024 Newsletters Doerner

How to Find the Best Attorney for a Child Custody Case


Domestic litigation – including divorces, legal separation, and paternity actions – is stressful and painful in many ways. However, a child custody case may be the most anxiety-inducing aspect of ending a relationship.  Both parents’ emotions (as well as extended family who have their own opinions) are running high and the prospect of separation from a child is often literally a parent’s worst nightmare.  Hiring quality attorneys to assist you with your custody case can help ensure that your child has “frequent and continuing” quality contact with a child and both parents. 

Here, we will talk about how to choose an attorney for your child custody case. Read on for some important tips and considerations as you move toward finalizing the terms of your divorce.

Find a Local Family Attorney

The first thing to do is research child custody lawyers that you can learn more about.  Online legal websites like Nolo and FindLaw are great places to start because of their large databases.  Your state website also likely has online resources to assist you.

Make sure that you choose a child custody lawyer that operates in your local area.  Different states have varying laws about custody and child support. Some states allow children to choose where to live at a certain age while others prioritize full or partial custody arrangements.  Additionally, with issues as personal and intricate as child custody, it is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the Court that is handling your case.  Having an attorney who knows the local rules and procedures, as well as having familiarity and a good reputation with opposing counsel and judges’ jurisprudence and idiosyncrasies will not only assist in you achieving your goals but can save you thousands of dollars that are better spent putting towards your family’s future.

In Oklahoma, judges decide custody based on the “best interests” of the child.  This includes the children’s physical, psychological, emotional, and moral well-being.  Oklahoma family law attorneys like those at Doerner know how to build a case to show the Court what custodial placement is best for your child(ren)’s welfare, so make sure to hire someone local.

Consider Professional Experience and Education

Divorce trials require experience and expertise.  You are placing yourself in the best position to obtain a quality custody arrangement by hiring an attorney with experience in domestic litigation.

Check out prospective family lawyers’ credentials.  Ask them how they succeeded in custody cases similar to yours.   Ask them if they have experience in front of your specific judge, or if they have served as a parenting coordinator, domestic law mediation, or guardian ad litem.  This type of experience, in addition to representing parties in custody litigation, gives an attorney perspective from many angles to create the best strategy for your case.   This can help you feel more confident when choosing a lawyer – and very few attorneys will be hesitant to brag about themselves if you ask them about their experience.

Consider Personal Experience?

A taboo question in the domestic family law world is whether an attorney who has raised children of their own is in a better position to strategize and assist a parent with custody litigation.  Though it is certainly true that one does not have to be a parent to be a great attorney, as a client, you may find comfort in knowing that the concerns and ideas you wish to raise regarding your child(ren) are being heard and acted upon by an attorney who has a personal familiarity and connection with similar issues in their own life.

While you should not make your ultimate decision on whom to hire on whether your attorney has ever raised children, inquiring about this of your attorney may provide you with added confidence and allow you to get to know someone whom with you will be working very closely before deciding who to hire.

Think About Communication Styles

You need to be comfortable reaching out to your attorney with any questions about your case.  This means hiring someone who will give you channels to contact them that you feel will be prompt and organized to receive responses.  Child custody cases are stressful and remaining “in the loop” can help alleviate some anxiety.

Our experienced Oklahoma family law attorneys are available to answer any questions you have throughout the litigation process.  Make sure at your consultation that you are hiring an attorney who communicates clearly and transparently.  It may be important to you to set expectations for the frequency and mode of communication.  You should not hesitate to inform a potential attorney of this during the consultation. 

Find a Family Lawyer in Oklahoma

Now that you know how to find top lawyers for child custody disputes, it is time to begin communicating with the best.  Our team is committed to helping recently separated individuals to advocate for their child(ren)’s best interests.  Schedule a consultation with us to discuss the specifics of your case.