Selecting the Right Fathers’ Rights Attorney in Orange County
Many of today’s family law judges began their careers in the 1980s or 1990s. Back then, the tender years doctrine still dominated Florida family law, at least as a practical matter. This informal rule stated that mothers should always have superior custody rights to men. Fathers, according to the tender years doctrine, did not have good parenting skills. Furthermore, most fathers did not have very much interest in parenting.
Laws have changed significantly over the past thirty years. But, at the moment of decision, we often fall back on what we know, and most judges know the tender years doctrine. As a result, it’s important that fathers know their rights, and more importantly, they know how to assert them in court.
Knowledge and Attitude
Choosing the right attorney is definitely the best way to protect your rights. A lawyer can explain your rights to you and also uphold them in court.
To explain your rights as a father, your attorney must be intimately familiar with them. This knowledge does not stop with what the law itself says. Florida appeals courts are constantly interpreting and re-interpreting the law in ways that can help, or hurt, your case. The inquiry does not stop here either. There are a number of unwritten procedural laws in Orange County family law courts. Your lawyer must know them all, and know how to make them work for you.
There is also a right way and wrong way to protect your rights in court. The difference may surprise you.
Many fathers think they need overly-aggressive “bulldog” lawyers. But that’s not the kind of fighter you want in your corner. As mentioned, Florida laws have changed. Today, judges are focused on co-parenting.
After the divorce, mother and father must still work together. If Dad fights everything that Mom tries to do, the judge may assume Dad will continue to be intransigent, inflexible, and mean after the divorce. As a result, the judge may not give the father too much responsibility.
Experience and Accessibility
These are two qualities that all lawyers must have, in divorces, modifications, enforcement actions, or anything else.
Many divorcing dads think they need to pay lots of money for a top litigator. But that’s usually not necessary. Less than 5 percent of civil cases go to trial. Pretrial negotiations resolve most of the rest. So, your lawyer needs to be a good negotiator as well as a good litigator.
Additionally, your lawyer should be accessible, but not overly accessible. The attorney’s office should be near your home or office. Additionally, your attorney should probably have a playroom or something to occupy your kids while you are there. Finally, the lawyer should not take more than a few hours to return calls and emails, even if the response is “I’ll get back to you later.”
At the same time, your lawyer should be busy. If the attorney personally answers the phone, the lawyer may be understaffed. Or, if there is no one else in the waiting room and the lawyer can always see you right away, these things may also be a bad sign.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
A good lawyer is the best way to uphold your legal and financial rights in a divorce case. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Maitland fathers’ rights attorney, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.