Why Hire a Board-Certified Houston Divorce Lawyer?

This video features Duana Boswell-Loechel, a Family Law attorney based in Texas.

Texas Family Law Attorney Duana Boswell-Loechel Explains

Video Transcript:

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

A board-certified attorney has a lot more knowledge and experience.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So if you're thinking about getting a divorce, what's the most important thing for you to know? We're gonna find out the answer to that question and others right now because that's what we're going to ask the lawyer. Hi again, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com. My guest is Houston Attorney Duana Boswell-Loechel, who is board-certified in Family Law and we'll ask her some more about that here in just a second, but right off the top, I wanna remind you if you wanna ask Duana questions about your situation, it's easy to do, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, "Ask a Lawyer" and it'll walk you right through the very simple process right there, or you can always call the phone number and that's on the screen. Duana, thank you for making some time to answer our questions today. I appreciate it.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

And I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So last count approximately there's 75,000 attorneys in Texas and less than a thousand of them are actually board-certified in Family Law. Tell me a little bit about what that means and why it's important.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

So a board-certified attorney in Texas in Family Law means that we've had a certain number of years of experience before we can even apply to take the board certification test. Family Law, the application for getting permission to even take the test took me about 40 hours to complete 'cause you have to have a lot of trial experience, a lot of mediation experience, some jury trials, some appeals, and once you get permission to take, then you take a day-long test. And it's a process that's very, very stressful, very, very... What's a good word for it? Just very intense, that's a good word... And just a lot of attorneys, since it's not something that's necessary for the practice, don't take that step, but because we are taking that test, we are learning everything about Family Law and we're required to have more hours of continuing legal education as a board-certified attorney, so you're getting an attorney with an experience and knowledge.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So it's not as simple as, "I'll just click a button online to say I'm board-certified." This is a pretty stringent process.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes. It takes about a year for the whole process between starting the application, getting the permission to take it, taking the test and getting the results.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So let's go back to the question I started with. If you had to pick, what's the most important thing if someone's considering divorce or about to start the process, what's the most important thing for them to know as they get started?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

So the most important thing to know is that there is not a winner or loser. It's a situation that's gonna be difficult to go through and you wanna make sure that you have an attorney that you're comfortable with, that will communicate effectively with you and that you just, for lack of better words, click with the personality because you're gonna be working for this person for probably a year or more trying to go through a very, very stressful situation in your life.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And would you say it's important that they be certified in the area that you're looking... We're talking about for divorce and Family Law, that they're board certified. Is that important?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

It's very important. Like I said before, a board-certified attorney has a lot more knowledge and experience and so the chances that they've gone through a case that's similar to the one that somebody's facing is a higher percentage. We're held to a higher standard and so you're gonna get a very, very good representation from a board-certified attorney.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Have you seen situations... I'm sure you have, where people may have gone with an inexperienced attorney maybe thinking they might save some money that way, and how does that usually turn out in your experience?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Usually not well for them. If they have a simple divorce and there's not a lot of property or contention in a divorce, then a board-certified attorney isn't necessary, but if you have a situation where we have an abuse situation or we have complicated property division or contested custody matters, a board-certified attorney is really gonna be beneficial. I had a case where we had an order put in from an abuse situation that basically awarded the house to the wife who was the victim of abuse, the husband had the mortgage in his name and so he was able to really control the mortgage situation on that house, and that's an order that really shouldn't have been put in place. And so somebody with the knowledge would not have allowed that.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So I think that leads to my next question. Have you been in situations where maybe somebody switched from their one attorney to you for their divorce proceedings and where maybe you have to kinda fix things? Have you had experience with having to do that?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes, very often. I had a case where they went to mediation with the attorney before me and she ended up... She thought she agreed to allow the child to stay with the father for a month until that semester of school and the agreement actually turned out that she turned over primary custody to him. And by the time she had come to me, that child had been with dad for quite a while and when we got to the final trial on that, even a longer period of time, but we were able to get the child back with mom and they're doing great.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You've talked about abuse, I would imagine having somebody with experience who's board-certified, it gets even more important when there is child custody involved, no?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes. So there are always several factors that can go into that and having that experience there of going through... We've done a lot of trials with the judges and just getting the idea of what the judges will do in a certain situation helps with the representation and just knowing the case law that's out there and the statutes and the updates on statutes since we have to do more legal education, we stay on top of the changes really well.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What if someone says to you, Duana, that they're not sure they can afford a board-certified attorney? What's your answer to that? What's your advice there?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

That they probably can't afford not to have one in certain situations. But as far as my practice goes, we actually charge flat fees instead of hourly rates, so that helps keep the costs down for them and we offer payment plans to try to help with that situation, some... 'cause I don't think that you should have to be a millionaire to be able to afford good representation and I also find that the flat fees allow the communication to remain open 'cause they're not worried about being charged every time they call or email.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Wow, that's a... And there's no surprises, they know exactly upfront what's gonna be...

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's a great idea. I love that. Lots of really helpful information, Duana. I appreciate you answering our questions, I look forward to us having more conversations in the future. Thank you for helping out.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Oh, you're welcome. And thank you.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Houston Attorney Duana Boswell-Loechel. Don't forget, if you wanna ask any questions of your own to Duana, all you have to do is go to askthelawyers.com. There's a button at the top of the screen that says, "Ask a Lawyer," you can click on that and it'll walk you through the very simple process right there. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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