Just because you have hired an attorney, it does not mean that you can now rest easy. You have a lot of work to do. Your attorney will explain what actions you need to take in order to further your case. These will include (but are not limited to):
Any lawsuit, but a family law case especially, is a joint effort between you and your attorney. By doing your part, you will make the process not only go smoother, but will also increase your success and overall satisfaction with the process.
- Stay in contact with your attorney. This does not require daily check ins, but certainly let the attorney know of any substantial changes or issues that occur. Likewise, review all documentation sent to you by your attorney. We make it a policy of CC'ing our clients on pretty much everything that comes in or goes out of the office. It helps keep the client informed and reduces their legal expenses. If there is a problem or you do not understand a document you receive from your lawyer, ask questions.
- Update your attorney on any changes to your contact information. This includes phone numbers, addresses, and email address. As a corollary to this, if you give your attorney a contact number, address or email, check your mail/messages. I have had several clients give me an email address that we then use to send them information only to discover that the client only checks the account once a week, if that.
- Provide your attorney with all requested documents as soon as possible. Also, when you provide them to your attorney, do it in an organized fashion. I cannot tell you the number of times people have literally brought in garbage bags full of documents which we then have to wade through and organize. This not only wastes time, it will increase your legal expenses.
- Complete all forms and questionaires your attorney asks you to complete. In almost every contested case, you will have to complete some sort of financial disclosure or discovery responses. The quicker you complete them, the quicker the case can be completed. Failure to complete these on time can result in sanctions being levied against you by the court.
- Be in court and be there on time. For more information on how to conduct yourself in court, please see an earlier post on the subject here.
- Be direct in asking questions you may have. When you call or meet with your attorney, have a list of questions and concerns you have. It will ensure that you get the information you want and will be a more efficient use of the time. I love it when clients come in with a list of questions because it makes sure that I am focusing on their concerns.
- Tell your attorney what your thoughts are on settlement and the goals you have as to what the judge will ultimately order. Your attorney can then advise you about whether those goals are realistic or possibly even selling your case short. It also will help your attorney focus on the things that are important to you.
- Remain respectful to all parties involved in the process this includes your spouse, opposing counsel, your attorney and the attorney's staff (I have withdrawn from more than one client's case because the client treated my staff disrespectfully).
- Comply with all temporary court orders. These may be temporary custody order, child support order, or restraining orders of some kind. Nothing gets you on the judges' bad side quicker than disobeying the judge's orders.
- Advise your attorney immediately of any significant developments in your case.
Labels: child custody, debt, divorce, divorce lawyer, ex wife, family law, illinois, kentucky, litigation, paducah, property division, Temporary relief, visitation