You Make These Divorce Lawyer Mistakes?
In the instance that you have not by now, chances are that sometime in a lifetime you will have to employ a lawyer. Thanks to my discussion with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, here’s a variety of answers to frequent as well as worthwhile questions.
1. QUESTION: Do I want to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other jurisdictions and other states, depending on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county in which the matter is being litigated is crucial as that lawyer will have a level of comfort with the community courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One matter in retaining an attorney outside the area wherein the matter takes place is cost of travel time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others give you a decreased rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.
2. QUESTION: How can I be certain my lawyer is handling my case?
ANSWER: Every good attorney accounts for his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer contract should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients – once a month, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that available, you are wise to periodically review the docket and see what activities have occurred by your counsel and the other party/counsel. Also feel at ease getting in touch with your attorney at intervals to learn the status of the matter, knowing you’ll likely be charged for these communications.
3. QUESTION: Precisely how do I select an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal matters are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and tend to be just as complicated. To protect your rights and remedies, the very best practice is to research your area of need and research what legal professionals are out there to work with you. A recommendation from somebody you know and respect can add a personal element to the plan to hire an attorney but should not be the only reason counsel is picked. Research the attorney’s background of training, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be urged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but can also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be considered with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a medical professional, accountant, financial specialist or therapist.
4. QUESTION: How do I know if I require a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have already been served with a Summons and related documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to seek out legal advice immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve particular deadlines; missing those deadlines could damage your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a “pre-suit” period that allow you to consider the legal issues and potential resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.
5. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and solve all or a number of the issues involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential nature of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share the charge of the mediation evenly but other arrangements can be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is typically required in just about every case filed in court and before a trial is held.
6. QUESTION: What kind of attorney do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, lawyers may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce cases, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are extremely specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, such as worker’s compensation. Any lawyer should be able to go over your particular issue, determine if he or she is qualified to handle such matters or advise you of the need to consult with another in a specialised area.
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