Monday, June 04, 2007

Five Tips on Working Successfully with Your Divorce Attorney

Divorce lawyers are expensive. You need to be proactive and know what is going on with your case at all times. Do not be afraid to ask your attorney questions. Too often we will sit back and assume that our attorney will do what's right and we put trust in someone who may or may not have our best interests at heart. There are reputable divorce lawyers out there, but you first need to weed out the money hungry ones who will take your retainer, file useless paperwork and drain your bank account before you even get a court date. Do not pick your attorney in haste. Go to your local family court and find out which divorce attorney has the best reputation in town and hire him or her.

Once you have hired your new divorce attorney, here are some simple rules to follow:

1. Beware of an attorney who takes a smaller retainer but does not file motions. Some spouses wait for months on end to get court orders for spousal and child support because their attorneys did not file the necessary motions.

2. Remember that when you speak to your attorney on the phone you are being charged per minute. Don’t make the mistake of chatting on and on. Get to the point and use a timer. If it is a routine question, such as the date of a hearing, speak with the support staff rather than the attorney. Time for support staff is often not billed, and if it is the fee is at a much lower rate than an attorney.

3. Follow your attorney’s advice to the letter. These people go to law school; they should know what they are doing. Making stupid mistakes, like calling your spouse repeatedly, picking fights, and not protecting yourself, can lead to bills, violence, and restraining orders. You should limit all contact with your spouse. Only discuss your children and any business you may have together. Let the lawyers do the talking for you whenever possible. That’s what they are paid for.

4. Follow the law. The most important thing you can have is self-control. There will be times when you want to act out, call your spouse names, or be vengeful. These actions can only land you in hot water. Taking your spouse’s credit card on a shopping spree can give you legal troubles you simply do not need.

5. You have hired an attorney to protect you legally. That attorney is also a huge expense and you want to keep track of what you are being charged. Keep a log of every meeting, phone call, and their durations. Also it is a good idea to record in a journal any incidents with your spouse, so that it will be easier to recall the details in court later on.

Most of all, know that although this is one of the most painful times of your life, you will survive. Finding the right attorney will give you confidence in your case. Your attorney is working for you and together you can plan for and obtain the best possible outcome.

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