Want To Step Up Your Divorce Lawyer? You Need To Read This First
Assuming you haven’t already, probably sometime in your own life you will want to hire legal counsel. Thanks to my interview with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, below is a selection of responses to frequent as well as important questions.
1. QUESTION: How can I make certain my lawyer is handling my case?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a statement of how the lawyer bills his clients – up front, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you are wise to routinely review the docket and see what changes have taken place by your lawyer and the other party/counsel. In addition feel comfortable getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to learn the status of the issue, knowing you will likely be billed for these communications.
2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney in the county where the case occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is essential as that attorney will have a comfort level with the local courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining a lawyer outside the area in which the matter takes place is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a reduced rate or preserve a billable rate for all work carried out. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I know if I will need a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have been served with a Summons and related documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to seek legal advice now. Papers filed in court that begin a lawsuit call for responses that involve exact deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could compromise your defense, limit or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a “pre-suit” time period that allow you to take into account the legal issues and probable resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer as soon as possible is recommended.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed site with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and resolve all or some of the concerns involved. Mediators should be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and continue maintaining the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share the fee of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is normally required in every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What type of attorney at law do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialize in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer you services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, as in worker’s compensation. Any attorney should be able to go over your particular issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialised area.
6. QUESTION: Just how do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal troubles are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and might be just as complicated. To safeguard your legal rights and remedies, the ideal practice is to investigate your area of need and research what attorneys are accessible to assist you. A referral from somebody you know and admire can add a personal element to the plan to hire an attorney but shouldn’t be the exclusive reason counsel is selected. Research the attorney’s background of schooling, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be urged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but may also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be contemplated with exactly the same level of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a medical doctor, accountant, financial expert or therapist.
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