Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Top divorce lawyers

July 8, 2009  

Divorce attorney

Divorce attorney

What your lawyer expects from you

Your divorce lawyer is hoping you’ll be the ideal client: calm, businesslike, competent, and well prepared. ” Ideal clients can control their emotions; are organized; are willing to work together with me to attain their goals; and are willing to listen to my advice — even if they don’t follow it all the time, ” says Alton Abramowitz, past-president of the AAML (NY) and head of the matrimonial practice at Cooperman, Levitt, Winikoff, Lester & Newman.

Your family lawyer will expect to be paid on-time and in-full. If your financial situation is bad and getting worse, talk to your family attorney immediately; he or she may be able to work out some kind of payment plan that works for you.

If you’re broke because your ex cleaned out the bank account (or did something else equally irresponsible), you should tell your attorney about it right away. He or she can file motions asking the court to grant temporary orders for items such as child or spousal support, custody, control of assets, payment of your divorce attorney’s fees, etc.

Temporary orders are meant to ensure that certain things do or don’t happen; if you suspect your divorce might get nasty, ask your divorce lawyer about filing orders to protect you and/or your kids — financially and physically. If you haven’t paid your bill because you think it’s unfair, speak to your lawyer about it. ” If there is a mistake on the bill, the lawyer will usually be quick to correct it, ” says Lee Goodman, a professional divorce mediator and arbitrator in Northbrook, IL. If you aren’t satisfied after talking to your lawyer, Goodman suggests asking the judge in your case to review the bill. Another possible avenue is your local bar association; find out if they offer mediation or arbitration programs to settle fee disputes. Beverly Pekala is a Chicago-based family-law attorney and the author of Don’t Settle for Less: A Woman’s Guide to Getting a Fair Divorce and Custody Settlement. In her book, she lists five golden rules for being a good client.

Here’s a synopsis:

Rule 1: Everything is not an emergency; your divorce lawyer is not on call 24 hours a day.
Rule 2: Your family lawyer is not a psychologist.
Rule 3: Communicate honestly with your lawyer.
Rule 4: This is not L.A. Law — don’t expect your divorce lawyer to do something just because you saw it on TV.
Rule 5: Your family lawyer didn’t create and can’t change the system.

According to Pekala, ” Failure to follow these rules may result in your lawyer ‘firing’ you. Just as you can discharge your lawyer, your attorney can choose to stop representing you and withdraw from your case. This usually happens if you fail to communicate with your lawyer or consistently fail to follow her advice. It may also occur if you cannot or will not pay your bill. ”
What you should expect from your lawyer

From the day you hire him or her, you and your attorney should have a clear understanding of what you will need and expect from each other. Ask for a written agreement that details the terms and length of your attorney-client relationship. If he or she won’t provide one, find another lawyer. After learning about your case, your lawyer should create a strategy for your divorce. Be aware that this plan may have to change along the way depending on what your ex and his or her attorney does. Your lawyer should clearly explain all your options (again, these may change as your divorce progresses), offer advice regarding the best paths to follow, but respect your wishes if you strongly disagree with a course of action.

If you find yourself in constant disagreement with your lawyer, either you’ve chosen the wrong person to represent you or you’re being unreasonable. Take a close look at your motivations and actions to see if you’re refusing your lawyer’s advice for purely emotional reasons: for instance, you might be very angry with your spouse, and your attorney’s suggestion doesn’t satisfy your desire for vengeance

Recognize that even a good attorney will sometimes have bad news for you: that your spouse won’t budge on an important issue; that you’ll have to give him or her money or other assets; or simply that your expectations are unrealistic, illegal, or not financially feasible. You should expect your attorney to return phone calls reasonably promptly (24 hours is reasonable if he/she’s not on vacation), and to consult you before taking any major actions concerning your divorce. You should also expect to feel frustrated or disappointed from time to time as your divorce progresses. Don’t take it out on your attorney! He or she isn’t a magician and can’t always pull a great solution out of his/her metaphorical hat.
Finally, if you want to ensure that your divorce agreement reflects your goals — and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg — then stay involved with the process, answering your attorney’s requests promptly, honestly, and completely.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...