You Make These Divorce Lawyer Mistakes?

In the event that you have not already, probably sometime in your own life you'll have to retain the services of legal counsel. Thanks to my interview with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, what follows is a listing of responses to frequent along with worthwhile questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I will need a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to find legal advice immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit necessitate responses that involve specific deadlines; skipping those deadlines could compromise your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a "pre-suit" time period that enable you to think about the legal issues and probable resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is advised.

2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney at law in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based upon 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 community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One consideration in retaining an attorney away from area in which the matter takes place is cost of travel time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others give you a lowered rate or preserve a billable rate for all work performed. Clarify that question with each lawyer consulted.

3. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed site with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and solve all or some of the concerns involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the fee of the mediation evenly but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is usually required in just about every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What kind of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, lawyers may specialise in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer services in several precise areas of law. Trial lawyers deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are extremely complex, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, like worker's compensation. Any lawyer can talk about your specific issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or inform you of the need to speak with another in a specialised area.

5. QUESTION: How am I able to be sure my lawyer is resolving my issues?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a confirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients - once a month, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you're wise to routinely review the docket and see what events have taken place by your lawyer and the other party/counsel. You should also feel comfortable contacting your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the issue, understanding you'll likely be charged for these communications.

6. QUESTION: Just how do I select an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal issues are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and can be just as perplexing. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the best practice is to study your area of need and research what legal professionals are out there to help you. A recommendation from somebody you know and admire can add a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but really should not be the sole reason counsel is selected. Look into the attorney's background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be strengthening but can also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be considered with the same level of thought and consideration as that directed at the pick of a medical doctor, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.

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