Want To Step Up Your Divorce Lawyer? You Need To Read This First

In the instance that you have not already, probably sometime in your life you will need to employ a lawyer. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, this is a number of answers to very common and important questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I need a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and associated documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to seek legal advice right away. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit necessitate responses that involve specific deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some issues by statute involve a "pre-suit" period that allow you to think about the legal issues and possible resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.

2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county in which the matter is being litigated is essential as that lawyer will have a comfort level with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing lawyer) and judges. One thing to consider in hiring a lawyer away from area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a lowered rate or maintain a billable rate for all work carried out. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.

3. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed location with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and solve all or a number of the problems involved. Mediators should be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to inspire settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the charge of the mediation evenly but other arrangements might 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 just before a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What kind of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, attorneys may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or provide services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are very technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, such as worker's compensation. Any attorney should be able to talk about your specific issue, determine if he/she is prepared to handle such matters or inform you of the need to consult 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 even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to routinely review the docket and see what events have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel comfortable getting in contact with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the issue, knowing you will likely be billed for these communications.

6. QUESTION: Just how do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal difficulties are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are generally just as complicated. To protect your rights and remedies, the best practice would be to study your area of need and research what lawyers are around to work with you. A referral from someone you know and regard can add a personal element to the consideration to hire an attorney but really should not be the singular reason counsel is chosen. Research the attorney's background of schooling, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but can also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be contemplated with the same degree of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a doctor, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.

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