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What To Expect From Divorce Lawyers?

If you haven't by now, probably sometime in your life you will want to retain the services of an attorney at law. With the help of my interview with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, here is a number of answers to common and important questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I need a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have recently been served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to look for legal guidance right away. Papers filed in court that commence a lawsuit call for responses that involve specific deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a "pre-suit" time period that enable you to think about the legal issues and potential resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer at the earliest opportunity is recommended.

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 experience in the county in which 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 hiring an attorney outside the area wherein the matter occurs is cost of travel time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others offer a reduced rate or preserve a billable rate for all work carried out. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.

3. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a decided on mediator to try and solve all or some of the problems involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and maintain the confidential nature of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the cost of the mediation evenly but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is normally required in every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What type of law firm do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in a few precise areas of law. Trial attorneys deal with cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce cases, 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; others are delineated by statute, as in worker's compensation. Any lawyer should be able to talk about your particular issue, determine if he/she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the necessity to consult with another in a specialised area.

5. QUESTION: How am I able to make sure my attorney is handling my problems?
ANSWER: Every good attorney keeps track of his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - month-to-month, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to periodically review the docket and see what activities have transpired by your counsel and the other party/counsel. You should also feel at ease contacting your attorney at intervals to determine the status of the matter, understanding you'll likely be billed for these interactions.

6. QUESTION: Exactly how do I select an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal concerns are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and can be just as complex. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the ideal practice would be to investigate your area of need and research what attorneys are out there to work with you. A referral from somebody you know and admire can add a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but should not be the singular reason counsel is selected. Look into the lawyer's background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but can also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be contemplated with the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the selection of a physician, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.

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