What Does Divorce Lawyer Mean?
If you haven’t already, probably sometime in your life you’ll need to hire an attorney at law. Thanks to my interview with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, below is a list of responses to very common along with worthwhile questions.
1. QUESTION: How am I able to be sure my attorney is working on my issues?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer accounts for his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a confirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients – up front, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you’re wise to often review the docket and see what activities have transpired by your lawyer and the other party/counsel. You should also feel comfortable getting in contact with your lawyer at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, knowing you will likely be charged for these communications.
2. QUESTION: Do I have to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other jurisdictions 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 lawyer will have a level of comfort with the county courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One matter in retaining legal counsel outside the area wherein the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others give you a reduced rate or maintain a billable rate for all work conducted. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.
3. QUESTION: How do I know if I need a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have already been served with a Summons and similar documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to seek legal assistance without delay. Papers filed in court that begin a lawsuit necessitate responses that involve particular deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a “pre-suit” period that enable you to consider the legal issues and potential resolution before a suit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is recommended.
4. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and resolve all or a number of the concerns involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial amongst the parties and their lawyer, and maintain the confidential aspect of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Typically the parties share the fee of the mediation evenly but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is generally required in every case filed in court and before a trial is held.
5. QUESTION: What type of lawyer do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, lawyers may specialize in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer services in several unique 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 most matters. Some areas of law are extremely technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, as in worker’s compensation. Any attorney should be able to talk about your particular issue, determine if he/she is prepared to take care of such matters or inform you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialized area.
6. QUESTION: How do I select an attorney or lawyer?
ANSWER: Legal topics are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and can be just as perplexing. To protect your rights and remedies, the very best practice would be to research your area of need and research what law firms are around to help you. A referral from somebody you know and admire can bring a personal element to the consideration to hire an attorney but should not be the only reason counsel is selected. Research the lawyer’s background of schooling, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but may also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be contemplated with the exact same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the selection of a medical doctor, accountant, financial specialist or therapist.
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