For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to assume that you, as a reader of this blog, have never hired an attorney, filed a lawsuit or even seen the inside of a courtroom before.
Maybe you’ve seen a TV show about lawyers or your younger brother has gotten a divorce but you never have and therefore have questions about what to expect and how to handle yourself in a divorce case.
This blog post will center around those subjects in an effort to assist you in learning more about the process. Along the way, if you have questions please feel free to reach out to the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and we can schedule a consultation for you and one of our licensed family law attorneys.
When you hire an attorney, you’re hiring more than just someone with a law degree
The face you see on a lawyer’s website or the smiling face at the consultation you had with the attorney is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the people that will be knowledgeable of and will be working on your family law case. As much as you are hiring an attorney to potentially represent you in court and in other legal settings, the day to day work on your case will likely be handled by your attorney’s support staff.
For an attorney’s office, the support staff likely consists of paralegals, legal assistants, law clerks, secretaries and other personnel whose job it is to manage cases and help clients achieve their goals. When you call your attorney it is likely that a support staff member will answer the phone much the same way as when you call your doctor a nurse or other team member will take your call there.
This doesn’t mean that your attorney is not being responsive but likely means that he or she is either meeting with another client, on the phone with an opposing attorney or is representing a client in court.
A benefit of having your attorney’s support staff handling the day to day matters associated with your case means that they are working for you on a reduced rate as compared to your attorney. Family law attorneys typically bill clients by the hour and the amounts that their staff charge varies with experience and position at the firm.
While attorneys bill more than other team members (understandably), the support staff work at lower billable hours. This means that your case will keep moving even when your attorney is busy and you will not be charged as much. That’s a “win-win” in my book.
Fulfilling your responsibilities as a client
It is easy to become too comfortable with the idea that now that you’ve hired an attorney your responsibilities sort of melt away. This could not be further from the truth. Your role in a family law case is to learn as much as possible, to ask questions of your attorney and to direct your attorney on where you want your case to go.
This does not mean that you have to earn your own “unofficial” law degree during your case but your case will be better off with you in charge. After all- this is your case and not your attorney’s. It is his or her responsibility to give you advice, but it is your responsibility to make decisions.
Your attorney should be keeping you up to date with all filings, correspondence sent to opposing counsel and settlement offers made during your case. If he or she is not doing this insist that you be kept in the loop during these sort of matters. If you are receiving updates on your case and something does not make sense to you absolutely ask to have something clarified or explained to you.
If an email doesn’t do the trick ask for a phone call. If the phone call still doesn’t clear something up for you ask to set up a time to come into the office to meet with your attorney face to face. From an attorney’s perspective, if the client is aware of everything going on with a case you are held much more accountable for your actions and work on a case.
Be truthful to your attorney- about everything
If there is one person in the world that you need to be one hundred percent truthful with during your divorce it is your attorney. If you have any information on any subject that is essential to your case provide that information to him or her. Maybe you are a person of few words in most regards.
That’s fine. In your divorce, however, communicate early and often with your attorney to ensure that everyone is on the same page as far as your case is concerned.
It is easy to come forward with information that can be beneficial to your case. If you have text messages, emails, or social media posts that implicate your spouse in an affair or something similar you may feel like skipping on the way to your attorney’s office to drop off the copies of those messages. However, you need to be just as diligent when it comes to handing over information that can hurt you as well.
You may not relish having to divulge negative information about yourself to your attorney but doing so can help you all prepare for its usage in court and can potentially minimize its impact overall.
Part Two of our discussion on the attorney-client relationship to be posted tomorrow
In tomorrow’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan we will go over more tips about your responsibilities as a client and will get into the nature of your relationship to your attorney.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about our office please do not hesitate to contact us. Across southeast Texas, our attorneys have won many victories for our clients with the help of our staff and clients just like you. Contact us today to learn more about our firm and the services that we provide our clients with.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas, Part Three
- Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas
- Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas, Part Two
- Hiring a Divorce or Family Lawyer in Spring, Texas
- Why do divorces cost so much in Texas?
- How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?
- 8 Tips for Reducing the Cost of a Divorce in Texas
- $300 Divorce Cost a Man $100,000 in Texas
- Low cost and affordable divorces, attorneys, websites and divorce Costs in Texas
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- SUCH AN EASY DIVORCE? THAT HUSBAND MAY LOSE HIS HOUSE!
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.