Q:Will I receive documents filed in court from my attorney?
A:Yes- or at least you should. Most attorneys make a point to “CC” their client on each document sent out in their case. This could be a document that is filed into the court filings or even just a settlement offers or proposal to the opposing lawyer. You should ask your attorney what their practice is in this regard. Remember that this is your case. If you want something done in a certain way, be sure to directly address that with your lawyer. He or she will do their best to accommodate you and your request as much as possible.
Q:When is a court document a full-fledged order?
A:When a document titled as an “Order” is signed by the Judge it is then a court order. This means that there are consequences and penalties associated with the violation of any order contained in the document. Temporary Orders are typically in place for any divorce or child custody case while the case is ongoing. Final Orders come into play at the end of your case and will go into effect for the period after your family case has come to an end. Bear in mind that unless the document has the judge’s signature on it, the order is not really an order at all.
Q:How much information do I need to share with my lawyer?
A:The worst thing in the world (at least in the legal world) is to catch your lawyer by surprise. Think back to when you were a kid- your mom or dad probably told you that they couldn’t help you unless you told them what was wrong. The same rule applies to your case. If you cannot or will not be honest about your circumstances with your lawyer, then he or she can’t help you. In fact, hiding information that may not be favorable to you can damage your case considerably. When selecting an attorney, try and think about what lawyer you would be most comfortable with sharing information.
Q:Can my lawyer settle my case with my permission?
A:No. Your attorney has a duty to submit to you any settlement offers made by the opposing side. Even if the offer is unacceptable or unwelcome. You have a right to review each settlement offer and counteroffer. From there, only you may accept an offer to settle your case. The attorney representing you can provide information, guidance and counsel but cannot accept a settlement offer. Their role is to perform the legal work of a case which does not include accepting settlement offers without prior authorization from you.
Q:What happens if the other attorney asks to postpone a hearing or mediation?
A:Professional courtesy guides your lawyer in matters related to rescheduling or postponing hearings or mediation sessions. Especially if this is the first time for a postponement, you should allow for these types of events to be rescheduled. Your attorney will work with this attorney down the road and attorneys typically extend professional courtesies to one another. However, if the other side is habitually asking for postponements, then that is another matter altogether and should be handled on a case-by-case basis.