What You Don't Know About Divorce Lawyers Could Be Costing More Than You Think

Assuming you haven't already, probably sometime in your own life you'll need to retain an attorney. With the help of my interview with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, this is a selection of responses to typical along with worthwhile questions.

1. 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 find legal advice immediately. Papers filed in court that begin a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a "pre-suit" period that allow you to think about the legal issues and possible resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer immediately is recommended.

2. QUESTION: Do I have to hire an attorney at law in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county in which the matter will be litigated is essential as that lawyer will have a level of comfort with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in hiring an attorney away from area wherein the matter occurs is cost of travel time. Some attorneys don't charge for travel, others give you a decreased rate or preserve a billable rate for all work conducted. Discuss that question with each lawyer consulted.

3. QUESTION: What exactly is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the matter present at an agreed area with their counsel (if retained) and a selected 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 lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to encourage settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the cost of the mediation equally but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement ahead 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 type of attorney do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other businesses, attorneys may specialise in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or offer you services in a few unique areas of law. Trial lawyers handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are extremely technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker's compensation. Any attorney can talk about your specific issue, determine if he/she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the need to seek advice from another in a specialized area.

5. QUESTION: How am I able to make sure my attorney is handling my problems?
ANSWER: Every good attorney monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a confirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - once a month, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you are wise to occasionally review the docket and see what events have transpired by your counsel and the other party/counsel. You should also feel at ease getting in touch with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, knowing you will likely be charged for these interactions.

6. QUESTION: How do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal dilemmas are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and can be just as perplexing. To protect your legal rights and remedies, the very best practice is to research your area of need and research what attorneys are out there to work with you. A referral from somebody you know and regard can bring a personal element to the decision to hire an lawyer but should not be the singular reason counsel is chosen. Look into the lawyer's background of schooling, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be urged in this process. Self-help can be empowering but can also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be contemplated with the exact same level of thought and consideration as that given to the pick of a physician, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.

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