Why Have A Divorce Lawyer?

Assuming you haven't previously, probably sometime in a lifetime you will have to hire legal counsel. Thanks to my consultation with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, what follows is a selection of answers to popular along with worthwhile questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I will need a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and associated documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to find legal assistance immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; missing those deadlines could damage your defense, limit or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a "pre-suit" time period that enable you to take into account the legal issues and possible resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer immediately is advised.

2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney at law in the county where the problem occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based upon on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county wherein the matter is being litigated is important as that attorney will have a level of comfort with the local courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining legal counsel away from area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a decreased rate or preserve a billable rate for all work performed. Discuss that question with each lawyer consulted.

3. QUESTION: Exactly what is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a process whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and solve all or a number of the issues involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to remain impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the fee of the mediation evenly but other arrangements can be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is typically required in every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What kind of attorney at law do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other industries, lawyers may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer services in a few unique areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle divorce cases, 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 should be able to go over your particular issue, determine if he/she is qualified to handle such matters or inform you of the need to consult with another in a specialised area.

5. QUESTION: How can I be certain my attorney is handling my problems?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a affirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients - monthly, quarterly, etc. You may even track your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line accessibility to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you're wise to periodically review the docket and see what activities have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel at ease getting in touch with your attorney at intervals to learn the status of the issue, knowing you will likely be charged for these communications.

6. QUESTION: Precisely how do I select an attorney at law?
ANSWER: Legal subjects are as vast as those in other sectors, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are generally just as perplexing. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the ideal practice is to study your area of need and research what attorneys are available to work with you. A referral from someone you know and respect can bring a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but shouldn't be the exclusive reason counsel is picked. Research the lawyer's background of training, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be urged in this process. Self-help could be strengthening but can also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a lawyer should be considered with the same level of thought and consideration as that given to the choice of a doctor, accountant, financial expert or therapist.

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