Q. When should I contact an attorney?
A. Act without delay. If you find yourself in a situation wherein you need legal advice, make contacting a skilled, experienced attorney your priority. The sooner you seek legal advice, the easier it will be for your attorney to build a strong case in your favor, whatever the charges or circumstances of your situation. A delay in obtaining legal counsel might lead to some important information being lost or forgotten or for the other party involved in your dispute to build a stronger case against you. Often, you also have to allow some time for your attorney to review the case, file paper work and get the proceedings started.
Q. How much should I say?
A. Be as open and honest with your attorney as you would want your attorney to be with you. Your attorney can only help you insofar as they understand your case. Keeping details and information from your lawyer only makes their job that much more difficult. Your lawyer is there to represent you, and therefore you need to have enough trust in him or her to divulge the details of your situation to the best of your knowledge. Your attorney may ask questions that seem very personal in nature, so remember that their only concern is to ensure you the best outcome possible for your case and it is in your best interests to answer honestly without taking defense.
Q. What is “attorney-client privilege”?
A. This is a concept which entails that certain communications between attorney’s and their clients or potential clients are to be kept confidential. There are just a few exceptions to attorney-client privilege which include that the communication is being made in order to commit a crime, the communication is not solely between the attorney and client, and the client has made the communication public. Even information that is not considered attorney-client privileged should be treated with care and held in a secure environment.
Q. Should I ask questions?
A. Not only should you ask questions, you should be sure you get answers. Your attorney, if skilled and qualified, should expect you to ask questions about his or her background, experience, the cost of proceedings and other aspects of the law. Any lawyer who cannot or will not take the time to answer these questions clearly should not be trusted. Make sure you feel comfortable with your attorney and that they are willing to describe to you what court procedures will be like. You should know exactly what to expect walking into legal proceedings.
Q. What is “collaborative family law”?
A. Collaborative law is a strategy in which lawyers work together to settle various types of family law disputes, most commonly in divorces. In a divorce, both parties have unique needs and wants and the goal of collaborative law is to construct a settlement that will satisfy both you and your former husband/wife. Going to court is in some cases necessary; however, once you are before a judge, your case becomes unpredictable. It may take multiple hearings for the judge to make a decision and the judge decide in a way that does not fulfill your needs. When attorneys and other family law professionals, like mediators, work together to reach an agreement, your desires for the outcome are always kept in mind.