Working with an attorney can be timely and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many things that a divorce attorney wants a new client to know to help them keep their finances and time spent on a case under control. Here are a few of them:
(1) Be responsive, in a timely manner. Many clients are not as responsive as they should be to their attorney, which can cause delays in the case. Attorneys handle many cases at the same time and, as such, it is best if you respond quickly to their requests. A lot of people who do not want to get divorced will find themselves taking their time getting back to their lawyer, or not responding for weeks at a time. It might seem like a good idea at the time, or it may be a coping mechanism, but it can be very costly. Attorneys need answers quickly in a lot of scenarios, and failing to respond could cause an attorney to set a hearing date when you need to be present on a date that doesn’t work for you, or could cause them to have to obtain a continuance if they don’t have the information they need from you.
(2) Be compliant with requests in a timely manner. Many parties don’t realize that they are their own worst enemy and cause the delays in the case. For example, if you are given discovery to answer within three weeks, answer it within three weeks, completely, and concisely. Be organized and make sure your documents are organized by date and account type. Don’t push it off until the last minute. Don’t email your attorney asking if opposing “really needs” XY and Z. With some exceptions, it is best to comply and send everything to your attorney as quickly as possible. This will keep opposing from having to file motions to enforce discovery, which can be costly.
(3) Tell the truth. This is a mistake a lot of clients make. They believe that telling their attorney the truth about something will make them look bad; or, in many cases, they just don’t tell their attorney about something crucial, all together. You do not want your attorney to find out something that can be damaging to your case for the first time from the opposing attorney or in front of a Judge, when they don’t have the opportunity to talk to you about same. Telling the truth and being up front about potential pitfalls allows your attorney to plan with you accordingly, and then they are not taken by surprise.
Following these few simple guidelines help to mitigate costs as well as time, and ensure that you and your attorney have a great working relationship.