Divorce is never easy but having a good relationship with your divorce attorney can make it a lot easier. To that end, it’s important to know there are things you can do the help your divorce attorney represent you starting with communication. Create and maintain good communication with your attorney to ensure that you know what is happening in your case and that your thoughts and concerns are being heard. But good communication is a two-way street, so be sure that you are listening to your attorney’s thoughts, concerns, and most importantly their advice. After all, that’s what you hired them for.
Creating a strong working relationship with your lawyer is important to optimize the outcome of your case. To ensure you are being effectively represented, here are some additional tips on how to help your divorce lawyer represent you best.
Tip #1: Don’t Lie or Hide Information from Your Lawyer
It never benefits your case to omit or manipulate the circumstances in your case to your attorney. If anyone needs to know the truth about your case, it’s your lawyer. To best represent you, your lawyer needs to know the facts of your case–even when they are less than flattering. Once your lawyer knows this information, they can figure out how to address those issues with the other side, the judge, and others involved in your case. But if you don’t tell your attorney, they are likely to be blindsided in court, which will ultimately reflect badly on you. Lying in court, or in legal pleadings, could even subject you to sanctions, being found in contempt, or having your lawyer withdraw. Please don’t do it. Trust that your attorney has the experience and know-how to manage your case and deal with the negatives as part of their representation.
Tip #2: Help Your Divorce Lawyer With Effective Communication
One of the most critical aspects of legal representation is the ability of the attorney and client to communicate effectively. To do that, you need to be responsive to your attorney’s requests for information, documents, and the like. As email is the most popular form, and fastest form of communication, be sure that you are regularly checking your email account for queries or requests from your attorney. One of the biggest wastes of time, and money, is repeated requests for information and documents. Be responsive and timely—don’t make your attorney hound you for information. Know that your attorney can’t effectively represent you if they can’t communicate with you. And you should expect the same from your attorney—when you write them to ask a question, or request information, you are entitled to a timely response. One of the most frequent complaints that I hear from clients who have changed law firms is that their attorneys never responded to their emails, never returned their calls, and never answered their questions. Don’t let this happen to you—you are paying for a service, and you are entitled to be kept informed and have your questions answered promptly.
Tip #3: Don’t Let Your Emotions Control Your Case
Family law is one of, if not the, most personal and emotional areas of the law. Everyone working in this field knows that, and as professionals, we often try to use our expertise and knowledge to help you and your family resolve the issues in your case. At the same time, we also know that however heartbreaking your case is, that judges cannot make decisions based on emotions. Judges have to follow the law, which means your attorney and you do, too. Don’t expect your lawyer to adopt your feelings or attitudes as part of their representation—it’s unprofessional and ineffective. Understand that sometimes your emotions can blind you from possible negative outcomes in your case, and your lawyer’s efforts to guide you through and past those emotions are part of their representation to get you the best outcome.
Tip #4: Listen to Your Divorce Lawyer’s Advice
Remember, you hired your divorce attorney because they are an expert in domestic relations laws and practices. Your attorney has years of education and experience that have shaped and guided their advice to you. Your attorney has most likely handled several cases with facts similar to yours, which gives them strong insight into the likely outcome of your case. Even if you’ve been involved in the legal system for a long time, don’t assume that you know the law better than your attorney. It’s critical that you be able to trust that your attorney has your best interests at heart when giving you advice in your case.
Tip #5: Let Your Attorney Help You Set Realistic Goals
A common adage among attorneys is that you know you’ve negotiated a good settlement when no one walks away happy. While some people can say that they walked away from their family law case happy, most feel that they had to compromise at least one of their goals. However, it’s important to know that compromise is not something to feel bad about in family law—it is one of the cornerstones of family life. Being stubborn and inflexible will not be looked at kindly, and it can result in a major loss if the judge doesn’t agree with your position. Many people come to their family law case with unrealistic expectations and attitudes. They need an attorney’s advice on what is reasonable to ask for, and to expect, in the outcome of their case. While your position may feel right and just to you, it may not be how the law interprets the issue. Your attorney knows how the law will handle the issues in your case and can help guide you to set realistic, and attainable, goals that will help you resolve your case and move on with the rest of your life.
Contact the Chicago Family Law Attorneys at Anderson & Boback
Facing a divorce of family law issue? The experienced attorneys at Anderson & Boback know how to advise and guide you through the complicated world of family law today. Contact us today to set up a consultation.