When you get divorced, you need all the friends that you can get.
Your lawyer should be your best friend (legally speaking) during the duration of the divorce proceedings. In most cases, your lawyer will look after your best interests and you need to trust him/her or her to do so. In the odd exception that he or she does not stick to the game plan, you need to correct any deviation from strategy immediately.
Be slow to jump to conclusions regarding what your lawyer as he/she may be doing the right thing even though you suspect otherwise. You need to satisfy these questions before taking any drastic steps regarding your lawyer:
Has your lawyer compromised your rights or blatantly acted against your express instructions?
Has your lawyer failed to prepare your case adequately?
Has your lawyer been less than forthright in communicating with you?
Has your lawyer billed you erroneously, misused your money or lied to you?
Has your lawyer failed to stick to the agreed action plan?
If you can’t answer the above questions in the affirmative, then he or she is probably doing the job properly.
If your lawyer has gone against your express instructions or compromised your rights, you should think about seeking alternative legal counsel.
Your lawyer will be ill prepared if :
- He/she cannot remember the facts of your case
- He/she fails to attend a hearing
- Fails to conduct adequate research
- Fails to construct a well thought out plan of action
- Fails to settle the dispute as quickly and painlessly as possible
- Fails to lodge court documents within the prescribed time frames
- Fails to hire experts that can aid your case
Your lawyer should remain in constant contact with you, making sure that you are kept up to speed with matters pertaining to your case. It’s best if the lawyer sends you communication in writing so that there is no confusion.
Lawyers bill their clients by the hour or part thereof. He or she must be ethical about this as there is lots of margin for lawyers to overbill their clients. Lawyers bill you for everything so be sure to keep your own records. If you suspect any wrongdoing, you should report the lawyer to the appropriate authorities.
Your lawyer works for you and is therefore obliged to stick to the agreed-upon game plan. You should be swift to challenge any deviation in the game plan. Watch out for the following tell-tale signs where your lawyer has deviated from the game plan:
- Failing to act promptly on an issue
- Missing deadlines
When you confront your lawyer he or she should be swift to correct the mistake and move on. If he or she denies your (proven) allegations, you may want to look for another lawyer. Be sure to keep your end of the bargain by:
- Paying your bills on time
- Making clear and concise decisions and being explicit in your communication with your lawyer
- Being forthright with all information related to your case
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.