Why Everybody Is Talking About Divorce Lawyers…The Simple Truth Revealed

In the event that you have not by now, chances are that sometime in your own lifetime you will need to retain legal counsel. With the help of my discussion with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, what follows is a variety of responses to basic and fundamental questions.

1. QUESTION: Do I want 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 on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county in which the matter is being litigated is important as that lawyer will have a level of comfort with the local courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One matter in hiring a lawyer outside the area in which the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some attorneys do not charge for travel, others offer a reduced rate or maintain a billable rate for all work carried out. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.

2. QUESTION: How can I make sure my lawyer is handling my issues?

ANSWER: Every good lawyer monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a statement of how the attorney bills his clients – once a month, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that provide on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to periodically review the docket and see what events have occurred by your attorney and the other party/counsel. In addition feel at ease getting in touch with your lawyer at intervals to determine the status of the issue, knowing you’ll likely be charged for these interactions.

3. QUESTION: How do I pick an attorney at law?

ANSWER: Legal issues are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are often just as complex. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the best practice is to investigate your area of need and research what attorneys are out there to assist you. A referral from someone you know and regard can bring a personal element to the consideration to hire an lawyer but shouldn’t be the singular reason counsel is selected. Research the attorney’s background of training, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but may also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be contemplated with the same degree of thought and consideration as that given to the selection of a medical professional, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.

4. QUESTION: How do I determine if I need a lawyer?

ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and comparable documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should endeavor to look for legal guidance without delay. Documents filed in court that begin a lawsuit require responses that involve particular deadlines; skipping those deadlines could damage your defense, reduce or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a “pre-suit” period of time that allow you to think about the legal issues and potential resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking a lawyer as soon as possible is advised.

5. QUESTION: Precisely what is mediation?

ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the case present at an agreed local with their counsel (if retained) and a chosen mediator to try and solve all or a number of the issues involved. Mediators should be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their counsel, and maintain the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Usually the parties share the cost of the mediation evenly but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is usually required in every case filed in court and just before a trial is held.

6. QUESTION: What type of legal professional do I need?

ANSWER: Again, like other industries, lawyers may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law firms may specialize, provide general legal needs or provide services in several specific areas of law. Trial lawyers handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce cases, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and related matters; general practitioners handle most matters. Some areas of law are very technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, like worker’s compensation. Any attorney can talk about your particular issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or inform you of the necessity to seek advice from another in a specialized area.

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22 April 2019

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