Divorce Lawyer Exposed

If you haven't before now, probably sometime in your life you will have to employ a lawyer. Thanks to my consultation with Tampa Lawyer Christina Mesa, what follows is a number of responses to frequent along with imperative questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I need a lawyer?
ANSWER: If you have been served with a Summons and related documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to seek out legal guidance right away. Papers filed in court that commence a lawsuit require responses that involve particular deadlines; missing out on those deadlines could damage your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some concerns by statute involve a "pre-suit" period that enable you to take into account the legal issues and potential resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advised.

2. QUESTION: Do I have to hire an attorney in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many lawyers or attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based on their licensure for the latter. Having experience in the county wherein the matter will be litigated is essential as that attorney will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining a lawyer outside the area wherein the matter occurs is cost of journey time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others give you a decreased rate or preserve a billable rate for all work carried out. Discuss that question with each attorney consulted.

3. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and resolve all or some of the concerns involved. Mediators are to be unrelated to all participants and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential aspect of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the charge of the mediation evenly but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is generally required in every case filed in court and before a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What type of attorney at law do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other industries, lawyers may concentrate in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer you services in several specific areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle divorce cases, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are very technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker's compensation. Any attorney can talk about your particular issue, determine if he or she is qualified to handle such matters or advise you of the need to seek advice from another in a specialized area.

5. QUESTION: How may I be certain my attorney is resolving my problems?
ANSWER: Every good attorney keeps track of his time (fees) and expenses (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a confirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients - monthly, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you're wise to occasionally review the docket and see what activities have transpired by your counsel and the other party/counsel. You should also feel comfortable getting in contact with your attorney at intervals to ascertain the status of the matter, understanding you will likely be charged for these interactions.

6. QUESTION: How do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal issues are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and tend to be just as complicated. To protect your legal rights and remedies, the best practice is to study your area of need and research what lawyers are out there to assist you. A recommendation from someone you know and admire can bring a personal element to the plan to hire an law firm but really should not be the singular reason counsel is selected. Research the attorney's background of schooling, experience and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be strengthening but may also restrict or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be considered with exactly the same level of thought and consideration as that given to the selection of a medical doctor, accountant, financial advisor or therapist.

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