Are You Embarrassed By Your Divorce Lawyer Skills? Here’s What To Do

Assuming you have not previously, chances are that sometime in your own life you'll need to retain legal counsel. With the help of my interview with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, here is a listing of responses to typical along with important questions.

1. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney 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 wherein the matter is being litigated is important as that lawyer will have a comfort level with the neighborhood courthouse personnel, attorneys (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One matter in hiring a lawyer outside the area in which the matter takes place is cost of travel time. Some lawyers do not charge for travel, others offer a decreased rate or preserve a billable rate for all work conducted. Clarify that question with each attorney consulted.

2. QUESTION: How will I make sure my attorney is working on my case?
ANSWER: Every good lawyer keeps track of his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer agreement should include a affirmation of how the lawyer bills his clients - in advancemonthly, quarterly, etc. You may even keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that offer on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that set up, you're wise to occasionally review the docket and see what changes have occurred by your attorney and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel at ease getting in contact with your lawyer at intervals to determine the status of the issue, knowing you'll likely be billed for these interactions.

3. QUESTION: Exactly how do I select an attorney?
ANSWER: Legal subjects are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and may be just as perplexing. To safeguard your rights and remedies, the best practice is to investigate your area of need and research what attorneys are around to assist you. A referral from somebody you know and regard can bring a personal element to the decision to hire an attorney but shouldn't be the exclusive reason counsel is chosen. Research the lawyer's background of education, practical experience and area(s) of practice. Asking a lot of questions should be encouraged in this process. Self-help could be empowering but may also limit or negate your recovery. Hiring a legal professional should be considered with exactly the same degree of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a medical doctor, accountant, financial expert or therapist.

4. QUESTION: How do I determine if I require a lawyer or attorney?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and similar documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you should really endeavor to find legal guidance without delay. Documents filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; missing those deadlines could damage your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some matters by statute involve a "pre-suit" period of time that enable you to think about the legal issues and possible resolution before a suit 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 issue present at an agreed local with their counsel (if retained) and a selected mediator to try and resolve all or a number of the problems involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to recommend settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the cost of the mediation equally but other arrangements may be made if all parties are in agreement ahead of the conference. Mediation is usually required in just about every case filed in court and before a trial is held.

6. QUESTION: What type of attorney at law do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, attorneys may concentrate in a certain or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, offer general legal needs or offer you services in several unique areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law attorneys handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle nearly all matters. Some areas of law are very technical, like bankruptcy or taxation; some are delineated by statute, like worker's compensation. Any attorney should be able to discuss your specific issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or inform you of the necessity to consult with another in a specialized area.

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