The fact of the matter is that even though no two fact patterns are the same and of course, some situations are unique, a truly experienced family law attorney is going to have a good knowledge of the law and its different parts and how best family law works. So even if the family attorney being considered has not handled a case before that is “exactly” like the one you have, they will most likely have handled one that is similar in some sense and will be able to develop a solid plan to take it best forward.
You want to understand upfront just what the retainers are going to be, both billable and non-refundable. You want to know what the hourly rates are. You should grasp exactly what these rates cover and a close approximation of what the final cost is going to be. Of course, there are those not overly concerned with the cost of legal fees, but the truth of the matter is that everyone does have a limit to expenses! And you should also know whether you are going to be receiving a general bill or a detailed bill explaining the time spent working on the matter/ telephone fees/ LexisNexis fees/ mileage/ copies and any other costs. You should also know whether you will be billed for specific time invested or if they have a “minimum time increment,” a term told to us by laughlinlaw.ca/ can be a real sticking point. The point here is that you will want to understand precisely what it is you will be paying for!
There are those times that the case will be pretty much a straight forward one, things like a consent order for child custody and support that is an amicable one. Then, of course, there are those other cases such as equitable distribution for example, which might depend on the marital property amount and also be driven by local rules and might take anywhere from 4 months to 2 years to be resolved.
Also, your personal goal of achievement in a case might be a realistic one or not so. A good example of this to consider is something like custody. The majority of judges- absent any serious alcohol, drug, large distances between the homes, etc.- are not likely to place an order for SOLE custody. They will more likely present an offer of shared custody, which will not necessarily be 50/50 but will just not be 100% to 0%. The final ruling will, however, be judge and case-specific, so if you have a good idea of what outcomes are possible, you can better determine if the law firm under consideration agrees with you are both goals wise and financially thinking!
Unless in advance you have completely agreed on everything, family law reality is that there are going to be some compromises to be made. And keep in mind also that if you are appearing before a judge, that judge will be making those compromises for you. Of course, there ARE those certain cases where one side has a truly realistic approach and may get all that they are asking for. This occurs in instances where the other side has perhaps “misbehaved” or possibly not even showed up. Just be wary at all times because if things sound too good to be true, they probably are.
Always keep in mind that it is ADVICE that you are paying for and not “specific answers.” Your attorney is not in control of what the judge or the other attorney does. They are, however, in control of offering you the best guidance that can lead you to achieve those goals you are seeking.
Are you the attorney handling my matter, or will it be someone else in your office? Do you prefer receiving phone calls or emails? What is an average time lapse on my receiving communication from you on a matter? When I need to reach you, who should I contact to get the job done? And do receive my emails and messages directly, or do they go through someone else first?
Some problems are going to exist in almost EVERY case. This is why you should be concerned a bit if your attorney does not acknowledge this possibility in your first meeting with them. Of course, you should also understand that problems can indeed be efficiently dealt with, and many are not serious ones at all. An example of this is an uncontested divorce, which is a case as simple as it can be. The important thing to keep in mind is that if your side is handled properly, it greatly helps in reducing the size of any possible issues to be faced.
We truly hope that what we have shared here with you will be of value in your seeking out a family lawyer and just what questions you want to pose to them. The good news in Piedmont Triad and the counties surrounding it is that you have a good listing of outstanding family law attorneys to select from. Take the time to get that one who will work with you closely and who truly understands your goals and your limitations.
Possibly one of the more lengthy unpleasant and drawn out processes in life is a divorce. As a legal proceeding that is based on personal discontent and grievance rather than damaged property, there tends to be tension and unhappiness through every step of the process. There is a chance to make mistakes, and splitting everything up brings additional difficulties.
Hire a divorce lawyer who can help sort through the financial and practical aspects of cutting the knot. There may be additional fighting over individual pieces of furniture and rights, and a professional can help a former couple find an equitable solution. Below are ten valuable tips about what to avoid during a divorce proceeding.
A couple will rarely get a divorce over the tension of discovering that the lady is pregnant, but a couple that is splitting for practical reasons needs to avoid any possibility of pregnancy during the divorce process. This means the former couple must avoid sex and intercourse with a new partner during the process is a bad idea.
Many states still penalize women who get pregnant close to divorce. In Washington State, a known law stipulates that a child born up to 300 days s after a divorce is presumed to be the child of the former husband. This might not be the case, but it is presumed to be until forensic tests prove otherwise. A judge can delay or refuse a divorce if an unborn child is involved, and additional expenses such as genetic testing and new litigation might be incurred.
Most will leave property and privileges to spouses. If a person gets divorced, then the former spouse might still be legally entitled to the property stated in the document. The only way to change these privileges is to change a will. This is relatively easy to do, but if forgotten, then the former husband might still be entitled to part of the estate according to the unaltered will. This will create a problem for surviving children and formerly entitled parties.
A collaborative divorce simply means that the person seeking divorce receives help from more specialists than just a divorce law attorney. Divorce coaches and therapists are part of the team to help deal with stress and provide good advice. The additional expert advice can be expensive, but many parts of the United States recognize their effectiveness. Having more than one expert could possibly create an advantage in getting the best results from a case.
Mediation is a process entirely different from a courtroom. The divorce is worked out with a professional called a divorce mediator who is like an arbiter in order to make a fair decision. Mediation helps to fill out the divorce papers but also provides advice and assistance throughout the process. Since the results are legal, it does not hurt to consult a lawyer even though mediation is often chosen to avoid courtroom expenses.
A person who is breaking up might want someone else to fill the emotional vacuum. It might be tempting to attach to the defense attorney since they are so smart and helpful. Having sex with a lawyer during a legal proceeding is generally frowned upon and is often illegal. Since divorce rulings are partially subjective, it is a good idea not to give the judge a reason to frown.
Perhaps the biggest victims of divorce are children. Kids need a lot of emotional support because they are not usually involved in making the decision, but they receive the repercussions. They need a safe space while all this is happening.
Children should be left out of the drama. They can be a major focal point for the legal proceeding, but they have their own opinions and needs. They should not be tools nor horses to trade. Whether the law requires support for children or not during these proceedings, they should be given support as well as a barrier to any misuse.
Therapists are, at times, very useful when experiencing an emotional divorce. The recommendation of therapists can play a role in divorce rulings, and seeing one can be a great way to deal with emotions. Divorces often come on the heels of great stress and disappointment, but emotional decisions can have bad consequences. Having a clear head can be useful in court and might even help resolve the situation. After a divorce, a therapist can help a person to become self-sufficient.
A major holiday can have an impact on a divorce proceeding. Divorce lawyers actually see more clients around Christmas. If it is about that time of year, it might be better to go through with it before Christmas. A lot can happen in two weeks, and Christmas is supposed to be a family time in any case. Waiting might end up turning Christmas into a showdown, so get it over early.
In a lot of cases, the parent who wins custody of the children is also allowed to keep the house because the children are accustomed to their home. The problem with receiving the house is that it is a financial burden as well as an asset. Some areas have high property taxes, and the initial mortgage might have also been high. Older homes need repair. When it comes to asset ownership, single people are often more liable to have their capital gains taxed because they can shelter less of their holdings.
Divorce proceedings are lengthy because it means fighting over a lot of assets and arrangements. Both sides might aggressively want a better deal. Often the only way to get through the proceeding quickly is to offer the other side a preferential deal. It is better to fight for a good deal because the repercussions will last a very long time.
Going through a divorce is expensive, and there is no telling what the final bill could be. After divorce, it might be necessary to find a new home. Since the financial future is uncertain, avoid unnecessary spending at all costs. Having the extra cash on hand will help pay for the expenses while piling up debt could make finding a new home very difficult.
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