The separation and divorce process is often a difficult time for most people. As lawyers, we are retained by our clients to advocate on their behalf to achieve an outcome that is equitable for them and their families during this emotional period.
Our aim is to help you achieve this with the least amount of additional turbulence in your life, and in the most cost-effective and expedient way possible. As lawyers, we have professional obligations to ensure your case is managed ethically and to provide you with the best advice possible including your likely prospects of success.
But as outsiders to your family situation, we have to work very closely with you to ensure we are fully informed of all relevant issues, and that you are fully advised of all options. It can be daunting to speak to a lawyer about such personal issues, and we try to ease that situation as much as we can. Rest assured, we do this every day, and we have heard about an amazing array of human experiences. So with that in mind, here are some things you can do to help your lawyer help you:
Your lawyer may ask you personal or difficult questions which you may not want to answer honestly because it may be difficult or you may believe it will damage your case. You should be aware that as lawyers we are strictly bound by confidentiality, so we cannot openly disseminate this information. We will give you good advice regarding any admissions made and provide you with advice as to how to remedy any potential issues. It is integral that you raise any concerns early in your case.
We will give you a lot of information and advice. It is common to feel overwhelmed with this in circumstances where you are dealing with emotional trauma as well. If you don’t understand, say so as soon as you can. Always ask questions if you want to clarify our advice. Our advice is just that, advice, and it is always up to you to make decisions.
As lawyers, we cannot make decisions for you, and we will require approval from you to take various steps. We will also likely require significant information from you so that we can act efficiently and meet deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines often results in greater cost consequences for you. If you are unable to respond for any reason or you need to put things on hold for a period then let us know. We know that life goes on while you are dealing with all of this and that sometimes things come out of the blue, and sometimes things just get too much for a while. If we know, we can take steps to help.
Before your first meeting with a lawyer, try to get your thoughts in order and prepare a brief summary of important facts, and a chronology. This helps you focus on the issues at a time when you may be in turmoil. We have a questionnaire for this very purpose that we provide before your first appointment. It is likely that by providing this summary, your lawyer will be able to cover more ground during your first appointment.
As lawyers, we act in your interests, and we want to help you get the best outcome for you and your family. We will approach your situation from an objective stance, which of course may be very different from your perspective. Sometimes this means giving you practical advice on whether or not something that you are seeking is achievable. It may be information that you do not wish to hear however it is better to have a realistic view of your case from the outset. Always ask questions, maybe after you have had time to let our advice sink in and to properly consider it.
When you retain a lawyer you will sign a cost disclosure statement that explains costs, how you will be billed and when. Often it can be daunting to see how costs can quickly add up. We will provide you with very important information about how you can limit your own costs. Understanding exactly how costs work is essential so that you can help yourself, and again, always ask questions if you do not fully understand.
Following these steps will ensure that you get the most from your lawyer and your lawyer, in turn, will have greater capacity to help you bring your case to a satisfactory resolution.
Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers are experts in family law issues, call our offices today for a confidential chat 02 9633 1088.