Managing Your Relationship with Your Family Law Lawyer
Lawyer-Client Relationship Are A Two-Way Street
Like all relationships, the one you have with your family law lawyer is bound to experience good days and not-so-good days. This is especially true of lawyer-client relationships as clients are dealing with life altering situations and sometimes are driven by emotion instead of logic. For this reason, it’s extremely important to find a lawyer who you trust to advocate for your best interest.
The Initial Consultation And Assessing Your Lawyer
The initial consultation is a very important step in the journey towards your relationship with your lawyer. This meeting is intended not only for a lawyer to hear your matter and provide legal advice, but also for both parties to assess the expectations for the relationship and set the tone for future proceedings. If it is your first-time meeting with a lawyer you may feel nervous. To help ease your mind, here is what you can expect from the initial consultation:
- you will be given opportunity to explain your situation and the possibility of reconciliation;
- the lawyer will identify immediate legal issues such as violence, housing and access to finances;
- the lawyer will explain the relevant law and inform you of your options for resolution;
- you will outline your goals and interests in resolving the issues and provide feedback on the resolution methods; and
- if you wish to retain the lawyer you will be given a retainer agreement and the lawyer will provide instructions for your next steps to resolving your matter.
It’s extremely important to be straight forward and honest during the initial consultation. Lawyers have seen and heard it all so you do not have to be embarrassed by any actions (either your own or your exes). This will ensure the relationship gets off on the right foot and sets a good tone going forward.
Your Lawyer is Not Your Therapist
Your lawyer is there to provide legal advice, assist you in navigating the family law system and promote options for dispute resolution. Your lawyer is not there to listen to you complain about your ex or any injustices you feel as a result of your current situation. Your lawyer has a moral and legal obligation to act within the law to advocate for you on your behalf. Your lawyer cannot be responsible for guaranteeing results as family law is complex and uncertain. What they can do is provide you with all the relevant information, provide cost-benefit analysis and give you a reasonable idea of the outcome of your matter. It is very important for you to understand this relationship dynamic. If you are unable to act within the boundaries of the lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer does have the right to terminate the retainer agreement and withdrawal from acting on your behalf.
Intervention of Third Parties
Often, the breakdown of a marriage can leave clients very vulnerable and impressionable. You may wish seek guidance from others who have been in a similar situation. This can sometimes get messy if you are receiving conflicting information from your lawyer versus your confidant. It’s a lawyers obligation to ensure the instructions they receive reflect the wishes of the clients and not a third party. It is in your best interest as a client to only accept legal advice from a qualified lawyer. Finally, a third party’s influence may adversely impact the resolution to your matter and draw out the legal proceedings costing you both time, money and potentially relationships with your children and ex-partner.
Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.