You didn’t need a lawyer when you got married, so many times people feel like they don’t need a lawyer to get divorced. This, however, is not typically the best approach. Most divorces have at least one issue that is a legal matter. Whether it is alimony, child timesharing, child support, dividing the marital home or assets, it is important to speak to a Florida family law attorney to guide you through the law that exists pertaining to the legal issues that are in your case. While many couples feel that they can fairly and equally divide their assets, the truth is once dollar signs begin getting assigned, self interest begins to override the fairness principle. Having an attorney that you can rely on to be looking out for your best interest is your best approach, as the attorney should be aware of how a judge or magistrate will most likely rule in your case, and can advise you appropriately.
But lawyers are so expensive?! It’s true that the hourly rate of many lawyers seems staggering at first glance, and those hours pouring over your file and the details of your life add up. The question for most clients is what are the costs associated with retaining an attorney? In Florida, unlike personal injury cases, divorce cases cannot be taken on a contingency basis, meaning unless you win, you don’t pay. Rather, Florida divorce attorneys typically take a retainer, basically a down payment for services, where the lawyer charges against the amount of your retainer, and when that is depleted, they either ask for an additional retainer or charge you monthly based on the work that they perform. This can include preparing motions, drafting pleadings, taking phone calls with opposing calls, attending court hearings or mediations. There are other tasks that lawyers charge for as well such as researching your specific legal issue that may be complex, updating you with the status of your case, and writing letters or emails. This is not an exhaustive list of what lawyers, but rather the most commonly seen things that clients see on their bill. When speaking with an attorney about retaining their services, it is important to weigh many factors. It’s important to feel a good rapport with your attorney, this relationship must be built on honesty and similar mindset for your case. When you are interviewing a lawyer, the lawyer is also interviewing you to determine if you are the right type of client for them. It’s also very important to consider their experience in life and in law.
The following questions can be asked during the initial meeting with the Florida family law attorney:
1) How many family law cases have you handled?
2) How many years have you been practicing?
3) How often do you have to go court? Or trial?
4) What can I expect about our communication frequency and what is your preferred method of talking?
5) What experiences have you had in your life that we may have in common in approaching this case?
When a client come in to discuss their legal issues, there are typically three priorities identify by the potential client to the family law attorney at the Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. law firm:
2) income/alimony; and
3) the marital home.
For most clients, these are the most valuable aspects of their life, and are worth fighting for. Having an experienced advocate on your side to not only advise you but to assert for your rights is the most important tool in your divorce case to ensure that you stand the best chance at gaining a positive outcome. Do not delay acting in your best interest and the best interest of others in your life – contact Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to set up a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.