For years, I have advised new/potential clients that there are four people involved in a case; the two parties and the two attorneys. How these individuals (with conflicting viewpoints) communicate with each other determines to a great extent how smoothly your case can be conducted and resolved. It only takes one of these players to a different “agenda” to create problems with your case, or lose sight of the need to seek obvious and reasonable solutions to an unfortunate situation. This applies to either resolutions by agreement, which can sometimes become unnecessarily impossible due to one’s “agenda”, or by trial.
While parties obviously would not be seeking a dissolution of their marriage, if they were both on the same page (or at least would be able to resolve their situation amicably without extensive legal involvement), it does not mean they must “break the bank” to get divorced. There is a life after divorce and having some financial stability/resources at that time makes that transaction all the easier.
Your attorney should be your “filter” to insulate you from the feelings that may arise in a divorce such as jealousy, ego, retribution, even hatred and keep the case focused on resolution in an affordable and efficient manner. Communication with your attorney is key to establishing what I refer to as a comfortable working relationship. This relationship needs to be established at the outset of your representation, making your initial contact and retention of counsel a key moment. Your communications with your attorney are protected for the most part by the attorney-client privilege, so you should feel free to “vent” to a certain extent. You aslo need to be confident that your attorney understands when you are “venting” and when there is a genuine legal issue or problem that requires action.
This is where the four people in the equation scenario becomes critical. If, for example, one of the attorneys is acting on venting and emotions, filing unreasonable motions and Requests for Orders that are really not issues that should be directed to the court for resolution, this is a problem. The problem in that situation is the unnecessary billings being generated by that attorney. Remember that it is always “your case” not the attorney’s and your money that you are being asked to expend. Effective communication with your attorney and focusing on your priorities can help eliminate the problem that may be caused by the attorney for financial gain.
If unfortunately, you are on the other side of a case where opposing counsel is generating unnecessary work-product, or opposing counsel has lost all client control, it is especially important for you and your attorney to document the situation and not over-react, bringing the matter to the attention of your judicial officer as soon as practical. In the egregious situation, the court has the power to make orders for attorney fees and sanctions to rectify the situation.
For inquiries on how to effectively begin your own legal communication strategy, contact our office with your family law need. We’re here to help.