When you hire an attorney to represent you in a legal case, they assume the responsibility of helping you to understand your options and make informed, important decisions. The first thing that is important to understand is that in an attorney/client relationship, it is the client who is responsible for making determinations regarding the objectives of the divorce and making the final decisions on how the matter is resolved. It is the client who ultimately decides that they want to go to trial rather than settling the case. And if there is a settlement, the client will decide on the final terms of the settlement,
While the attorney does not make these final decisions, the attorney is responsible for determining the means to achieve the client’s objectives, such as strategies on discoveries, motions, and trial strategies. The attorney also has a duty to consult with the client about the decisions and strategies that can be made and to give adequate information about the risks involved and reasonable available alternative strategies and decisions.
Considering the responsibilities of both the attorney and the client, it is of paramount importance that a client is prepared to make the right decisions and crucial to get them done right the first time. This is because of the serious legal and financial matters at stake that are difficult or impossible to change after the divorce decree. This includes issues such as the division of assets and debts, spousal support and custody of the children, parenting time and child support.
The only way that a client can feel confident that they are making the right decisions is for everyone, attorney and client, to have a full understanding of both the nature and extent of the parties’ assets, debts and income and of the issues and the facts of the case,
For instance, if the case goes to trial, the judge needs to know all of the facts to make a fair decision on custody and support. And in order to ensure an equitable division of marital assets everyone involved, including the other party, the court needs to know what those assets are.
So, you may be asking how your legal team prepares a client to make good decisions?
It starts with discussing the case with their client to gain important information about the facts of their particular situation and their goals and determining the initial process needed to achieve these goals, including strategies regarding filing, discovery and negotiation strategies.
This also includes the very important work of gathering, assembling and analyzing information from both our client and the opposing side (this is called “discovery”). It is absolutely critical to gather all the relevant facts in order to keep the client fully informed, advised on options and prepared to make good decisions.
Working with the client continues throughout the case, with ongoing discussions on matters and strategies such as discovery methods, settlement negotiations, mediation alternatives, and preparing for court.
So. What’s the advantage of being thoroughly prepared?
Divorce can be stressful and highly emotional and good decisions are harder to make if the client is not prepared to make them. As noted here, being fully informed puts our clients in a position to make the best decisions with better results.
It can also save them both time and money. Clients who are fully informed of the facts, law, options, benefits and risks are more likely to settle and avoid going to court. This is because when a client has not been fully informed and is not feeling that they are ready to make good settlement decisions, it can extend their case for a long time, thus forcing them to spend more time and money negotiating and appearing in court.
If you are looking for legal representation for a legal matter in your life, our firm is available to consult with you and lay out your options for moving forward. Call us today at (503) 227-0200 to set up your free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys.