Can my spouse and I share an attorney?

While it may seem cost effective and simple to hire one attorney in a divorce proceeding, this is not ethical and is not permitted.  Although you may have heard that your friends had only one attorney in their divorce, what likely happened was that one side had an attorney and the other did not.  In family law cases, an attorney is only allowed to represent one side.  If the attorney were to represent both sides, it would be impossible for the attorney to properly advocate for each side.

Remember, there is no such thing as “our attorney.”  Even in the friendliest cases, each side should have the benefit of separate legal advice.

Be aware every situation is unique. If you have questions about your individual situation, please contact an attorney. This post should not be considered legal advice.

3 Tips to Keep Lawyer’s Fees Down

#1 – Offer Assistance:  There are tasks you can do to save attorney and paralegal time.  For example, in a divorce proceeding, you can do some of the legwork to obtain certain real estate documents from the Recorder of Deeds.  Check with your attorney to see how you can help in your case.  Most attorneys welcome involvement from their clients

#2 – Be Organized & Responsive:  Keep excellent financial records and provide requested documents to your attorney in an organized and timely manner.  By doing so, your attorney will be able to more efficiently draft legal documents and schedule necessary court dates.

#3 – Streamline Your Communications:  When you ask a question, a good lawyer will provide a thorough and prompt response.  Remember that lawyers charge for their time (including time answering questions via phone and email).  Consider these alternatives:  Option #1:  Write down minor questions and then set a phone meeting to discuss them at one time; or Option #2:  Condense your questions into one email.  These options may cut down on a costly back-and-forth.  Of course, if your question is time-sensitive or involves a matter of great importance, be sure to contact your attorney right away.

In addition to reducing the cost of your case, these tips may help you more quickly reach a reasonable resolution.

Be aware every situation is unique.  If you have questions about your individual situation, please contact an attorney.  This post should not be considered legal advice.

3 Quick Tips to Consider When Choosing an Attorney

The decision to hire an attorney is often made during a stressful time.  You may want to consider these 3 quick tips when meeting potential attorneys:

#1 Focus of practice:  Focusing on one area of the law allows for a deeper understanding in that particular area.  Consider this – if you needed heart surgery, would you ask for your family doctor or insist on a cardiologist?

#2 Asking about your goals:  Although an exact outcome can rarely be guaranteed, a successful attorney will ask about your goals, provide feedback on a realistic outcome and will work within the existing court system to achieve them to the extent possible.

#3 Trust your instincts:  You and your attorney will be working closely for the duration of your case.  Your attorney will need to know some of the most intimate details of your private life in order to best represent you.  When you leave the first meeting with a potential attorney, you should feel comfortable sharing these details. 

Be aware every situation is unique.  If you have questions about your individual situation, please contact an attorney.  This post should not be considered legal advice.