Your Due Diligence As a Family Law Client
Your family law attorney should provide prompt and effective service, guiding you through the complications of child custody, property settlements, adoption or other vital issues. Unfortunately, not all lawyers offer the same quality of service. Be on the alert for the following red flags:
- The Lawyer Includes Incorrect Information in Legal Briefs or Motions
Effective attorneys research each case thoroughly. This means double and triple-checking for mistakes. Not every error could delay your case, create complications or lead to misunderstandings during a negotiation. But even minor typos or inaccuracies have a funny way of backfiring. Your attorney should have a reputation for accuracy, but you should also check documents to ensure correct information, and ask questions if you don’t understand certain language or ideas.
- Pushing For Litigation When Other Avenues Would Meet Client Needs Better
Many couples can efficiently resolve their differences through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Some attorneys, however, just prefer to work through the court system because the process plays to their strengths or because they don’t have much experience using collaborative or mediation. Ideally, your law firm should be flexible enough to use the smartest approach for your case—not what habit or convenience dictates.
- Avoiding Litigation When ADR Processes Have Failed
Mediation and collaboration can save clients time and money, but they’re not always the smartest approaches. A skilled attorney will consider all options, rather than stubbornly sticking to ADR when it clearly don’t seem appropriate. Adamant refusal to litigate could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Rather than begging for mediation, spouses and their lawyers should negotiate from a position of strength, leaving litigation as a viable backup option.
- Not Preparing Adequately for Mediation or Collaboration
When clients opt for mediation over litigation, some lawyers assume they can take a backseat role, leaving the hard work to the mediator and ex-spouses. In reality, mediation and collaboration require ample research. Attorneys must think creatively to help clients arrive at mutually-beneficial outcomes, and they must adequately prepare for potential litigation.
- Failing to Comply With Discovery Requests
Some lawyers aim to prevent opposing parties from viewing relevant documents or other evidence obtained during the discovery process. Their efforts could result in harsh sanctions from the court, which enjoys broad oversight regarding discoverable information. In most cases, it behooves attorneys and their clients to comply with all reasonable discovery requests from the opposing side.
The importance of working with a trustworthy family lawyer cannot be overstated. DiPietro Family Law Group has a strong reputation and track record in Maryland and Virginia; get in touch today to learn more.