How to Communicate Well with Your Divorce Lawyer
An experienced lawyer is one of the staples of any divorce case, but it’s not enough just to have him or her on your side. You also need to know how to communicate well if you want to work toward your preferred outcome. So before you meet with your lawyer, check out these tips on communicating as effectively as possible during your case.
Be Sure You Listen Carefully to Your Divorce Lawyer
You probably spent a lot of time choosing just the right attorney, so it makes sense to listen to what he or she has to say about your case. That might sound simple, but many people don’t abide by this advice. You can buck the trend by truly listening when your lawyer explains the laws that apply to your case. If you have questions or don’t understand some of the legal terms your lawyer uses, just ask for clarification as needed. It’s better that you take a little more time and truly understand your case than waste everyone’s time by pretending you do.
Give Your Lawyer the Facts
Your lawyer is full of important information that can affect your case, but so are you. You’re the only person who knows where certain important documents are and how to reach any witnesses for your case. Your lawyer needs your help understanding your case, so offer all the facts upfront. If you leave out relevant details, your case will only take longer to get through, costing you more money along the way. And keep in mind that the facts don’t include insults to describe your former spouse. Your lawyer doesn’t want or need to hear about how mean your ex is. This won’t help your case and will waste your time. Save those rants for your friends or therapist, and stick to the facts when you talk to your lawyer.
Make Sure Your Expectations Are Realistic
You need a lawyer on your side for a good chance of getting the results you’re hoping for. But even if you hire the best divorce lawyer you can find, there is no guarantee you will get the ending you want. Most divorces require some give and take, which means you probably won’t get the house, the cars and full custody of the children just because you want it. And no lawyer can legitimately promise you this. But what your lawyer can do is work hard to ensure you understand your case and then create a strategy that will give you a chance at getting at least some of your requests fulfilled. This comes down to again-listen to your lawyer. Stop listening to friends or family tell you what will happen because they do not have the knowledge or experience that your attorney has. It is sometimes difficult to hear what you need to hear from your lawyer, rather than what you want to hear.
Keep in Mind That Your Side Is Not the Whole Story
You might have strong opinions on your former spouse, but they are just that: opinions, not facts. Your former spouse has a different view, and it’s wise to try to understand where he or she is coming from. After all, the better you understand the other side, the easier it is to predict what he or she will say so you and your lawyer can counter it. So, focus on considering how your former spouse feels and why, and then you and your lawyer can build your case based on this information. For instance, if your ex wants full custody of the kids because he or she feels that you can’t provide a safe home for them, think about the reasoning behind this opinion. Even if you feel it’s wrong, consider why your ex might say your home isn’t safe for the kids and then focus on providing proof that this opinion is incorrect.
Understand What the Attorney-Client Privilege Is…and Isn’t
It’s hard to communicate effectively with your divorce lawyer if you’re not sure what attorney-client privilege is. In general, attorney-client privilege says that any confidential communication with your lawyer that is made for getting legal advice will remain private. This is to encourage you to be open and honest with your lawyer as you work together on your case. But it does have some limits you might not be aware of.
For example, this privilege only protects communication that is confidential. So if you email or call your attorney, or set up a meeting between the two of you, what you say will remain private. This also applies when you talk to your lawyer’s staff in private. But if you decide to tell everyone you know about an aspect of your case, and then get mad when your former spouse finds out, you can’t blame attorney-client privilege for failing because what you said stopped being confidential once you told several people about it. Similarly, if you talk to your lawyer on speakerphone with other people nearby, or talk to your lawyer about your case in a loud voice in a public area, you can’t expect it all to remain private.
In addition, the attorney-client privilege only applies to conversations where you’re trying to obtain legal advice. So, if you decide to email your lawyer for advice on a kitchen remodel because he or she recently did one, that information won’t necessarily be kept private. And finally, if you contact your lawyer to get help committing fraud or any other type of crime, your communications won’t be private. This means if you call your lawyer to find out how you can conceal some assets in the divorce, you could end up in legal trouble, so don’t do it.
Now that you know how to communicate with your lawyer, it’s time to find one you can trust. Contact the Law Offices of H. William Edgar today to schedule a free consultation so you can meet our staff and discuss your case.