In this episode, we’ll cover five things your attorney must be doing for you. If they are not doing these things, your case may be in trouble. We offer a course on managing your relationship with your attorney, because it is one of the most important aspects in your divorce. You should be concerned if your attorney is not doing any of these things:
- Your attorney does not return your phone calls, emails or messages quickly.
- Your attorney does not keep you informed on your case.
- Your attorney misses deadlines or waits until the last minute to file reports.
- Your attorney does not bill you regularly.
- Your attorney does not close the case when the divorce is over.
This is inexcusable. If you contact your divorce attorney and they do not reply within a day or two, it is a bad sign. You should be able to expect them to at least reply quickly that they have received your message, even if they are having a busy day in court or are on vacation. They may not be able to give you a detailed response immediately if it is something that they need to look into, but they should communicate that with you. If they do not, you may need to make a change.
This is closely connected to the point above. Your attorney should check in with you to let you know what has been going on with your case. There may be times when nothing is happening with your case, such as when you are waiting on a court date for a minor issue. However, if there are things going on, your attorney should keep you apprised of what is happening. Keep in mind that you also need to be proactive. Check in with your attorney to see if anything has happened lately.
This problem does not come up often, but when it does, it is a major issue. It can be hard to tell if this happens because the attorney is just bad with deadlines or if your case simply isn’t a priority for them. In a recent case we dealt with, the attorney repeatedly waited until 24 hours before a major deadline to submit key information to their client. The client then had to scramble to complete their part in time. It can put you in a bad position where you may have to miss deadlines to ensure you submit accurate information.
You should be getting a bill every month, rather than a large bill after several months. This will let you know how much of your retainer has been spent, how much time has been spent on your case, and what progress has been made. The bills should be clear about what was done and how much time was spent doing each task.
It is very tempting to put the case aside when it has been settled. However, there are still several steps to complete the divorce: taking names off accounts, transferring assets, signing documents, and so on. You want the end of the divorce to go as smoothly as possible, and to be sure that all the small details are wrapped up. If your attorney forgets to tie up all of the loose ends, it can cause problems for you down the line.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, what do you do? First, make sure that you are staying on top of things yourself as much as possible. For example, check in with your attorney to see what has been going on with your case. However, if there are serious issues that keep coming up, it may be a sign that you need to look for a new attorney. These issues will probably not get better over time, and if the problems are severe, it can impact the rest of your life.
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Thank you for listening!