It is reasonable for clients who are seeking a divorce to have high expectations regarding issues of custody, child support, marital property award, alimony, and other important issues. Yet clients need to have adequate explanation for each issue, the process of contested cases in court, and regarding non-contested cases that may be resolved through property settlement agreements.
The role of both client and attorney must be clear and the attorney and client must work as a TEAM. The attorney needs to be knowledgeable of the law, trial strategy, resources of the client, and the client must be candid with the facts, communicate effectively, express expectations, and participate in gathering information, particularly before the process begins.
On this website, I have prepared articles on what to bring to the first meeting. Much of the information requested is essential to understand the client’s needs, children’s needs, and history of the family relationships, and financial circumstances. Here are a number of important foundation needs:
- Child preference regarding custody and the special needs of the children
- Earnings of both spouses
- Income taxes
- Completing forms on our webside: (a) the Confidential Information Form and (b) Financial Statement, including Monthly Expenses, which is a required court form for many purposes.
- There is also a form called Joint Statement of Marital and Non-marital Property that provides necessary information to evaluate marital property.
It is the client’s choice to complete the requested forms. Without the forms, I may not be able to form opinions.
Getting back to the client’s expectations: A lawyer cannot tell you the cost of a divorce. Clients who expect to pay below standard fees for an attorney with over 30 years’ experience and to receive the services on an expedited basis will not work. We realize that clients completing forms is a challenge, yet a good faith effort by the client will reduce the cost of a contested or non-contested divorce.
When you see a primary care physician, a medical model is used wherein you and your family’s medical history, diagnostic tests or images and medication is requested. As lawyers, we request information that is valuable to your case. Paying us to obtain the necessary information is not beneficial to you as a client. Today, we utilize tools to serve you efficiently and effectively.
Much of our effort, especially in litigation, requires both client and attorney to meet deadlines. If not met, the client’s case may be severely harmed. We set forth and communicate to clients the need to obtain from the client information that the client has or that is within their control to obtain.Understanding the process helps clients develop realistic expectations.
Fred Antenberg has been practicing Family Law in Howard County and surrounding counties in Central Maryland for over 30 years. Call Fred today at 410-730-4404 for a Free Initial Consultation if you have a need for a Family Law attorney.