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Who Else Wants To Learn About Divorce Lawyers?

In case you haven't before now, chances are that sometime in your lifetime you'll have to employ an attorney at law. With the help of my consultation with Tampa Attorney Christina Mesa, what follows is a group of responses to popular as well as imperative questions.

1. QUESTION: How do I know if I require a legal professional?
ANSWER: If you have been recently served with a Summons and related documents (Complaint, Petition, Motion), you really should endeavor to look for legal assistance immediately. Papers filed in court that start a lawsuit require responses that involve exact deadlines; skipping those deadlines could compromise your defense, restrict or avoid your recovery. Some issues by statute involve a "pre-suit" period of time that allow you to consider the legal issues and probable resolution before a lawsuit is filed. Similarly, seeking legal counsel immediately is recommended.

2. QUESTION: Do I need to hire an attorney or lawyer in the county where the issue occurs?
ANSWER: No. Many attorneys practice in other counties and other states, based upon on their licensure for the latter. Having knowledge in the county in which the matter will be litigated is essential as that attorney will have a comfort level with the community courthouse personnel, lawyers (likely opposing counsel) and judges. One thing to consider in retaining a lawyer away from area in which the matter takes place is cost of journey time. Some attorneys don't charge for travel, others offer a lowered rate or maintain a billable rate for all work performed. Clarify that question with each lawyer consulted.

3. QUESTION: What is mediation?
ANSWER: Mediation is a course of action whereby the parties to the issue present at an agreed place with their counsel (if retained) and a decided on mediator to try and resolve all or a number of the problems involved. Mediators need to be unrelated to all parties and the litigation at issue, are to stay impartial in between the parties and their lawyer, and continue maintaining the confidential structure of the conference to inspire settlement and resolution. Generally the parties share the cost of the mediation evenly but other arrangements might be made if all parties are in agreement in advance of the conference. Mediation is generally required in every case filed in court and prior to a trial is held.

4. QUESTION: What type of attorney do I need?
ANSWER: Again, like other sectors, attorneys may specialize in a specific or more than one area. Similarly, law offices may specialize, provide general legal needs or provide services in a few specific areas of law. Trial attorneys handle cases involving lawsuits; family law lawyers handle separation and divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, alimony and associated matters; general practitioners handle almost all matters. Some areas of law are very specialized, like bankruptcy or taxation; others are delineated by statute, as in worker's compensation. Any attorney should be able to go over your specific issue, determine if he or she is prepared to handle such matters or advise you of the need to seek advice from another in a specialized area.

5. QUESTION: How can I be certain my attorney is resolving my problems?
ANSWER: Every good attorney monitors his time (fees) and expenditures (costs). Your retainer arrangement should include a affirmation of how the attorney bills his clients - monthly, quarterly, etc. You may also keep track of your case in some jurisidictions that supply on-line access to case dockets. If the county has that established, you are wise to routinely review the docket and see what activities have taken place by your counsel and the other party/counsel. It's also advisable to feel comfortable getting in touch with your attorney at intervals to determine the status of the matter, understanding you'll likely be billed for these communications.

6. QUESTION: How do I select an attorney or lawyer?
ANSWER: Legal dilemmas are as vast as those in other industries, such as medicine, construction, finance, etc. and are generally just as perplexing. To protect your legal rights and remedies, the very best practice would be to investigate your area of need and research what attorneys are available to work with you. A referral from somebody you know and respect can bring a personal element to the decision to hire an lawyer but shouldn't be the exclusive reason counsel is chosen. Look into the lawyer's background of education, expertise and area(s) of practice. Asking basic questions should be urged in this process. Self-help can be strengthening but can also reduce or negate your recovery. Hiring a law firm should be contemplated with the same level of thought and consideration as that directed at the choice of a physician, accountant, financial consultant or therapist.

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