It’s rare that anyone really WANTS to be involved in legal action. For the vast majority of folks, being a party in a law suit is extremely stressful. Your attorney shouldn’t be a source of stress too. Your lawyer should be your advocate and work to get you the legal results you desire. So how do you know if your lawyer is a good one? How do you know if you need to find a new lawyer? This three part blog series will discuss three questions to ask to determine if you need a new lawyer. Be sure to check out part one of this series: Where Is My Lawyer? and part two of the series Where Is My Lawyer’s Stuff? For a discussion of how to find the right family lawyer for you, click here.
As you sit on the bench waiting for court, do you know what is happening? For what purpose are you scheduled for a hearing today? What is the desired outcome of today’s hearing? Will you have to testify? Will you even see the judge? These are questions you should know the answer to before you arrive at the courthouse.
Here’s a tip: Many, if not most hearings are relatively low key, not contested trials as seen on TV shows like Law & Order. Many hearings don’t go in front of the judge because the parties and lawyers can work an agreement to avoid a contested hearing. However, sometimes hearings that should end with an agreement wind up in front of the judge for a decision. In addition to the expected outcome of the hearing, you should be aware of how your lawyer expects the hearing to be handled, whether by negotiation, testimony, or a mix. (For more on how hearings work, see here.)
Also, clients usually have serious questions about what just happened once a hearing is concluded. If the court made a ruling, it is crucial that you understand what that order means to you and your case. Your lawyer should stay after the hearing to make sure you know what just happened, and how it affects you. This is also when you could discuss the next step if your hearing went really badly.
As a side note, we find that many times we will answer the client’s questions after the hearing, but the next day, the client calls or emails asking the same questions because immediately after a hearing, emotions can still be high, lots of stuff just happened, and many times new facts were just revealed. Consequently, the clients often appear to be listening, but their brain is too busy processing all that happened in the hearing to really soak in what the attorney says. So we often try to set a time to discuss the hearing with the client the next day as well to address remaining client questions.
If you are sitting in the courthouse waiting for a hearing but have no idea what the hearing is about, how it’s expected to go down, and what the expected outcome is, your lawyer should have discussed this with you. Or if you just finished a hearing, and have no idea what really just happened because your lawyer didn’t explain it to you, you may need a new lawyer. If you feel “out of the loop” in your own case, consider finding a lawyer that has time to explain your case to you.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping working people live the life they WANT to live through divorce and beyond. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in lawfw.biz and press Go. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/youngbloodlawPLLC/