It is critical that an attorney and their client have good communication during the divorce process. What clients tell their attorney is confidential so clients can be open and honest without fear of the attorney revealing their secrets.
Honesty and No Surprises
Critical to the communication process is complete honesty by the client. An attorney cannot properly represent a client who is dishonest in what they tell the attorney. Also problematic is if a client holds back information they feel is not important or that they hope will not come out during the course of the proceedings.
Clients may think they don’t need to share certain information, often about sensitive issues such as substance use or abuse, family violence or important property issues, but it almost always comes out in court. An attorney’s representation is compromised if he or she learns information for the first time in court from the opposing party or opposing attorney.
Can There Be Too Much Communication?
This is a touchy question. Clients need to share important information with their attorney. If a client questions whether they should contact the attorney to share information, they should err on the side of informing their attorney. For example, if their spouse says something that alarms them, or the children say something that seems like a big issue, clients should communicate this information to their attorney.
However, clients should be aware of the expense. Attorneys bill in hourly increments. For example, at a rate of $300 an hour, billing is done at 0.1, 0.2, or 0.25 or an hour. The client will be billed at those rates for however long it takes the attorney to read the email or talk on the phone.
On the other hand, clients must keep their attorney informed about the status of their relationship with their spouse and any concerns about the children.
Suggestions On The Best Way to Communicate With Your Attorney
First, try to meet with the attorney in person for the first consultation. That way, the client can decide if they feel comfortable with the attorney and the attorney can ask follow-up questions for information that they suspect will be important in court.
Next, make sure to fill out all intake forms or information sheets thoroughly. The attorney will often refer back to these documents during the case, and the more information, the better.
Last, it is best to communicate in writing. Clients should consider emailing their attorney with important developments as the case progresses. That way, it is easier for counsel to go back and review the written communications when preparing for a hearing. Emailing a periodic status update to the attorney is always a good idea.
As someone once said, “The best attorney is the one who is able to try the other side’s case because they know everything.”
For More Information About Divorce, Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney, contact Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices at 214-420-1800.