Throughout your legal representation, it is imperative that you respond to your attorney in a timely manner when information is requested. Most often a hearing date is coming up and we must adhere to court deadlines to exchange documentation and provide it to the opposing party. By responding on time to your attorney and providing the necessary documentation, you will save money. Repeated efforts to track clients down or get the information needed from other sources probably will show up on your bill one way or another.
But most importantly, it will help your case. When attorneys do not get timely information from clients, they simply cannot be the efficient, effective advocates they strive to be. They may not be able to present your case in the best light. They may alienate counsel or the court. They may have to delay things to your detriment. They may not be able to file the appropriate documents with the court because they do not have all the necessary information.
When you receive mail or email from your attorney, please open and read the mail immediately. You often will be requested to take some action such as gather documents, schedule appointments, sign papers, or pay court fees. It is crucial that you read all incoming mail and respond to the action requested. Advise your attorney of the best way to provide you with written materials, i.e. either by mail or email.
You may be required to provide “discovery” to the other side, which is most often paperwork. In many family matters, and particularly in divorce, you will be required to provide copies of any financial documents the other party requests. You may have a desire to hold back documents and use them for surprise purposes at trial. We have seen parties punished severely by the court for taking that approach. It is in your best interest to cooperate with requests for information in a timely manner.
There may be several orders issued by the court while your case is pending. You should keep a separate folder for copies of your orders. You should also carefully read and understand the content of every order. If you have any question about the meaning of an order, please discuss it with your attorney. It is crucial that you comply with all of the orders in your case. Failure to do so may lead to you being found in contempt of court, and may tarnish your image with the court. It is sometimes possible to modify an order while your case is pending. You should discuss that possibility with your attorney.
In summary, providing the required information to your attorney in a timely manner will not only make the legal process easier, it will save you time and money and keep your legal action moving forward without delays.