Top 3 Questions Asked By Clients That Domestic Relations Attorneys Can't Answer
If you're going through a domestic relations proceeding, you're bound to have questions for your attorney. That's what they're there for right? To answer your question and give you advice. While this is true, there are a few common questions that you're attorney simply will not be able to answer.
How Long Will This Take?The answer is that it depends on a multitude of factors. What type of case is it? Are there assets to be valued? Will experts be needed? Will the case settle prior to hearing and, if so, when? What county is the case in? Which Judge or Magistrate is hearing the action? What does their docket look like? The list goes on and on. Due to these factors, there is no way for an attorney to tell you how long the case will take. They may be able to say what certain deadlines are or how long similar cases in the same jurisdiction have lasted. These answers can help you shape an idea of how long the case will take, but they're never a guarantee.
Am I Going To Win?The idea of winning and losing is not really applicable in domestic relations proceedings. Emotion and perception play a huge role in how someone feels at the end of a case. These feelings can change as the party moves on in life. If children are involved, then the action will affect them for the rest of their lives. While there might be specific issues that can be won like "who gets the house?" they're usually balanced with something else since family law courts are courts of equity. Finally, if you get to a final hearing then you're outcome is determined by the Judge or Magistrate. They are people, with their own inclinations and they determine, based oh how they feel at that moment in time, what will happen to the family unit in front of them. A Judge could do one thing on a Monday and have a very similar fact set on Friday and do the exact opposite. They're people and sometimes their decisions are hard to understand. With all these variables you can see that there is no way for your attorney to say that you'll "win" everything because it's just not likely. Couple this with the fact that a Judge or Magistrate is going to make the decision, if you and the other party don't settle things, makes it impossible for any attorney to guarantee an outcome.
How Much Is This Going To Cost?This is probably the number one answer that attorneys can't answer. Domestic relations attorneys bill for the time spent on your case and there is no way to know how much time that will be. If you think about how all the reasons that might affect how long a case takes can affect how much time an attorney spends on the case, you can easily see that there is no way to know what your case will cost. An additional factor that makes this question impossible to answer is that the attorney has no idea what the other side is going to do. For example, if the other side is sending a ton of correspondence, then it's gong to cost more than if the other side touches base once every other week. All these factors contribute to your final bill. If you've got a good attorney, they'll show you ways to lower the bill. Legal bills are expensive and you should take advantage of any tips that can help reduce your bill.