To Ask or Not to Ask, That Is the Question: Things to Check with Your Lawyer
When you are facing a trial of any kind, whether a divorce and/or custody case, or a case following a vehicle accident, it can be very overwhelming to keep track of what you should/shouldn’t do. The questions about which paperwork needs to be saved and given to your lawyer, which dates you need to be present at, meetings and hearings, and so forth are a lot to take in. It can also be frustrating when you constantly have to make the decision of when/if you need to call your lawyer regarding personal details of your life. It’s a fine balance of staying within the legal bounds required of you, and feeling as if you’re wasting time calling your attorney.
While every case is different, here are some common dilemmas faced by clients during their cases, and how they need to handle them:
I’m planning a vacation. Do I need to let my lawyer know the dates and the location?
Well, that depends on a couple of factors: first, the type of trial, and secondly, the expected end date of your trial. If you are in the middle of a divorce that involves a custody dispute, then you definitely need to check with your lawyer and discuss the parameters of your current custody arrangement. Taking your children outside of the state could cause problems in some situations, and your attorney can help you determine if you are cleared to take your children on any long-distance vacation before the trial is over and a permanent custody agreement has been made. Additionally, any type of trial requires that you be present at key hearings, so you’ll want to clear your vacation dates with your legal team before you book your flight!
I have papers EVERYWHERE! What do I actually need to save for my case?
In a case involving a car accident and/or injury, any and all paperwork pertaining to your medical care needs to be saved. This includes medical bills, notes from your physician and care team from the initial exam (like that taken by EMT’s or the ER doctor) to your release from their care. Any follow up appointments need to be well documented also. All of these papers are evidence that will be used to determine if your injuries are, in fact, a result of the accident. Other important accident paperwork to hang onto is bills from your mechanic for car repairs, as well as notes about the extent of damage to the vehicle. Again, these will be used as evidence to prove whether or not the damage to the car was a direct result of the collision.
For divorce and custody cases, there are also important papers to hang onto. Financial statements, paycheck information (including documentation regarding raises or changes in pay), fees involving your children (like tuition fees, and other costs outside of basic needs), etc. are good to have on hand so your legal team can get a good idea of your financial standing, and the financial standing of your former spouse, and help you get the best results possible for your divorce settlement.
I know that at least one of the hearings scheduled will conflict with something I can’t get out of. How do I handle this?
You need to let your attorney know NOW. The sooner you give notice that you won’t be able to make a date listed for your trial, the better chance you have of working out an alternative smoothly and with little drama. Occasionally, your legal team might be able to handle things in your absence, or the date can be altered to allow you to be there. Sometimes you might not be able to do either though, and you could be forced to cancel your other obligations to be present. Regardless of the potential outcome, you need to be up front with your lawyer at all times about dates and your schedule pertaining to important dates regarding your case.
We hope this clears up at least a little bit of the exasperation when trying to decide if and when to call your lawyer. If you are currently looking for a lawyer to stand in your corner following an accident or for a pending separation and divorce, we would love to hear from you. Sessums Law Group serves the Central Florida areas of Lakeland and Tampa Bay with superior legal services. We know that going to court is unexpected, and when that happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!