While information about the family law court process is nice, most litigants are also looking for excellent results. We want to provide that necessary information, but we also want you to have the best tricks from our family law attorney in St. Louis, MO.
Most family law matters follow a similar litigation process, but within that process there are numerous ways to maneuver the case to achieve a desired outcome. Without further ado, here are seven of the top ways to gain an edge in the family court process:
Do Your Research Up Front
Each family law case has a different process and different requirements by the Court. Litigants that research their case type in advance will typically fair better. This also includes researching the local law offices, as you could find a family law attorney in St. Louis, MO that only specializes in divorce, but you need an adoption attorney.
You do not necessarily need an attorney with years or decades or experience, but the lawyer should at least have some level of experience with your case type.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Make sure and choose a family law attorney in St. Louis, MO who views your relationship as a partnership. If you have open communication lawyer and the rest of the law firm, you will feel more satisfied with the representation. You can also do a lot of the leg work in your case including gathering documents and keeping notes. The more you can help your attorney, the more likely your bill stays reasonable as well.
Ask questions when you retain counsel. Find out if they allow you to help gather documents and assist with discovery. Have them detail their communication policy for you. See if they can give you examples of the strategy, they used in cases similar to yours in the past.
The more information the better, so ask lots of questions. Good teamwork requires transparency between all the players.
Set Those Court Dates with your Family Law Attorney
Many clients try to avoid court dates because it makes them nervous or because they are trying to keep the cost of the case low. While this might make sense, avoiding court dates will actually delay your case in many circumstances. Court dates provide an opportunity for the Judge to weigh in, for the attorneys to communicate and for the parties to catch up on the details of the litigation.
Also, make sure you and your lawyer go into the Court date as prepared as possible. If your law firm has been given all the relevant updates to your case, they will feel much more confident advocating to the Judge on your behalf.
Keep it Friendly: Communication with Your Ex
Family law cases can be contentious. Many times, you would not be involved with a family law attorney in St. Louis, MO if you could get along with your ex. Make an effort to get along with your ex anyway. The better the parties get along, the better the chances for the case to resolve quickly and affordably.
For example, if you are in a child custody and child support case, you are your ex agreeing to the terms of a parenting plan can save you so much stress and money. Not only does good communication help resolve the court case, but it also leaves you on better terms for after the case. Remember, you still must co-parent with this after the Judges and the lawyers disappear.
Dig a Little Deeper: The Discovery Advantage
Discovery is the legal process of gathering information for your case. For example, if going through a divorce, you may ask your divorce attorney about some domestic violence issues during your marriage. While being able to describe those issues to the Court is helpful, having the police report of the incident will be much more helpful and will put leverage on the opposing party to resolve the case.
In St. Louis County, the Judges tend to appreciate hard evidence that helps show your argument in your divorce and family law case. Use your money wisely and conduct discovery early and often and you will better your case.
An Offer They Can’t Refuse: Settlement Offers
Some super lawyers can provide bad legal advice at times about your family law matter. One of these common pieces of bad advice is to wait for the other side to make the first settlement offer. While there is some logic to negotiating power, if an offer is never made, both attorneys could be racking up fees while the parties just sit and wait.
For example, if you are going through a child custody and child support case, every day that goes by without the case being settled is a day that you might have less time with your child. Explain to your legal representation that a conclusion to the case is very important to you.
Battle it Out: Trial
If you can’t come to terms with the opposing party on your family law issues, then don’t be afraid to go to trial. By being willing to try the case, you often can avoid trial. Many attorneys and many litigants are scared of trial, and they lose leverage in their case by not being able or willing to play that card.
Most cases in family law, or any practice area for that matter, can be resolved without trial. However, some cases need a trial. Trials do not have to be something to shy away from if you have done the proper preparation and have communication with your lawyer.
Building a Game Plan with your Family Law Attorney
Each step you take along the way in your case, will help develop your strategy to get to the finish line. The above top tips are just the opinion of one family law attorney in St. Louis, MO. You can seek a variety of legal services and may obtain a variety of opinions across Saint Louis. If you like our best tips though, feel free to reach out to us.