Perhaps no legal field is as saturated with practitioners as in family law. For whatever reason, many lawyers incorrectly believe that this complex and emotionally-charged area of practice is “easy,” and feel qualified to start practicing on families with little or no experience. Practitioners starting on their own often begin by handling cases for friends, family, or acquaintances knowing little about family law. Even worse, many practitioners treat divorce or other family law clients as extensions of their own ego, and cause unnecessary emotional and financial damage during the [mis]handling of a case. Some lawyers simply don’t know or understand the law. When researching your attorney, the following hallmarks can be used to evaluate potential attorney candidates in your interview:
1. A Great Divorce and Family Law Lawyer in Portland Stays Focused on You.
- informing you about the process – what can you expect from your case?
- getting the facts straight – an initial consultation generally takes at least 60-90 minutes to discuss the facts of your matter
- delves deeper into the facts by asking questions that they know to be important that you may not even realize are important
- discuss your finances and options to maximize your representation based upon your budget
- keep you informed throughout your case, including timely responses to email and telephone calls
- provides you with copies of legal pleadings and correspondence throughout your case
- keeps your personal finances in mind — a divorce where legal fees decimate the marital estate is not a good outcome
2. A Great Divorce and Family Law Lawyer in Portland Thoroughly Investigates Your Case.
To make sure we know everything we need to know about a case, we will:
- gather all of your financial records
- keep in regular contact throughout your divorce or family law matter to stay informed about developments in your case
- obtain evidence for trial as necessary, including photos, video, bank records, testimony, statements through depositions, school records, or medical records
- talk with relevant witnesses, including neighbors, police, emergency personnel, teachers, or even doctors
- retain experts to support your case
- analyze any important legal issues that impact your case, including state and evolving Oregon Appellate family law court cases
3. A Great Divorce and Family Law Lawyer in Portland will Organize, Coordinate, and Present Your Case.
When a divorce or family law matter is initiated, we will draft all appropriate paperwork and file them with the appropriate court. We will also:
- investigate the opposing party so that necessary paperwork can be served in compliance with the Oregon law
- arrange for a professional process server to serve paperwork upon the opposing party in accordance with the law
- investigate the opposing party to find any criminal convictions or other useful information we can that may help your case
- draft written requests for documents so that we can get information from the other side respond to the other side’s written requests for information from you
- prepare to take depositions of relevant witnesses or parties
- take all depositions necessary to your case
- prepare you to have your deposition taken, and defend you during your deposition
4. A Great Divorce and Family Law Lawyer Will Discuss Settlement.
Settlement is not a sign of weakness. In fact, the vast majority of cases do settle before trial. Trial is uncertain, and settlement allows you to be involved in the terms of your final judgment, which generally helps compliance with the judgment after the case is concluded. Additionally, settlements prior to trial can avoid the high costs associated with trial. Settlement has the following benefits:
- can resolve a case early
- can be more flexible than a judge’s ruling, more adapted to the unique requirements of a particular family
- avoids the high conflict often associated with a trial
- good-faith settlement offers can memorialize reasonableness of a party and potentially create grounds for recovering attorney fees from the opposing party if they take unreasonable positions
5. A Great Divorce Lawyer in Oregon will Prepare for Trial, if Necessary.
Not all cases end up going to trial. In fact, a great divorce attorney will only go to trial when (a) they are confident in the reasonableness of their position; or (b) they have a completely unreasonable party or attorney on the other side. In the situation that a case does end up going to trial, however, the great divorce lawyer will do the following things:
- prepare you and other witnesses for trial
- advise you on the best way to act, the best way to dress, and the best way to present yourself
- create trial exhibits, often including photos, financial records, or even videotapes of relevant information.
- will be be highly organized with their legal memorandums, exhibits, and witnesses
- will prepare an opening statement, direct examination questions, cross-examination tactics, and closing statements
- will prepare and present any pre-trial motions
- will try the case
- will thoroughly explain the judge’s rulings or any other questions about the proceedings
6. A Great Divorce Lawyer in Oregon will Take Care of Post-Trial Matters.
Even after a case has gone to court, there sometimes can be substantial work to be done to get the final judgment in place. A good divorce and family law lawyer will:
- Draft a judgment if ordered to do so by the court in a timely manner
- Allow you to review the judgment before sending to opposing counsel
- Order the audio of the court proceeding to insure that the judgment conforms with the judge’s ruling
- Address conflicts or objections from opposing counsel, sometimes requiring a post-trial “form of judgment” hearing
- Finalize the divorce documents and submit to the court
- Seek attorney fees from the opposing party if appropriate
7. The Best Divorce and Family Law Lawyers in Oregon will Give You Closing Advise.
After your judgment is finalized, a good divorce and family law lawyer will:
- Provided a checklist of do’s and do-not’s going forward
- Advise you about issues to be wary of, including name changes, changing of wills or insurance policies
- File any appropriate supplemental judgments