Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Tips: Listening Well

Do You Hear What I Hear?

When a client meets with an attorney for the first time, the client is often stressed and emotional.  That's natural. Many clients have later reported that they can't remember what was said or done at the meeting.

If you're that client, what can you do?  There are several things you can try.

  • Make a list of questions and issues before the meeting.
  • Tell the attorney that you are nervous and may need help keeping everything straight.
  • Make detailed notes of the discussion. 
  • Put away your phone so you aren't interrupted.  
  • Concentrate on the discussions we are having.
  • Ask questions and get clarifications as you go.
  • At the end, review the issues and answers with the attorney.
If you really work on your listening skills, it will help you achieve whatever legal goals you have in mind.  (Of course, you will have to act on the discussions as well.)  Good luck!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tip: It's All in the Timing!

Planning Ahead

Save time and avoid phone tag.  Avoid wasted money.  How, you may ask?

Check with your attorney about when the best time to call would be.  Good attorneys (and even bad ones) get busy.  They have court appearances, they meet with clients, and they prepare for court and other activities.

You may discover that your attorney is not always sitting by the phone, waiting for you to call.

How can you plan calls so that they have a good chance of getting through?

Ask the lawyer or the legal assistant when a good time to call is.  They may have an answer and it could save you a lot of time. You might even ask to set up a telephone appointment that shows up on the calendar.

It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Efficiency

Avoiding Phone Tag

Everyone knows how unproductive telephone tag is, not to mention frustrating.  At one time or another, we all get caught up in calling, missing the other person, leaving a message, waiting for a return call and missing the return call, and then starting over.

Here are three things you can do to short-circuit phone tag.  (1) Leave a specific message .That is, say what you were planning to say.  Don't stop after name and number. (2) Talk with your attorney's assistant if the attorney is not available.  Often, the assistant can answer your questions.  (3) If the assistant can't immediately answer your question, let him./her call you back with the answer or information you need.

Don't get locked into the pointless exercise of telephone tag!  Save time and money.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Phone Calls

Plan Ahead

If you want to save some time and money on your divorce, plan your phone calls to your lawyer before you pick up a phone. Organize your thoughts.  Write down all the questions you can think of.  Try to figure out solutions ahead of time and then you can discuss them with your lawyer. Sometimes it's hard to reach your attorney by phone, so make each call count!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Want An Amicable Divorce?

The stereotype of divorce is a bitter fight between former lovers who now hate each other.  That is an image that often shows up in movies.  While that is what happens sometimes, a more common situation is two parties who have grown apart or who are tired of fighting, whether it's over almost everything or over just a few issues.

What I'm seeing more of is people looking for an "amicable divorce".  There's no single definition of that term, but generally it refers to a divorce where the fighting is minimized and is relatively civil when it occurs.  While that may not seem normal to some people, it is actually pretty common.

Here are some reasons why someone may be looking for an amicable divorce.  The parties ...
  • agree that they only want to use 1 attorney, usually to save money, but sometimes just to avoid fights brought on by the second attorney.
  • don't want to make the divorce into a big fight.
  • need help figuring out a few things even though they have worked through most issues.
  • want to hold the costs down.
  • want a fairly quick divorce, or at least are not opposed to it.
  • have just grown apart over the course of a long-term marriage.
  • still love or care for each other.
  • have kids (sometimes grown) and they don't want to upset the kids.
  • believe in fairness.
  • sometimes, mainly are looking for an attorney to act as a scribe to write up the papers based on their agreements.
So, how can you and your spouse get an amicable divorce?

Rule #1:  choose your attorney wisely. Some lawyers don't believe in amicable divorces.  Look for a Collaborative attorney.  He or she will be more open to customizing and creating new solutions.  Plus, a Collaborative lawyer will already be attuned to a peaceful resolution.

Avoid any lawyer you don't feel comfortable with.  Avoid non-refundable retainers.  Also, if someone insists on a course of action that you don't want, for example having a temporary hearing, or tells you exactly what to do or how everything will go.Some lawyers don't listen to their own clients.

Remember, almost no divorce is inexpensive, but you save money by not fighting.  If you have assets or children or any difficulties, there will be some cost associated with it.  Divorce is normally not cheap, but an amicable divorce should cost much less than a divorce with a lot of fighting in it.

Stay on good terms with your spouse. That saves money.

Be able to explain how the deal meets your spouse's needs as well as yours.  The deal must be mutually beneficial if you want to keep the divorce amicable.

Good luck!