Everyone wants to know how to win their court case. The truth is, there is no way to guarantee a win, and in family law a win often doesn't look like a win anyway. But all is not lost, and there is way to you come out the other side happy and relatively stress free.
Here are some tips to give yourself the best chance of success in your case, allowing you to move on to a happy, conflict free life, and maybe even save some fees along the way.
Speak to a lawyer who is experienced in family law
There are lots of lawyers and lots of different kinds of law out there. Some lawyers do a bit of everything, others choose to focus their careers and practice on one particular area of law. The lawyer who has experience in family law, and doesn't do much else in other areas of law, is going to be more up to date with the law, and know more about the process you need to follow. This means that they will guide you through the process, and will know how to avoid expensive issues and mistakes.
Be prepared and be prompt
If you are asked to provide information to your lawyer, do it, and make sure you do it in an organised way. The more you are able to prepare and organise your own information, the less time your lawyer has to spend doing it for you, and this will ultimately save you fees. The less preparation you do upfront, the more changes your lawyer will need to make later, which leads to stress and increased fees for you.
You should also try to get back to your lawyer in a reasonable time frame when they ask you for information. Most lawyers have at least 100 different clients, and that's a lot of different lives and different stories to be on top of. If it takes you three or four weeks to get back to your lawyer and answer their questions, it is going to take your lawyer an hour just to figure out where your matter was last up to and what needed to be done next. This will ultimately increase your fees. If you respond promptly, your lawyer will be able to get on with your matter straight away, which will not only save you costs but also mean that more progress is getting made in your matter sooner.
Be honest with your lawyer
Your lawyer can only prepare for what you have told them in your case. So if there is something that your lawyer needs to know, you should tell them even if in your mind its irrelevant to your case, or its ancient history. Chances are that it isn't relevant, but if we don't know about it we can't prepare for it. For a lawyer one of the worst things is being in court and finding out information about your client that is important and needed to be considered in the case.
The advice that you are given is only as accurate as the information that you give
As well as being honest with your lawyer, it is important that remember that lawyers can only give information on what is in front of them. If you fail to provide clear information and instructions to your lawyer, you are limiting their capacity to represent you to the best of their ability. If you want success in your matter, you should clearly communicate your instructions, and provide your lawyer with all the information that they need to prepare the best case for you.
Don't try to be clever
Don't try to be clever and 'outsmart' the system or the other side. We are lawyers, we know the system inside out, and so does the other lawyer. The system is specifically designed to catch out people who think that they are clever so don't try to manipulate facts to suit your case. Don't 'accidentally' leave out information from your lawyer because you think no one will ever find out because someone will and when they do, you will have lost all credibility and almost any chance you had of convincing a judge that they should make a decision that favours you.
Trust the advice that you are being given
It is your lawyers' job to provide you with legal advice, and sometimes, you won't like what that advice is however you need to trust that your lawyer knows what they are doing and telling you for a reason. It's also important to remember that just because your friends-sisters-boyfriends-aunt had one outcome in her property settlement, doesn't mean that you will have the same one. Your lawyer is giving you advice based on your circumstances and your instructions. Your lawyer is always trying to put you in a position to make informed decisions in your case, and guide you through the most successful case that you can have.
Be open to alternatives and to a settlement
Remember that court is not the only option to resolve a dispute and that there are alternatives to help you reach an out of court settlement, which is usually better for everyone. Even if a settlement means compromising, your lawyer should help you consider what this will mean for you in the grand scheme of things. If you listen to what your lawyer says, and properly weigh up your options, you may find that a small 'loss' now will give you the freedom and finances that you need to move on to a successful and happy life.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.