The law is gender neutral and based on legislative and social policies. Representing a client well is a balance of skill and knowledge to use the facts and the law together to achieve an equitable result. Sometimes the client expects for a lawyer to tell them what they want to hear and expects the Judge to give them what they want. Please remember there is another side that may expect the same for himself or herself. It is a good lawyer’s job to understand the facts and the law and tell the client the truth about the process and system and advise clearly about reasonable expectations. Do you want a “yes man” that takes a lot of your money and then after enormous time and expense you see the need to compromise? Or do you want a lawyer that’s going to tell you the truth and get you there in a more cost-effective, productive fashion?
It is not ethical for one lawyer to represent both the husband and wife. Husband and wife each have separate rights which must be protected by a matrimonial attorney.
Have a consultation with the attorney to see if he or she has the personality, knowledge, and experience that makes you confident.
A client must be given a written agreement for legal services. It states the legal fees and how the client will be billed. The lawyer/client relationship must be one of communication and trust.
a. Clients have the right to be present to any court proceeding involving their case unless otherwise directed by the court.
b. Clients have the right to be provided copies of all documents presented to the court in their matter unless otherwise ordered by the court.
c. Clients have the right of reasonable access to their attorneys.
d. Clients have the right to make the final decision as to whether, when and how to settle their cases.
a. Clients shall provide accurate information to their attorneys.
b. Client shall be available to participate and to respond to requests from their counsel.
c. Clients shall advise their attorneys of any change in their lives that might affect the handling of their matter.
d. Clients shall not take any position for any improper purpose, such as to delay the proceeding or intentionally increase the costs to other litigants.
e. Clients shall not seek to use their attorneys for any improper means.
f. Clients shall provide sufficient time for their attorneys to explain to them the financial costs and other ramifications of a potential action in their matter and reasonably to consider the advice of their attorneys.
Tanya Helfand is a Certified Matrimonial attorney. She also is a long-standing member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). Please call our office at 973-428-0800 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free ½ hour consultation.