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How Should You Communicate with Your Family Law Lawyer?

Posted by Mariya Furman | Jul 21, 2022

Cooperation and effective communication with your family law attorney are crucial during a divorce. To increase your chances of a favorable outcome, you need to know what is expected from you, which will be discussed below. So, how to communicate with your attorney?

Start with being concise, organized, and sticking to facts. We are on the clock for time spent on telephone calls. We've had conversations go for hours that could be a few minutes. We are happy to listen, but clients need to remember that we can only help with legal problems, and longer calls take more time. We are not emotional therapists.

How Should You Communicate with Your Family Law Lawyer?

You don't need to speak with your lawyer every day, but it's essential to keep in contact by phone or e-mail about the status of your case every few weeks. The frequency of communication will always depend on the details of your case.

Suppose you have a hearing in a California family law court, a settlement conference, or during the discovery process where each spouse seeks documentation? In that case, communication between you and your divorce lawyer will be more frequent.

Our family law lawyers communicate with our clients by phone or email throughout their case.  A seasoned attorney knows clear and effective communication with their clients will give them a better chance at their preferred outcome.

In other words, you can play a vital role in your divorce through cooperation and proper communication. Our California divorce and family law attorneys will provide some tips below on how you should communicate with your attorney.

Give Your Family Law Lawyer the Truth

While this might seem obvious, some clients choose not to give their attorney all the information by intentionally omitting specific facts. In other words, when your family law lawyer asks you for detailed information, you need to give them honest information, even if it will negatively impact you. Don't hold anything back.

California Divorce Laws

Your lawyer is on your side and can't disclose anything you tell them. As discussed further below, you have legal protections under the attorney-client privilege that keep your communications confidential. Family law lawyers can't efficiently do their job unless you provide all of the facts about your case, such as issues over:

Perhaps the information could be harmful to your case? It doesn't matter because your lawyer is your ally and your legal advocate. Your family law lawyer can't determine how to use helpful information and be adequately prepared to respond to weaknesses if you don't tell them truthful information.

We will make the process easier by asking for specific information rather than a broad open topic.  We know you might not understand all the family laws and could be confused by the process, so we will remain patient in gathering all the relevant information.

It would help if you remembered that you are the only person who knows the location of some important documents or witnesses that might be needed in your divorce. Put simply, if you are not truthful, your divorce could take much longer and be more expensive.

Don't omit details, but we don't need you tossing out insults about your spouse. This will not help your case and is a waste of time. Stick to the facts.

There Are Always Two Sides to Every Story

All family law lawyers know that going through a divorce can be an emotional roller coaster for most spouses. You may allegedly be a victim of domestic violence and have extreme opinions about your former spouse, but remember that your opinions are not always facts.

California Family Law Lawyer

Your spouse, in all likelihood, will tell a different story, and you need to remember that there are almost always two sides to every story. Knowing this will make planning a strategy for the best possible outcome easier.

This is related to communication with your lawyer because it falls under the umbrella of providing them with complete information. For example, perhaps your spouse wants full custody of the children because they believe you are an unfit parent due to:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse,
  • History of mental illness,
  • History of domestic violence or child abuse,
  • Not adequately involved in child's life,
  • Child's feelings toward one parent,
  • Harmful home environment.

Thus, communicating with your lawyer about upcoming allegations is crucial to preparing a defense.  You need to tell your lawyer what your spouse will say about a story over alleged child abuse, for example, and not just your account.

Consider what your spouse will say, even if they are wrong or just lying. In this manner, your family law attorney can prepare to provide proof they are incorrect.

What is the Attorney-Client Privilege?

Another factor that is related to communicating with your family lawyer is having an understanding of the attorney-client privilege. This legal privilege says that confidential communication with your lawyer will remain private.

This means you can be open and honest with your lawyer as you work together on your divorce case, but you should know there are some limitations. For instance, this privilege only protects confidential communications.

If you decide to tell the entire neighborhood about your divorce case, you should expect your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to find out about the details. Likewise, if you are speaking to your divorce attorney over the speakerphone with others close by, you can't expect the information to remain confidential.

If you contact your divorce lawyer about committing fraud or another type of crime, your communications won't always be private. In some cases, you could find yourself with some legal issues.

Closely Listen to Your Divorce Attorney

When you are talking to your family law lawyer, you need to understand they can't make any guarantees on getting what you are seeking in a divorce. That's not how California family law courts work, as there are too many different factors to consider.

California Divorce Attorneys

All divorces require some level of compromise. This means you won't necessarily end up keeping the family home or the family car because you are emotionally attached to them. It also means you might not get full custody of the kids because you believe you are the better parent. Your lawyer should tell you this, so you need to listen carefully.

Stop listening to other family members or friends at work tell you what should happen because they are often wrong. While they have good intentions, they don't generally know all the family laws. In other words, sometimes, you need to hear accurate information rather than what you want to hear.

We know that saying you should closely listen to your attorney sounds like elementary school, but many people don't always follow the advice. Often, they are emotionally distraught and vulnerable. It's a difficult, life-changing time in their life. 

This is one of the reasons it's essential that you genuinely listen when your lawyer explains the laws that apply to your divorce case. If you don't understand the legal terms, ask for more information. Furman and Zavatsky are California divorce and family law attorneys in Los Angeles County, California. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case by phone or use the contact form.

About the Author

Mariya Furman

Attorney Mariya Furman is licensed to practice before all of the Courts of the State of California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Case Illinois I...

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Family law disputes have the potential to have a significant impact on your quality of life and overall happiness. As a result, it is critical for you to protect your rights to the fullest extent possible when involved in a dispute related to family law. The lawyers of Furman & Zavatsky have the skill and experience to resolve your case as favorably as possible and provide compassionate and understanding legal counsel and representation. We also offer flat fee legal services for divorce and family law issues.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys, call our office today at 818-528-3471. Read our blog on how to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.

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