I have seen a lot of civil lawyers who have gotten into family law, and a good family law attorney would know how to settle a case. As a lawyer, it is very nice to be able to work with opposing counsel who is a family law attorney because we can generally see eye-to-eye on issues and there isn't too much back and forth because we both know where the case needs to go.
Some lawyers and even family lawyers just want to make a lot of money and do not necessarily care about the clients. The legal fees due to an aggressive lawyer can eat up those legal fees when it is not necessary to do that.
A person who was representing themselves might be more skeptical when an attorney tries to tell them how to settle a case, and by law, the attorney would have to deal with them if the court required them to meet and confer to try and settle the case. Common sense states that sometimes they do not want to settle the case, although sometimes it really helps to hire the right attorney.
It is great when there are two family lawyers who know what they are doing, although some might not have a good reputation and are out there just to soak up the legal fees. It would not be the best deal for the client because they could wind up paying that one lawyer, when they could have gotten to the endgame without paying all of that money.
What Could Happen If Someone Did Not Hire An Attorney?
Someone who does not get legal advice runs the risk of losing a lot of property and losing their spousal support. I have met people who decided they wanted to use a paralegal and although certain independent paralegals are actually pretty good, they are not allowed to give legal advice, so they would not have the same duty as an attorney would have to the client, with regards to educating them about the legal circumstances of the case.
I have seen people who had signed away on a divorce judgment and then tried asking for spousal support years down the line. Generally speaking, the party would unfortunately lose out on their ability to come back to court especially if they had written down that the court loses jurisdiction over spousal support or if they said they did not want spousal support. If they had been given some legal advice, they probably would have reconsidered waiving or giving up their right to that spousal support. It is really important to get some general knowledge about the laws.
Can Someone Use A Paralegal For Their Divorce Case?
I would generally advise against using a paralegal if people were not married for a very long time, like maybe a couple of years, although sometimes it might be that all they need is to get a paralegal to handle something. This might be an option in a simple matter where no property needed to be divided up and they just needed the paperwork.
I do limited scope for clients for certain cases where people sometimes cannot afford to have a lawyer, so I would sometimes charge a flat fee just to go into the court, for the morning or the entire day, depending on the each client's circumstances.
Generally speaking, I would go to court on a limited scope basis if they needed a lawyer in the court to get some advice, so the person would have access to an attorney for that day. The client would not have to hire an attorney on a fully retainer basis in this way, but they would still have somebody in court which would give them a lot of flexibility in California.
I believe people should have access to a lawyer, but it can be tough because a lawyer would have to run his business while wanting to be able to assist others who could not necessarily afford a retainer, so they would need to come up with a reasonable fee so the person would be able to have an attorney in court with them.
People sometimes get nervous when they have to go to court and a lot of clients do not go back to court unless they have an attorney with them, so the limited scope option gives people a really good option to have representation in court. The litigants tend to get nervous, they might not know what to say or they might forget to say something because there is a judge in a robe looking down upon them, although lawyers can deal with it just fine.
How Would Having A Lawyer Benefit The Case?
The party would want to make sure they could at least say what they needed to say in regards to their children, and having a lawyer there would generally help. People sometimes say they will not go to court unless they have a lawyer because they notice the night and day difference when they try to do it themselves. They also make the same big mistakes in custody cases, where they try to do it themselves first and then have to dig themselves out of the hole because they did not set up the case the right way.
The court could make a decision and the other side might get the upper hand because somebody decided to go in without at least getting legal advice on a case or going in without their presentation. Parties have told me that it makes a big difference having a lawyer, it is not like magic but it is just because of their presence.
There are probably come judges who are less likely to take advantage of people in court, there might be some judges who just want to push a case through to get the cases off their calendar for that day. I would tell people to definitely be aware of the 299 divorce, and not think they would necessarily get the entire case done but if they did and that person happened to do a great job, then that would be great, although I have not heard of that happening.
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