The paralegal in a family law case plays a critical role in gathering and organizing information important to the issues in your case and serving as a front line of communication between client and attorney. As a client, you will work very closely with the paralegal assigned to your case to prepare for hearings and mediation and it takes hard work from you as well to ensure we are well-prepared. It is important to remember that a paralegal cannot give legal advice, but there are many other ways in which the paralegal can and will help you through the legal process. Our experienced and professional paralegals stand ready to help you and want to do so as efficiently as possible. This article will look at the role the paralegal plays in your case and the ways in which you can help keep your legal costs down.
Family law practice can generate a large amount of paperwork. This aspect of your case alone warrants an entire article. Your paralegal will assist you in preparing a Financial Standings Affidavit and an Asset and Debt Listing (also called an Equitable Distribution (“ED”) Listing). Your paralegal will help you to answer interrogatories (questions) and requests for production of documents we may receive from opposing counsel. The preparation of these documents requires a great deal of “homework” on your part. Your paralegal will give you tips to make the task less daunting. In general, you will be expected to provide bank and credit card statements, paystubs, tax returns, credit reports, your social security statements, and documents that show property and account values and debt balances. Statements for a year prior to the date of separation and through the present are needed. You should work on pulling together these documents and providing them to your paralegal as soon as possible. You will need to provide other documents as the issues warrant. For example, cell phone records and downloaded text messages will support allegations of marital misconduct. You and your paralegal will discuss additional documents necessary given the unique circumstances of your case.
It cannot be stressed enough that communication is key in the paralegal-client relationship, just as it is between attorney and client. Your paralegal should be your first point of contact during the life of your case, unless you need legal advice from the attorney. Your time and legal costs will be best spent by maintaining timely communications with us and being mindful of the deadlines and timeframes associated with your case. We communicate by email often and count on you as the client to check emails regularly and respond in a timely manner. We will also be in touch by phone as necessary and always need to have the preferred contact information for you. Your paralegal will keep you updated on hearings, deadlines and provide you with copies of all communications we send and receive related to your case. Communication is key in keeping your case moving forward. As the client, you should contact us anytime you have any questions or concerns about your case.
Working diligently with your paralegal on the front end of the case will allow more efficient use of your time and money when preparing for hearings and mediation. Your paralegal wants to arm your attorney with an arsenal of strong supporting documentation; this is crucial to reach the outcome that is in your best interests.
Efficient and Through Legal Assistance
Your paralegal wants to help you make the most of your legal costs. As our client, you can keep your costs down by doing all that you can to gather the documents necessary for your case and providing them in an organized fashion as soon as possible. Our experience allows us to help you focus on documents or information that will be most helpful in your case; however, in the end, we cannot do our job without your help to provide us with the information we need.