The perfect client

What a lawyer thinks of as a “perfect client” in the domestic relations sense is a client who helps the process of the dissolution, custody, or support matter along. We know how hard this process is to be going through, but it can be a much more difficult process the longer it drags on — and a much more expensive one for you. (Although we like getting paid as much as anyone else, we believe we should be problem-solvers, not problem-creators.)

Good attorneys will always treat their clients — all of their clients — with the same professionalism and respect they treat any other client. However, by helping us help you, you can make the process smoother, lower your costs, and get a better result! Here are some things you can do to help your attorney in your domestic relations case, to make things run more smoothly.

  • Tell us everything — the good, the bad, the ugly. We want to know the nastiest things the other side might throw at us, true or not. If you have hidden sources of income, a stake in Anna Nicole Smith’s love nest in the Bahamas, or a rare coin collection, we need to know and plan accordingly.
  • Provide us with your tax, banking, investment, insurance, titles to cars and whatnot, and any other requested information quickly in the process (if you can bring this stuff to your first meeting, we might very well cry with joy). If you’re not in a place where you can get the information, sign a release that allows the attorney to request the information on your behalf.
  • Keep in contact with us. We’ll provide you with frequent updates, but there are times when we need to get in contact with you quickly, too.
  • Similarly, let us know the best way to contact you. If you’re one of those people who hates checking her voicemail but lives on her computer (wait, that would be me when I’m at home), let us know your email address and if that’s a better way to stay in touch.
  • Understand that a contested divorce may take a while, even if it ultimately settles. We want closure for you as soon as we can get it, too, but not at the expense of a good settlement for you.
  • If your case involves child custody, parenting time, or support, sign up and follow through with the mandatory education classes as soon as you can.
  • Remember that your attorney is there to give you expert advice and recommendations, but isn’t going to be able to make the final decision about whether or not you should take a settlement. He can and will tell you if it’s a good idea or a bad idea, and what the benefits and pitfalls of an offer might entail, but the ultimate decision is going to be yours.
  • Also, if you don’t like the way negotiations may be headed, if you change your mind about the way the case is going, or if you’re just generally unhappy about something, please say so. We’d much rather know about it (and fix it) than to find out much, much later that you’d been unhappy for a very long time.

Advice aside, we know that this may be the, or one of the most difficult times of your life. We treat all of our clients as we would hope to be treated under the same circumstances: with diligence to their case, courtesy, the utmost respect, and the highest level of customer service possible.

About Sean Stephens

By Sean Stephens Google + Sean Stephens is divorce and family law lawyer, and a founding member of Stephens & Margolin LLP He was born in Eugene, Oregon and is a fourth generation Oregonian. Sean Stephens attended the University of Oregon, and graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in English Literature. His psychology studies emphasized early childhood development. You can find more about Sean Stephens at Stephens & Margolin LLP Follow him
This entry was posted in Child Custody, Child Support, Dissolution. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The perfect client

  1. Pingback: Divorce Zone » Blog Archive » How to Hire the Right Divorce Lawyer

  2. Pingback: » Seeking perfection

  3. Pingback: Are you the perfect client for a divorce lawyer? : Jersey Divorce & Family Law

  4. vmedina says:

    Great post. Out of the things you listed, I think that client communication, from both the client and the attorney, is the most important. It serves as the basis for effective management of expectations and helping clients see the sitaution objectively.

    I commented on your post here – http://www.jerseyfamilylawblog.com/2007/10/17/are-you-the-perfect-client-for-a-divorce-lawyer/

    Thanks for the great content –

    Victor
    http://www.jerseyfamilylawblog.com

  5. Pingback: Divorce Help Network » Are you the perfect client for a divorce lawyer?

  6. Wini says:

    I live in Ca and my husband lives in Or. He is a physician, older, still has a small private practice that makes little money. I have been in Ca trying to make some real money for almost 4 years. We have been together for 21 years and married for almost 17. He has been involved in a romantic and emotional relationship with a woman. She has visited him in our home when I was working in Ca on several occassions. I don’t know if they met elsewhere or he went to her home because he isn’t saying. I do know that although it might be a primarily phone relationship, they say they are in love with each other and they are planning a trip to Paris in Feb. That is how I found about it. He wants to divorce me in Oregon because he made a lot of money during his career, so he should get most of the property, but now, even though he works he doesn’t make much money. Since I went down to Ca in order to make a better money for us I now make enough money, especially since I was working overtime to pay him support. Is there anyone out there who has gone through a dificult divorce in Oregon that might be able to help me? Needless to say, I filed first but now he has filed to and it’s going to be case of who can keep away from the process server longest.

  7. This is helpful information – thanks for sharing.

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