FAMILY COURT ATTORNEY
First make sure you understand what date you are due in court. If you don’t attend the hearing, the other party will get what he or she asks for.
Then call my office to schedule an initial consultation. Let my staff know you have a hearing date and need to meet with me as soon as possible. I charge a small flat fee for consultations.
At your initial consultation, which usually takes about an hour and a half, we’ll go over the facts of your case and set goals for what you hope to achieve. If you later retain me to represent you, I will credit the charge for the initial consultation off your retainer fee.
Do you have a hearing scheduled soon?
If so, it’s probably a Temporary Hearing. There’s no testimony allowed – instead the judge reads sworn statements from each side’s witnesses and then dictates a Temporary Order. It’s very important that these statements be on point, support your goals and follow the rules of evidence. You need an attorney to interview your witnesses and prepare these statements.
You need a professional advocate guiding your case from the start!
The Temporary Order will divide property on a temporary basis and may set alimony and/or temporarily prohibit the parties from doing certain things. If your case involves custody, the Temporary Order will state who gets temporary custody; who pays temporary child support; and will appoint a guardian ad litem (a lawyer who investigates the case and advocates for the child’s best interest). Things may turn out very differently by the end of the case, but you may have to live with the terms of this Temporary Order for months!
If you don’t have a hearing scheduled soon, you still have a deadline.
You have only a limited amount of time to file an Answer to the Complaint. The Complaint you were served with states the Plaintiff’s side of the story and asks for what s/he wants from the Court. You have only thirty days to serve an Answer, which is your response to the Complaint, and also to file and serve your Counterclaims. Counterclaims let the Court know what you want and the legal basis for your requests. After our initial consultation, I will prepare these documents for you, file them with the Court, and serve them on the other party.