1) Hire an experienced Charleston family law attorney.
Beware of real estate lawyers (for example only) who are trying to make the rent by picking up a family law case here and there.
2) Hire a reasonable Charleston family law attorney.
If you want to have an expensive war with your spouse, feel free to hire that attorney who was pounding the desk when you first met, and/or telling you that he/she would “take your spouse to the cleaners” – such behavior, and such words, are warnings to you that you are headed in the wrong direction.
3) Be very clear about your goals in the situation with your spouse.
You may be unclear about your goals or concerned that they may be unreasonable, or worried that they will not work in Family Court. You need to discuss your goals and set them with the help of your Charleston family law attorney. Do not let anyone else dictate your goals – determining them is a very personal and individual task. You should expect assistance and clarification and information from your attorney, but the final decision on your goals belongs to you. Be prepared for the possibility that the attorney with whom you are consulting may not be comfortable with either your goals or the prospects of obtaining them for you. In that circumstance, you should seek other counsel.
4) Be helpful: While setting your goals may be your task, obtaining your goals is the responsibility of your Charleston family law attorney.
He/she is responsible for knowing the procedural ways to get things done, and for pursuing those avenues. For your part, you should expect to be kept informed about the procedural route which is chosen, including what it involves and what you are expected to do be of assistance. First and foremost, be prepared to assist your attorney, and staff, in the information-gathering procedural stages. Be prepared to be frank and forthright in responding to questions, including but not limited to formal questions you may be asked to answer as part of the court process. If you have concerns or questions, you should express those. No one is a mind reader, which means that you have to communicate with your attorney and expect that in return.
5) Be reasonable (this cannot be stressed enough).
No resolution of any case or any issue is ever perfect. Nothing will unfold as you have seen it handled in a TV show, and generally nothing happens quickly. Be prepared to consider compromises. Be prepared to offer compromises. Be prepared and comfortable with your established goals – to include considering modifications as things evolve. Make sure that you listen carefully. Take notes. Make lists. Ask questions. Be pro-active by keeping pace with what is going on. Lastly, and most importantly, don’t sign anything until you are absolutely sure you understand it fully.