All cases are different, but there are some generalities that apply to most cases we handle. Having a general idea about the process will help you prepare. For more specific information about case preparation and resolution, please see the type of legal matter, i.e., Collaborative Divorce, mediation, etc., that pertains to your particular situation.
- When you contact BKeen Law, one of our team will speak with you to set up an appointment to talk with Brenda Keen, our board-certified attorney. Most appointments are in person, but sometimes telephone appointments are made for clients unable to meet at our office in person.
- It is helpful to arrive early for your initial consultation in order to complete an information form that narrows down the issues that will be discussed with our attorney.
- If possible, make a list of questions to talk with the attorney about, so no important issue is missed in your initial consultation.
- The attorney will speak with you about some of the things that may happen during the lawsuit, and additional information that may be necessary if you decide to hire us to represent you.
Working Your Case in the Collaborative Model
Collaborative Divorce is preferred choice in many circumstances. Decisions are placed in the hands of the two parties as opposed to the litigated model where all is in the hands of the court. Privacy can be better maintained in collaborative divorce and relationships for continued parenting are better preserved after the divorce is complete.
Working Your Case in the Litigated Model
BKeen Law only advises litigation as a last resort as it can be expensive, unpredictable, and can cause damage to restructured relationships especially where children are involved.
- After BKeen Law is hired, we will begin preparing the required paperwork that needs to be filed.
- One or more hearings may be scheduled on various issues. If so, we will coordinate with you about those hearings and how to prepare for them. You may need to come in to the office to talk with us further, or provide us with documents that we will use as exhibits. Often, these things will need to be done quickly. Good communication is key, and during your case you should make sure you check your mailbox every day, and stay up to date with your email and telephone messages.
- Discovery may be required in your case, either because you need more information before going forward, or because the other side does. Generally, the process of “discovery” is where one side requests documents and/or asks questions of the other side. The other side must produce the documents requested and answer the questions. There are rules that apply to this process, and you should be prepared to work closely with us during this time.
- In family law cases, there could be a social study, psychological evaluations, or appraisals of property that need to be completed. Each of these processes has its own set of requirements and possible time frames for completion. We will discuss those items in detail as they occur in your particular case.
- Once both sides have all the information they need, it will be time to seek resolution of your case. This are many ways to resolve a case, including settlement discussions, mediation, arbitration, or final trial before a judge or jury. Depending on your case, we could try to resolve the case through any or all of these methods. Your role will be to work with us and you will make decisions about the best way to proceed. However, please know that because the court’s dockets are crowded, almost any case set for trial will be required to attempt to mediate the case before going to trial.
Finalizing Your Case
- Once BKeen Law has resolved your case, there are final documents to be prepared. One side will prepare the documents and the other side will have a chance to review them and make changes. Many different documents are required to complete your case and to make sure all of your issues are handled. For instance, dividing retirement in a divorce often requires a separate order that must be prepared in addition to the Final Decree of Divorce.
- Going to Court — Most cases do require a court appearance of some kind. This is where the Judge will hear any testimony necessary to finalize the case, and will sign your final orders.
- Finishing Up — After the final orders are signed, there may be various actions to be taken, such as filing deeds or other documents, waiting on retirement plans to approve orders, etc. Our office will identify these actions and work with you to decide how to complete them.