Misconceptions of Working With A Rock Hill Family Law Attorney
Below are the most common misconceptions that we see as skilled family law attorneys. More accurately, people need to know that their attorney will help them navigate the court system, advocate for them, advise them on their legal rights and responsibilities, and assist them to find solutions and options that will be the best fit for their families.
Common Misconceptions Regarding Family Lawyers
One of the most common misconceptions about hiring or working with a Rock Hill family attorney is that you have to then have to fight about everything. In my experience, many clients are shocked when I tell them that the overwhelming majority of family law cases settle without having a trial. Most people think, “I don’t want to have to get a lawyer; and if I do get one, it’s automatically going to make everything more difficult. My spouse is going to hate me, and I’ll have to spend tens of thousands of dollars because we are going to have a trial.” Most people I come across are unaware that South Carolina family court has mandatory mediation in most cases, and that before there trial, the court wants you to try to settle a case.
Another misconception is that some clients truly believe that if they hire an attorney, that they will then be able to get everything that they want. For example, a client think they are going to get every single piece of property that their spouse has, or that they can walk in and basically pay money to ensure that they’re going to get custody of their child. I often explain to clients that although the family court does have a broad range of power, there are legal statutes and case law that govern many aspects of a divorce, separation, or custody case. A more appropriate view would be that having a family law attorney will ensure that you have been properly advised of your legal rights in Rock Hill and responsibilities and that you will have the proper advocate to assist you in presenting the facts of your case in the most favorable light.
The Importance of Retaining an Experienced Rock Hill Attorney
First, the family court system can be difficult to navigate; it’s not exactly made for “pro se” or unrepresented clients. For example, most of the time, the only court experience someone has is in small claims or traffic court. Family court is much more adversarial-based and is not really made for people who represent themselves. Additionally, the clerk of court’s office cannot be much of assistance, because they cannot practice law and have to tread very carefully in the information they provide so as not to give legal advice. Even if an unrepresented party makes it past the clerk’s office and appears at a hearing, many family court judges will expect that this person knows the law and procedural rules as if he or she were an attorney.
Second, the majority of the time, there is going to be a Rock Hill attorney representing at least one party in a case, especially when children are involved. Unfortunately, when one party is represented and another is not, there is a definite disadvantage to the unrepresented party; as the represented party has the representation and advice of someone trained and experienced in the law and family court procedure.
Even if people have come to an agreement between themselves, I always recommend that they still need to have an attorney who can explain their rights and responsibilities, review the agreement, and provide advice and counseling on the agreement. In addition, although two parties may have the “outline” of an agreement decided, it is very important that you have someone who is knowledgeable in drafting a settlement agreement. If you do have a settlement agreement, whether it’s for a dissolution of marriage or for custody, you want to make sure that the agreement covers as many issues as are on the table right now and also that are foreseeable in the future, and that there are no unnecessary or unforeseen consequences of the agreement.
Finally, if negotiations or mediations fail and the divorce or other matter does get to a trial, then you want to be represented by an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in the courtroom in terms of arguing before the court, taking examination and cross-examination of witnesses and subpoenaing any records or discovery.