Dealing with a separation or divorce can be extremely stressful. Your working relationship with your lawyer should not add to your stress. There are many articles and blogs out there focused on how lawyers can provide excellent service to their clients and we want to be excellent service providers. In order for us to be at our best it is certainly helpful if our clients work well with us too. If you have ever wondered how to make the most out of your relationship with your lawyer, I might suggest the following tips:

Be prepared

Working with a lawyer requires teamwork. We are inhibited from doing our jobs at our best if we lack information from you. If we ask you to provide details or documents it is extremely helpful if you provide that information to us the first time we ask. If there is some reason that you cannot provide the requested information to us, tell us. It is an inefficient use of your time and ours if we have to follow up with you several times to obtain missing information.

Be honest

If you have read some of our blogs before you know that we will always tell our clients to “wear their halo”. In other words, act as though everything you say or do will be put under scrutiny at some point and make sure you are treating people with courtesy and respect at all times. It can be difficult and sometimes one’s halo becomes tarnished. If that is the case, then being dishonest with your lawyer about the circumstances does not serve to help anyone. Particularly with respect to parenting matters, it is beneficial to acknowledge when you have made a mistake as that humanizes you and demonstrates you have been able to show maturity in recognizing your own flaws. If you hide things from your lawyer, we have no way of addressing them and we will be caught off guard. Ensuring that your lawyer is as prepared as possible means giving them all of the important information.

Consider your communication

Sometimes emotions run high and it can be tempting to fire off an email to your lawyer as he or she may be the only person who fully understands what is going on in your life. Waiting for a response can be challenging. I invite you to put yourself in our position and consider your matter objectively. While there are a lot of occurrences that are highly troubling, concerning, or upsetting, that does not necessarily mean that they are urgent. If a parent absconds with a child or the police are knocking on your door, those are certainly urgent matters that require immediate attention. If your co-parent has run late yet again for an exchange for parenting time or is late paying child support, those issues, while important, may not necessitate an immediate response. Managing your expectations about what a lawyer can realistically do and when one can realistically expect a response can help limit your stress and worry.