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attorney communication

My Attorney Never Communicates with Me: Help With Attorney Communication

Attorney communication: this is an all too often comment made by people going through a divorce.  People expect their attorney to be communicative with them.  They want to know that their lawyer is on their side and is keeping up with their case.  So why does it feel like your attorney is not working on your case as much as you want them to?

I can’t tell you whether your attorney is doing a good job or not. I surely don’t know how much time he or she spends on your case.  Having spent most of my professional career working with attorneys as well as having a total of five attorneys during my own divorce, I can tell you that most attorneys are very concerned for their clients.  So, given that information, why do you still feel ignored?

Attorneys Are Busy People, as We All Are

I know, I know, that is still no excuse for unanswered phone calls or emails.  I am not making excuses.  I am stating facts.  Let me rephrase this for you so you will better understand how attorneys work, especially family law attorneys.

How Do Attorney Retainers Work?

You provide your attorney with a retainer fee at the time you contract with them. Each time the attorney speaks with you, money is taken from that retainer. Next time you receive you receive your billing statement, you will notice (if you haven’t already) amounts apportioned to phone conversations with you.  This is because an attorney is much like an ad on television and that is you pay for “time.”  That is what is called billable hours.  If you think about it that way, you may want to limit the time you speak with your attorney.  The more you talk, the more you pay.

Do You Want to Cry on Your Attorney’s Shoulder?

Often people want their attorneys to be a shoulder to cry on or another set of ears in their divorce drama. The truth is that your attorney’s job is to dissolve your marriage contract and obtain a settlement for you.  Anything outside of that is really outside of their job description. If you need a shoulder to cry on, a good friend or a therapist is a better bet.

Of course, there are times when you must speak with your attorney.  Some attorneys have adopted the old adage that “No news is good news.”  That is a great way of saying if you don’t hear from them you can assume that the process is moving along as it should be. If that is not comfortable for you then it must be established early in the relationship with your attorney on how the two of you should communicate.  Outside of them contacting you when they need something for your case, set up a specific time for them to contact you weekly or maybe send you routine emails.  Be honest with your attorney on what works best for you and what gives you peace of mind.

Above all, recognize that your attorney has cases other than yours.  Your attorney also spends a great deal of time in court representing other people.

Any communication frustrations should be easily reduced once you establish a communication method that works for both of you.

For more information, see our guidebook about finding the right attorney.

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Susan Shofer

As a divorce and custody ally, she helps women and men navigate the troubled waters of a family breakup by sharing her own organized and pragmatic approach to the divorce process.

Susan successfully crossed her own highly contentious divorce and post-divorce battle and was triumphant in her fight against Parental Alienation.
Susan Shofer
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