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How to Help Your Attorney in Your Divorce or Family Law Case

Include All Background History:

Your lawyer will need to know all background history in a case in order to adequately represent you in your legal proceeding. Background may include any past court documents, cases, judgments, police reports, DCFS reports, reports of abuse, past relationship background information, income, education, etc. If it is a personal detail that is pertaining to the case then your attorney will need to be informed about it and you can ask your attorney if they need such information. If there are any “skeletons in the closet” let your attorney know as soon as possible so that they will keep these matters in mind when deciding which legal tactic is right for your particular case (Arrest, DUI, Criminal Conviction, Children out of Wedlock, New Romantic Partner). It is better for your attorney to know about any negative past history beforehand rather than getting surprised in court or other legal proceedings or getting blind sighted by unknown information during trial. I would be preferable for you to give your lawyer too much information rather than too little, because even small details can help your attorney prepare your case, and identify solutions to remedy legal issues.

Legal Documents:

Again legal documents may be required to reconfirm background history in a family law case. In some situations it may be difficult for you to supplement reports and or information; however, it is important to notify your lawyer about the existence of any such documents that may be entered into evidence—as they may subpoena them. If a report was made to authorities in a case give your attorney the necessary information to obtain the report; such as, names and birthdates of parties involved, addresses of parties involved, what is contained within the report, and the date of report occurrence. All legal documents legally obtained in the case can substantiate you claims with the court and may be entered into evidence at trial or in discovery processes. Even if there are legal documents that may exist are against you your attorney needs to have access to this information as it may actually serve as beneficial in your defense.


All evidence in your case needs to be obtained by legal means and any evidence information obtained by “illegal means” can be thrown out in the case or even worse work against you. If you have evidence that was obtained illegally and by criminal means then this information will not be admissible in court. For example if you have been restrained from stalking by the court, but you have photographic evidence you have taken, of the other party, during the same time period then this would be evidence collected by illegal means and inadmissible. It is advisable that any evidence provided for the court to be legitimate and accurate. Falsifications of evidence are considered fraudulent and if discovered may be addressed with punitive consequences; whereas, illegally obtained evidence, if discovered, can also lead to criminal charges. In order to determine if evidence is admissible it will need to be reviewed by your attorney. Avoid at all cost any entering of illegal evidence –if discovered it will negatively impact the results of your case. Lastly, evidence may build in the midst of your litigation in which case your attorney will need to be notified as soon as possible of any additional changes or evidence relevant to the case.

Do Not:

• Be deceptive about information concerning your case—lie or make efforts to conceal facts or information.
• Ignore phone calls or letters concerning your case
• Overload your attorney with information—unnecessary phone calls, emails, or dumping of unorganized information
• Do not sign court agreements or settlement without the approval of the attorney

Be Proactive:

Being proactive in your case is important in the determination and outcome in your legal case. The more involved you are at handling the case the more likely you will be at achieving your desired goals for resolving the legal matter—involvement means you have influence. By being proactive an individual may save time and money associated with attorney’s fees. An individual can become involved in their case in a number of ways and you may ask your lawyer which ways you may assist in obtaining information’s necessary for court.

Exemplary ways of being proactive are as follows:

• Do your own small task jobs- copying, organizing, etc.
• Obtain your own documents – records, police reports, etc.
• Organize all documents – scan in documents to electronic files if possible.
• Prior to phone calls of conferences make a list of topics or questions that need to be addressed.
• If possible pick up documents from attorney’s office to file with the court.