Whether it’s your first time in the courtroom or you have been there before, here are a few things to know (or remember) about preparing for a court date.
- Write down the address the day before and put it in your wallet or purse. This includes the street address, the floor and room number of the hearing. You may think you will remember, but on the day of the event when you are feeling stressed, you will be happy this is taken care of.
- Know in advance where and you are meeting your lawyer. He or she may want to meet with you in advance of the hearing/trial or simply walk in together.
- Be early. The judge will not wait for you. Plan accordingly for traffic backups, being lost, parking issues or car breakdowns. Being early will keep you from being late.
- Dress appropriately. Talk with your lawyer in advance regarding your appearance. Clean, neat and conservative is always best.
- Once you get there turn off the ringer on your phone. To be safe, turn off the entire phone. You won’t be talking to anyone during your hearing.
- Practice being quiet. Your lawyer is there to represent you. She will have prepared you in advance for what to expect when you get there. Do not speak in court unless your lawyer signals to you that it is okay.
- Depending on what you are appearing in court for, you may need to be prepared to complete paperwork or testify. Be sure to ask your lawyer what the possible outcomes may be for your court appearance so you can adequately prepare.
Court can be stressful, but taking the steps above can help to make it more pleasant.
You’ve never had to meet with a lawyer before, but something has occurred in your life to make it necessary. Maybe it’s a custody situation, maybe you are seeking a divorce, or maybe you need protection from an abusive partner. Regardless of the reason, here are a few things to keep in mind before meeting with your lawyer the first time:
- Be helpful. Bring any paperwork that can assist your lawyer to understand the case better or to aid in preparation for court. If you think it might be helpful, bring a copy for their reference. Also, provide things in writing such as your contact information, birthdate, name of the opposing party, the name of their legal counsel (if applicable), and any previous case information.
- Be organized. There’s a lot of information and paperwork involved in even the simplest case. The easier it is to sort through, the better it is for everybody.
- Be honest. If your lawyer asks you a question, give them an honest answer. If you did something wrong, be sure to tell your lawyer. It’s better to know the truth and prepare for it than be shocked by hearing it for the first time in front of the Judge.
- Be detailed. Don’t tell your lawyer only what the opposing party did and leave out how you reacted to it, etc. Your lawyer needs to know the entire truth if she is going to properly represent you in court.
- Be realistic. Understand that your lawyer will do all they can for you … but they are not miracle workers and must work within the rules of the law and the court system.
- Be focused. The more precise you can be, the more you may help your case!
Think of you and your lawyer as a team. You must work together with honesty and trust. Your lawyer wants you to be happy and to earn the outcome you are seeking, so be sure to do your part to keep the relationship positive and productive!
If you have been part of an adoption process before, you know it’s not always easy, but it is always worth it! November is National Adoption Month, and Minerich Law is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with many families in the Pittsburgh area to help them navigate the adoption process,
There are many types of adoptions:
- Kinship adoption
- Adoption of a child who is related to the adoptive parents is called kinship adoption. This is when a child is adopted by a grandparent, aunt, uncle or even an older brother or sister. The courts often prefer that students are adopted by family to try to maintain family connections.
- Independent adoption
- This adoption occurs when parents willingly allow their child to be adopted by others that they know and work with directly rather than go through an agency.
- International adoption
- This occurs when individuals choose to adopt a child from another country. There are many unique processes and rules that must be adhered to for each country and help by an agency is normally required.
- Stepparent adoption
- A common type of adoption – a stepparent adoption occurs when a parent’s new spouse adopts the parent’s child from a different partner. Usually, the consent of the other parent is required.
Regardless of the type of adoption, legal counsel is necessary. Minerich Law is experienced in all types of adoption and is here to help you with your adoption matter.
Few things make you as nervous as knowing that there is a court date in your future – especially when you have not yet secured an attorney for yourself. Looking for an attorney can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, but it is important whoever you choose makes you feel comfortable and confident.
- Ask for referrals of lawyers who specialize in the types of cases you are dealing with. Lawyers are not one size fits all. They specialize in family law, criminal law, personal injury, estate planning … and the list goes on and on. Talk to your friends, look online, and call your local bar association to find local lawyers in your area that can assist and make a list.
- Go online and research each lawyer. Look at their website, social media pages, and their reviews to see how others rated them. (Avvo and Facebook are two good places to start!)
- Select the top two or three lawyers and call their offices to schedule a *consultation. Most offices, like Minerich Law, offer free consultations to most potential clients. (Click here to see how to prepare for your first meeting with a lawyer!)
- Meet with your potential lawyer and ask lots of questions. Be sure to find out the fee structure and ask how they have handled cases like yours in the past. Take all of the information you may have on the case to share with them so that there can be healthy discussion about your case and you can get a feel of how they would approach it in court.
- Think about how you feel about your interaction with the lawyer and the office. Are they responsive to your questions and phone calls, do they appear professional, do they talk to you in a manner that makes you feel comfortable? Do you feel respected?
- Determine who you can afford. As much as you want a good lawyer, you also need to make sure you are working with someone you can afford. Legal fees can add up fast, especially for a difficult case.
Going to court can be intimidating, but having the right lawyer by your side will make an enormous difference in how anxious you feel and may reflect in the final outcome of the case.