How Are Family Law Attorneys Expected to Handle a Decision Made by the Judge? Do They Call Their Client and Explain It? Do They Have Their Office Manager Send the Decision to Their Client Without Explanation?

This is a great question because it is so basic, yet so important. These are the kinds of questions a client needs to have answered understood before he or she can ask—and understand the answers to—more complex questions.

My guess is that you may be asking this question at a point where you have yet to experience going through family law/domestic relations legal proceedings. Thank you for having the guts to ask a question like this.

In many situations in family law legal proceedings, the client will be in court with his or her lawyer at the time of a hearing, so the client will be there to see and hear the decision that the judge makes from the bench when the hearing is over. In those situations, the client does not have to worry about whether his or her lawyer will inform him of the decision because the client was there himself or herself to hear the decision of the judge. but even in those circumstances, a client may not understand what the judge was saying or what the effect of the judge’s decision will be on the client. In those situations, the client needs to make sure to ask his/her lawyer to explain what the client does not understand and to answer the questions the client may have about the impact of the judge’s decision, and should be proactive in advising the client what to do going forward in light of and in compliance with the judge’s decision.

There will be other times when the judge will not state his or her decision from the bench orally, but will do what is known as taking the matter under advisement after the hearing is over and issuing a written decision later. Sometimes the judge will tell you when to expect the judge’s written decision (the judge will tell you and your lawyer that the judge expects to get the decision written within the next week or 10 days or whatever period of time the judge states). some judges will simply tell you that you will get the judge’s decision when you get the judge’s decision. Even in those situations, there are rules that govern how long a judge can take before he or she must issue that written decision. It is important for a client to inquire with his or her lawyer to ensure that the lawyer send the client a copy of the judge’s written decision. Good lawyers will forward to the client a copy of the judge’s decision as soon as the lawyer receives it himself/herself. Unfortunately, however, not all lawyers are good lawyers. Not all lawyers will send their clients copies of the documents that the judges issue or that opposing counsel sends to them. Clients need to ensure that they are monitoring and policing their own case. They should not, unfortunately, believe that their lawyers will timely keep them informed of what is going on in their cases.

If ever you believe that your lawyer is not keeping you apprised of what is happening in your case and is not doing what needs to be done in your case, not reacting as quickly and effectively as he or she should, and not taking proactive measures as quickly and effectively as he or she should, do not be afraid to raise these concerns with your lawyer. You don’t have to do so in an overly aggressive or snotty way, nor do you have to do it obsequiously or with fear and trembling before your attorney. one of the things you are entitled to as a client is to be kept informed of what’s going on in your case and informed of what your options are so that you can make timely educated decisions about your case.

Good lawyers will not only send their clients copies of court orders and other documents that are generated in the course of the case, but they will also explain what these documents mean and why they were prepared or received at a particular time and what effect the documents or their content will have on the client and on the client’s case. Good lawyers will answer their clients’ questions about what is happening in their cases. But a good client will not sit back and wait for his or her good lawyer (or is a bad or mediocre lawyer, as the case may be) to anticipate and to answer the client’s questions and concerns. A good client will ask thoughtful questions and will thoughtfully receive them and consider them.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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