Most times when you get served with papers, or when the time comes that you need to serve someone, you’re not in a position to dish out large amounts of cash to hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney is seen as a privilege, not a necessity. Sometimes people put off going to a doctor until it’s too late. They’re left pushing a hernia back in and screaming in pain until they finally give in… (Friend’s reference…) The problem is that pain is obvious… as well as a huge bulging mass is pretty obvious too… a mismanaged case is harder to notice. Sometimes people let their case go on mismanaged for so long that it’s past the point of being fixed. We get many phone calls where someone has filed their own pleadings, motions, and, sometimes, in the worst case scenarios, they have even tried a portion of the case themselves. At that point, they show up in our office pleading for help to revive their case often begging to get their children back. Here’s why you should’ve called us before the hernia is bulging and radiating pain:
- Time is of the essence. There are certain LEGAL time limits for cases. You have a limited amount of time to file certain responses. Ignorance of those time limits is not an excuse. Ignoring those time limits is no excuse. Without an attorney, or with a bad attorney, you are held to the same time constraints of someone with a knowledgeable attorney. In rare circumstances, people are given a small amount of leeway in order to get their affairs in order before the Judge “throws the book at them,” but those are short lived. Further, it’s even rarer that an attorney will take your case if the trial is the next day. Even those who are living off of ramen and butter noodles will not want to risk their reputation by walking into a courtroom unprepared! As much as we wish that TV were real life, most of us don’t like to rush into a courtroom with little or no preparation like Alicia Florrick because, for us, the scene isn’t scripted.
- Filing your own pleadings is risky. ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU! Do NOT file your own pleadings without hiring an attorney. There’s only so much we can take back from what you’ve stated in black and white. If you lie, admit to affairs, or provide bank records directly to the court without knowing the consequences… you’re essentially making the other side’s case. The last thing we want to see is your angry response written in all bold letters sounding like you should be locked away in a mental ward when you’re requesting custody.
- It can actually become more expensive. People think they can get through the first part of a case without hiring an attorney because they think it’s the easiest portion. They don’t realize until they’re months down the road drowning in overdue paperwork that they should have called us sooner. Say you have appendicitis and you ignore it. Does it get better? No. Your appendix explodes and all that nasty goo is now floating around your insides. Then your doctor has to spend extra time cleaning you up inside and giving you additional antibiotics to keep you from becoming septic. Does that make things a little more expensive? Yeah, probably so. Our job is like that. Except… not so gross. We’re having to fix all the boo boo’s that have been made and sometimes a band-aid isn’t going to fix the damage.