What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Lawyer’s Advice?
As with any professional whom you seek out and retain for advice, and in the case of an attorney, representation on a legal matter, it is wise to follow the advice given. Before retaining the professional, you should feel confident he or she knows about and has experience in the field of expertise you need. In the case of a lawyer, you can check on his or her website and contact the state Bar for information. On the website, you can determine the educational background, years of experience, services offered, areas of representation, marital status, community involvement, professional awards, and client and peer reviews. Many lawyers offer a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can bring your list of questions and learn how that particular lawyer would represent you. You can also get a feel for personality and likability and learn the fee schedule and payment expectations. Assuming you do your homework before hiring a lawyer, you shouldn’t have trouble following your lawyer’s advice. But what if you decide you don’t want to follow your lawyer’s advice, what can happen?
To begin with, you will almost immediately lessen or destroy the positive working relationship you will have created between you and your lawyer. He or she will give advice based on facts and what is the best way to handle a situation from their knowledgeable education and experience. Lawyers know the intricacies of the law while you probably do not. By taking the law into your own hands, your lawyer will feel you no longer trust his or her advice, and there will likely be “hard feelings.” A lawyer, if he or she feels they can no longer represent you properly can take themselves off your case and you will then find yourself starting over.
Another thing to consider when failing to follow your lawyer’s advice is that the opposing party can possibly gain information and proof your lawyer does not want them to have as it could damage your case. For example, if your lawyer tells you not to post pictures or information on social media regarding your financial acquisitions, romantic relationships, or expensive pleasure trips, and you do so anyway, you may find you will pay a lot more alimony as you were using marital money to pay for your “flings.” Not listening to your lawyer’s advice can make it much more difficult for him or her to get a good outcome for you. If you are seeking a divorce in Florida, it is a no-fault state but not a state where you can spend marital money any way you choose without a possible consequence.
And, speaking of money, not following your lawyer’s advice can be costly. Not only can you lose in terms of financial outcomes, not following your attorney’s advice can cause you other consequences as well. Your lawyer will advise you not to lie or omit information on financial disclosure, interrogatories, or order to produce and if you choose to do so and it can be proven you are in trouble with the court. Again, the opposing party will benefit financially, and you will lose financially and could even be charged with contempt of court.
Lawyers don’t give advice unless they know what they are talking about. He or she hopes to gain the best outcome possible for you and so needs your full cooperation to be able to do so. Just remember, following your lawyer’s advice is good advice, so take it and benefit. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida, in New York or Washington, DC, Attorney Grant Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation for those needing advice and representation regarding Family Law. He can meet with you Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and for new clients, Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. The number to call for an appointment is (561) 530-4568.