In any type of family court proceeding it may seem as though everything that happens between you and the other party should be immediately reported to your attorney. While your attorney does need to remain aware of anything that could affect your case, not everything requires an emergency after-hours phone call. It is difficult for an overwhelmed person navigating a difficult situation to separate minor disputes from major problems, so being aware of a few emergencies about which you should notify your attorney immediately can protect your case without causing yourself unnecessary stress.
Someone is Physically Harmed
Typically, when someone is hurt physically during litigation, it is a good idea to contact your attorney to tell him or her what occurred. This is especially important when the person who was hurt was a child and you are involved in a custody-related dispute. Anything from a broken bone at a playground to whiplash caused by a car accident could potentially affect your case. Failing to inform your attorney could cause problems if the other party accuses you of negligence or the situation will impact medical or automotive insurance that both parties pay.
Temporary Orders are Not Obeyed
Family court judges may issue a temporary order to prevent certain problems from occurring while a case is in progress. These orders may address child custody, visitation schedules, financial support, and insurance coverage. Once the judge has issued an order, both parties are required to adhere to it. If your former partner, spouse, or child (in juvenile family court cases) is not obeying court orders, your attorney should be informed. When a child has disappeared or is taken, weekend visitation is denied, or a payment that was due on a weekend was not paid leading to a utility disconnection, then you should reach out to your attorney as soon as possible.
The Police are Involved
If the police have appeared at your home or place of employment in reference to an ongoing family court case, it is always a good idea to contact your attorney. Regardless of whether you are being served with an emergency restraining order or having visitation interrupted by a child welfare check, it is a good idea to notify your attorney. When your interaction with the police has nothing to do with family court, but leads to a scenario where your ethics, morality, or ability to act responsibly are in question, contact your attorney immediately. Even if the police are now involved in your case because you ignored the advice of your attorney, you still need to call him or her and explain or admit what happened.
When in Doubt, Ask
If you believe a situation is a legitimate emergency, but are not completely sure, it is better to call your attorney than to wait until the situation spirals out of control. Even if your attorney does not believe your reason for calling is a true emergency, ask him or her when you should call after hours and when you should wait until the office opens. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitalbaum work hard to protect the rights of clients and guide them during one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. If you are in need of the representation of an experienced family law attorney, contact us today. We can schedule an appointment at one of our four Atlanta metro area locations and begin working on your case immediately.