Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
If you are unable to find an answer to your question, contact us.
Why do I need an attorney?
An attorney provides expertise and knowledge that cannot come from anything but years of experience. Deciphering legal documents, navigating the court system, asking questions that only a lawyer might ask are all ways that an attorney can make your experience with the legal system easier.
A reputable attorney will always advise you as to whether or not an attorney is needed.
How do I choose the right attorney?
You should always speak with and meet with an attorney in person. Ask questions about experience and areas of expertise. You should get a sense as to whether the attorney is informed and attentive to your needs. Ask your friends or colleagues for names or if they have used the attorney you are considering.
You should feel at ease with your attorney. He or she should promptly return your calls, and the office staff should be courteous and knowledgeable.
How much will it cost?
Because each case is different, it is difficult to say how much your representation will cost. Certain types of cases may have a flat fee; others will be billed on an hourly basis. Obviously, the length and complexity of a case will dictate your costs. A reputable attorney will advise you about hourly rates, retainers, billing practices and other issues related to costs, prior to or at the commencement of your case.
Our office will be certain to minimize your costs and provide you with comprehensive estimates and billing information at all stages of your representation.
How long will it take before my case or legal work to be completed?
Certain types of legal work, like drafting wills and trusts, will take only days. The administration of an estate will take 1 to 2 years while simple uncontested divorces should be over within 8 months. Other complex actions, such as contested divorces, bankruptcies and personal injury actions can take months or even years to complete. An experienced attorney can give you an estimate of how long a case may take to resolve, but factors outside of the control of the attorney, such as court schedules, the actions of the other parties involved, or unexpected circumstances all factor into how long a case will take to resolve.
Our office is committed to making sure each case is commenced and completed as quickly as possible.
What if I am unhappy with my current attorney? Can I change attorneys in the middle of my case?
Remember, your attorney works for you, and your file is your property. You can change attorneys at any point in your case. Sometimes, your attorney will need court permission to stop representing you. If you are unhappy with your representation, make your concerns clear to your attorney. If you are still unable to work things out, request your file. Even if you owe your attorney money, you are entitled to your file.
Is my initial consultation free?
Not all attorneys will provide a free initial consultation. You should ask before making an appointment.
The Law Office of Cathy A. Marino provides a free initial consultation for any type of legal case.
I've begun my case without an attorney, is it too late to hire one now?
It’s never too late to seek the advice or assistance of an attorney. If you are overwhelmed or unsure of how to proceed, our office will be happy to review your case file and begin your representation, seeing your case through its resolution.
Will my attorney be with me if I have to go into court?
Your attorney should be with you anytime you have to go to court. You should never have to appear in front of judge or at a deposition, hearing or real estate closing without your attorney present. Your attorney should always make arrangements with you regarding when and where you will meet.
My husband (or wife) doesn’t want a divorce. Can he or she stop me from getting one?
Because Massachusetts is a “no fault” state, you need not have grounds for divorce. Irreconcilable differences are sufficient cause for a judge to enter a finding that your marriage is irretrievably broken down. A party to a divorce action cannot prevent a divorce; however, he or she can make it lengthy, costly and difficult. It is for this reason an experienced and compassionate attorney is so important.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the parties have agreed to all the terms of the divorce, including custody, visitation, child and spousal support, as well as property division. Parties cannot file for an uncontested divorce unless all issues are resolved and a Separation Agreement has been signed.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
Oftentimes people cannot afford not to use an attorney. Obviously, financial concerns are always a consideration. Our office offers a variety of payment plans and will work with individuals so that they are not denied service. We also take major credit cards for your convenience. If ultimately you are without funds to hire an attorney, our office will refer you to a Legal Aid office in your area.