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Client’s Bill of Rights and Obligations
Client's Bill of Rights

  • You have the right to competent counsel with the skill, knowledge, emotional, mental, and physical ability to diligently and efficiently represent your interests to the highest standards.
  • The right to be treated with courtesy and consideration by the attorney and his staff. This right shall include prompt return calls and copies of documentation related to your matter.
  • The right to representation that is free of any conflicts of interests.
  • The right to a second opinion about your attorney's advice.
  • The right to obtain advice from your attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives to litigation.
  • The right to know the attorney's billing procedure, the amounts you will be charged for the various types of services to be provided, an estimate (or budget) of the attorneys total fees, and an itemized bill clearly showing your attorney's services and charges.
  • The right to be continuously advised on the progress of your case.
  • The right to have your questions answered in a way that you can understand. This includes the right to engage in settlement negotiations that do not amount to coercion or forced settlements.
  • The right to privacy in all of your dealings with your attorney, including the contents of your file.
  • The right to terminate your attorney's services at anytime for any reason.
  • The right to have all of your original documents and records provided to you without the necessity of signing a substitution of attorney form as a pre-requisite to obtaining such file documentation.
  • The right to hire an attorney that has malpractice insurance.
  • The right to insist that your attorney attempt to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations or alternative dispute resolution, instead of continued protracted litigation.

Client's Obligations to Attorney
  • The obligation to fully advise your attorney of all known facts related to your matter and to keep him advised of any new facts as they arise.
  • The obligation to pay your attorney's bills promptly or to advise him why they are not being paid.
  • The obligation to keep your attorney advised of your current address and phone numbers.
  • The obligation to promptly follow your attorney's advice and cooperate with his requests.

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Generally, debts incurred during the marriage are community obligations. This includes credit card bills, even if the credit card is in one name only. Student loans are an important exception because they are considered separate property debts. Community property possessions and community property debts are divided equally unless both spouses agree to an unequal division in writing. If spouses can't agree on the division of debts and possessions, a judge makes that decision.
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