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Your Rights When Dealing With A Divorce Lawyer

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has adopted significant rule amendments that dramatically change the attorney/client relationship. The client's now have significant rights in dealing with their lawyer and are entitled to reasonable and fair treatment. The Court has adopted ten client's rights and nine client responsibilities. A list of all of these rights and responsibilities must be attached to all retainer agreements. Client's Rights are:

  • Clients have the right to have their attorneys diligently advocate their interests within the bounds of the law and legal ethics.
  • Clients have the right to have the fee arrangement fully and completely explained prior to entering into any agreement for services.
  • Clients have the right to have a written retainer agreement describing the financial terms of the relationship between the client and the attorney.
  • Clients have the right to refuse to enter into an unacceptable fee arrangement or modification a fee arrangement.
  • Clients have the right to be provided information as to the attorney(s) who will be primarily responsible for their matter and all other legal staff who will be working on the matter as well as information as to the costs for those individuals.
  • Clients have the right to be provided bills on a regular basis, itemized as to the charges and time spent on each activity.
  • Clients have the right to be informed of and be present at any court proceeding involving their case unless otherwise directed by the court.
  • Clients have the right to be provided copies of all documents presented to the court by any party in their matter unless otherwise ordered by the court.
  • Clients have the right to be afforded reasonable access to their attorneys.
  • Clients have the right to make the final decision as to whether, when, and how to settle their cases and as to economic and other positions to be taken with respect to issues in the case.

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If the divorce is being filed under one of the seven fault grounds (including extreme cruelty, adultery, abandonment, substance or alcohol addiction, institutionalization, deviant sexual conduct and incarceration), the 18 month separation period, required for a no-fault divorce, is waived. However, each ground for divorce has its own stipulations.
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