By: Alexandra Willen, Associate Attorney
If you, or a family member or friend, are going through litigation, there are several ways in which you can be organized to assist your attorney and to keep your case organized.
If you are involved in family law litigation in any capacity, there is a high likelihood that you will be dealing with exchanging many documents, evidence, text messages and other items requested by your attorney. Transmitting these items to your attorney may seem like a daunting task at first but being organized on your end will help save time and money.
To start, you may find it helpful for you to download a scanner application on your phone if you do not have access to a scanner at home or work. A few free applications are AdobeScan, SwiftScan, CamScanner, or Microsoft Office Lens. If you have an iPhone, you can utilize the Notes application on your phone to scan documents by clicking the camera icon within a note. It is important to send your attorney scanned documents, as they cannot use pictures of documents or important evidence.
If you need to complete forms or documents provided by your attorney and you do not want to print them out, scan them, and then email them back, you can utilize your computer, phone, or laptop to fill documents. By using a pdf viewer such as Adobe, you can fill out documents without ever having to print them out.
When compiling evidence, you can assist your attorney by labeling your files. If you send labeled files, that will streamline the process of organizing your file at the firm. If you are using a cell phone and are unable to save files with a specific label, make sure you provide plenty of context in your email to the firm. Additionally, sending files in pdf format, instead of as an image, is always preferable – but not necessary.
If you are sending screenshots of text messages, make sure that the person you are texting with has a clearly visible first and last name. Do not use nicknames, as the Court will need to see exactly who the messages are between. No matter how much you may hate your ex, or soon to be ex, don’t send messages where their name is saved as something derogatory. Everyone may get a good laugh, but the Judge may not find it so funny. Additionally, your screenshots will need to show the time and date clearly. This helps when introducing evidence in court.
For any evidence you may want to use in court, do not mark it up. All evidence will need to be free from highlights, notes, circles, etc. This is because all evidence must be in its original format. This will save your attorney from having to redact your comments on any documentation you provide. Instead, just tell them what information you would like them to look at, or take special notice of.
If you are sending images from your cell phone, it is important that you send an image size that will be readable on a computer. To do this, select “actual size” or “large” when sending your email. If you send a smaller image size, it will likely be very blurry or unreadable once downloaded on a computer or printed for use in Court.
If you aren’t tech savvy, and do not want to go through learning new tricks, you are always welcome to drop off your evidence and intake forms in person at the office. We can take care of scanning it in, organizing it, and returning your original documents to you.
Alternatively, you may download all your evidence to a USB or Flash Drive and drop that off at our offices for us to transfer to our own files. This can streamline the evidence sharing process by preventing multiple emails. We are also able to access DropBox files if you are utilizing it, or other cloud storage, to save and organize your evidence and documents.
Similarly, you can upload documents for your attorney to review by utilizing your MyCase client portal with the firm. We are also able to share files with you through this account.
If you have any questions regarding the best way to share information with your attorney, please do not hesitate to call or email with questions. We are always happy to help you out when it comes to getting us the information that you want us to see so that we can better serve you.