Three things that make out of state legal help easier than you think
Recently, I spoke with a man who had a child custody case in Minnesota, but had long since moved out of the state. Many things had changed in the man’s life, which made the terms of the Order inappropriate for his current circumstances. Knowing that the Minnesota order needed to be modified, but not sure how feasible it was to hire a Minnesota lawyer when he lived so far away, the man had delayed seeking modification for years. If you are facing a similar sutation and are in need of out of state legal help, there are three major issues to consider when dealing with long-distance representation.
Maintaining reliable telephone and email contact is important in any case, but becomes absolutely imperative when the attorney and client are separated by a great distance. That’s why, in such a situation, both the attorney and the client need to commit to returning all phone calls and emails within 24 hours, without exception. There may be times when a more rapid response than 24 hours is required. The attorney must have the foresight to inform the client when such a period is approaching, so that there are no lapses in communication.
Another tool that becomes indispensable in a long-distance representation is access to a scanner, which a client can use to send documents to the attorney. If these lines of communication are robustly maintained, out-of-state representation can be just as easy and effective as in-state representation.
The second issue that comes up with out-of-state representation is whether such representation is more expensive for the client than in-state representation. The answer is, usually, that out-of-state representation is no more expensive than in-state representation. This is especially true if the communication tools referenced above are used effectively.
The third issue is whether the client will have to travel to Minnesota to attend a hearing. The answer to this question depends on the type of case and also on the judge. When I represent clients who do not live in Minnesota, I do all that I can to avoid the necessity of the client traveling to Minnesota. One of the best ways to do this, is to request that the client be allowed to appear at any Motion Hearing by telephone. In such a situation, at the time of the hearing, the client is called and patched into the courtroom’s sound system. Therefore, the client is able to hear everything that is said, and is also able to answer questions that the judge may pose to the client.
Whether a judge is willing to grant a request to appear by telephone is completely up to the judge’s discretion; the judge always has the ability to require a party to attend a hearing in person. However, I have yet to be denied a request for a telephonic appearance when my client has resided a far distance from Minnesota. It should be noted, however, that judges will always require a client’s attendance at any sort of trial or evidentiary hearing, because such hearings require in-person, oral testimony.
What we can do for you
If you no longer live in Minnesota, but require out of state legal help for a case in Minnesota, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation. I can be reached at 651-647-0087, or you can reach out via our online contact form. I look forward to hearing from you.