Family Law – Document Drafting
1. Allow sufficient time when you first sit down to work with ProDoc. This varies individually, but for beginners drafting a petition you may wish to allocate approximately 2 hours.
2. Don’t draft documents before you have done your document/ information gathering as well as your factual investigation. Trust me on this one, you will waste your time & live to regret it.
3. Have the client’s information and the Texas Family Code readily available.
4. Start with ProDoc in the drafting process. Do not use a “case file”; identify the “a:\” drive as the place to store your documents; pull down the menu of forms and go to “Family Law”; begin assembling documents.
5. Remember: It is easier to block & delete text than to look at a blank page & wonder what should be there.
6. Once you have your rough drafts on a disk, clean them up to the best of your ability.
7. Print out your documents & compare with the Texas Family Practice Manual & the Texas Family Code.
8. Don’t forget: Forms are a nice place to start, but they were never intended to substitute for a legally trained mind.
9. Once you have gotten your documents to a place where YOU would consider signing them as an attorney – put your name & date in the upper right corner of the first page & have them reviewed.
10. Be prepared to go back to each document multiple times to “clean up & adjust” in preparation for court filing.
11. When documents are considered “filing ready”, have the client review for accuracy and correctness of personal information. Make sure you take the time to explain the documents to the client. Be sensitive to literacy and comprehension issues.
12. Send the client file stamped copies of their documents for their personal file.
13. Be prepared for the client who changes goals while the case is pending.
14. Don’t forget to properly and timely document and update your client files.