How to Help Your Clients with Case Information Statement Preparation
New Jersey family law attorneys depend on information from their clients to be able to negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Unfortunately clients aren’t always good sources of information. Although CIS, Easy Soft’s New Jersey divorce software, helps produce the necessary paperwork it still requires input from the client. Here are a few tips to give your clients that will help them provide valuable information.
Be Honest – The adversarial nature of divorce tempts clients to get creative when filling out the form. Clients might under-report income or over-report expenses in the hope of “winning” the negotiation. Remind clients that, ethical issues aside, getting caught in a lie will call into question all information and will ultimately hurt the negotiations. This is especially true if the case ends up in court, since a judge may favor the honest spouse over the dishonest one.
Do Your Homework – In order to have an accurate CIS, NJ divorce regulations require an intimidating amount of information. Many clients don’t have this data at their fingertips and may put off actually providing the numbers. Impress on your client the importance of timeliness. The hours they spend now will pay off in a more generous settlement.
Pace Yourself – The information probably can’t be found in one session so clients should be prepared to tackle the effort in stages.
Be Complete – Provide the real numbers whenever possible. Suggest your clients pore over their credit card bills and bank statements to calculate exactly how much they spend. Most people tend to underestimate their expenses and are surprised by how much they spend on things like food and entertainment.
Make Your Best Guess – If the real numbers aren’t available then it is better for the client to make an estimate than simply leave the entry blank. Even if it’s a guess, your client is going to make a better estimate than you can.
Use The Right Tools – Rather than completing paper forms, Easy Soft’s Case Information Statement software offers the option of CIS Autofill. This allows clients to enter information online for easy import into the CIS software. This speeds up the process and reduces the chance of data entry errors. As an added bonus you don’t have to puzzle over a client’s handwriting.
Easy Soft strives to make the best law practice management software available but there will always be the need for interpersonal communication. If you instruct your clients how to provide information you need, then you are likely to get better quality information.