Attorney Tricia Dwyer has been rated Superb, and Perfect Reviews for multiple years (Avvo)
LEGAL QUESTIONS & ATTORNEY DWYER'S ANSWERS:
Legal question: If there's a mediation about visitation, do I have the right to have a lawyer at my side?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: This is partial, not at all complete, reply.People, parents, have the right to be represented by an attorney. When custody, parenting time, or visitation is to be discussed, one, or both, parents may well want to be represented by an attorney. For instance, medication is a voluntary process, and it's hoped it can 'work', but one or both parents can 'opt out' of any mediation, and a parent may decide to halt a mediation that is underway. A key consideration is whether there is a dynamic between the parents of domestic violence or emotional abuse, 'power and control'. Another key consideration is whether one parent has any sort of mental health concern, such as Anxiety or PTSD, or has a personality disorder such as Narcissism, or even Sociopath/Psychopath (e.g., lies, cheats, no remorse, no regard for others, etc.) And one more key factor is alcoholism or drug use/abuse; it is 'normal' that a person who's in the recovery process may feel uncertain, unsure of oneself, 'shaky'.
Legal question: I hired a lawyer for DWI but he's ignoring me and I can tell he doesn't like me. I called another lawyer for a consultation and the other lawyer got mad. I'm scared, too, that lawyer 2 will tell lawyer 1 I phoned him. Are there rules on all of this?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: You have the right to confer with multiple attorneys. It's more and more common that people charged with crimes are seeking out second opinions from one or more other attorneys, changing lawyers, etc. The relationship between me, attorney, and my client is a very personal one; ideally clients should feel utmost trust and confidence in the attorney they choose to help them.
Also, so you know, lawyers are licensed by the State of MN, and we must abide by many rules of conduct, including very complex and detailed rules on safeguarding privacy of prospective clients, and maintaining utmost confidentiality of what a person such as you shared in an initial phone call/s. Best to you - excellent question.
LEGAL QUESTION: My son needs therapy and the court Order says first mediate. Other parent won't. What now?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S REPLY: Hello. Excellent questions. You mentioned having attorney assistance, so know that it is possible for a family law attorney to assist you in a partial sort of way, or in a full way. When a family law lawyer helps you in a partial way, it may be by conferring with you, even coaching you and guiding you. It may be by what's known in the legal community as 'Limited Attorney Help'/'Limited Scope Lawyer Help'/'Limited Scope Legal Assistance'/'Unbundled Lawyer Help'/'Unbundled Family Lawyer Assistance' - multiple terms are used to describe the concept of a client having a lawyer help him/her in a limited sort of way. A family law/divorce/child custody lawyer possibly can help you in a 'pay as you go' manner. If you have stressed personal finances, a lawyer may help you with reduced fee. I urge you to be a good consumer of lawyer help, do your homework - google, send emails, make phone calls. The MN State Bar Association has a search tool you may use.
Another point is that 'if/when' you should have to go before a Judge or Court Referee about this matter, you'll be letting them know, in advance, that you asked and the other parent said 'no' (or ignored you....). Also, know that some parenting concerns about our kids are extremely, extremely time urgent, emergency ones, for instance, if the child poses danger of harm to others or self, or both - some issues are 'quasi-emergencies'. Thank you for the excellent questions.
LEGAL QUESTION: My wife's lawyer mailed me a letter and said I have to turn over my W-2s to him - is that true?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: If I were assisting you, I'd need to know fuller details, and I'd want to read through the actual letter. You apparently aren't a family lawyer yourself, and starting point is rules of lawyer licensing in MN- see the MN Rules of Professional Conduct ('MRPC' - MN rules of lawyer conduct), Rule 4.3 and its Comment which state:
Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4.3Dealing with Unrepresented Person
In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel:
(a) a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested;
(b) a lawyer shall clearly disclose that the client's interests are adverse to the interests of the unrepresented person, if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests are adverse;
(c) when a lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding; and
(d) a lawyer shall not give legal advice to the unrepresented person, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of the unrepresented person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client.
(Amended effective October 1, 2005.)
 An unrepresented person, particularly one not experienced in dealing with legal matters, might assume that a lawyer is disinterested in loyalties or is a disinterested authority on the law even when the lawyer represents a client. In order to avoid a misunderstanding, a lawyer will typically need to identify the lawyer's client and, where the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests are adverse, disclose that the client has interests opposed to those of the unrepresented person. For misunderstandings that sometimes arise when a lawyer for an organization deals with an unrepresented constituent, see Rule 1.13(d).
 The rule distinguishes between situations involving unrepresented persons whose interests may be adverse to those of the lawyer's client and those in which the person's interests are not in conflict with the client's. In the former situation, the possibility that the lawyer will compromise the unrepresented person's interests is so great that the rule prohibits the giving of any advice, apart from the advice to obtain counsel. Whether a lawyer is giving impermissible advice may depend on the experience and sophistication of the unrepresented person, as well as the setting in which the behavior and comments occur. This rule does not prohibit a lawyer from negotiating the terms of a transaction or settling a dispute with an unrepresented person. So long as the lawyer has explained that the lawyer represents a party whose interests are adverse and is not representing the person, the lawyer may inform the person of the terms on which the lawyer's client will enter into an agreement or settle a matter, prepare documents that require the person's signature and explain the lawyer's own view of the meaning of the document or the lawyer's view of the underlying legal obligations.
LEGAL QUESTION: In my apartment on the floor is a big envelope from a lawyer & I think it's divorce papers. Doesn't that have to be handed in person to me?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. So very sorry. This sounds like stress. First, I'd be extremely concerned who entered your home. Who else besides you has the right to enter your home? Tenants renting apartments have extremely, extremely strict rights of privacy - no landlord can 'trapse' into your apartment, and furthermore, if that happened, the landlord can face grave penalties.
As to you and divorce, in my own work as a divorce lawyer, whenever possible and reasonable for the circumstances, there is no sheriff knocking on husband or wife's door, no process server banging on the door or 'trying to get into a person's apartment!', etc. In my work, whenever reasonable and possible, I help my husband or wife client form a full agreement to divorce with their spouse, all very peaceful and reasonable, no 'WWIII', no escalating any tensions or anger. And then it is only after the agreement is all set that anything about 'court', 'judge', 'court referee', 'filing', etc., etc., unfolds. If you are going to have attorney help, I urge you to choose the lawyer you want to help you now very carefully. A limited number of us may do reduced fee work for people with financial hardship, and limited lawyer help otherwise can be a wonderful option. Take care.
LEGAL QUESTION: Judge has evidentiary custody trial set for 4 wks. from now. I'm trying to get a lawyer & was advised I need more time.
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: This is a partial reply, because a full reply could easily take hours :-) First: If you are going to have attorney help now, I urge you make phone calls pronto, talk to as many lawyers as possible, and choose one att'y you feel you can trust. How many calls? As many as it takes! You are in the greater Twin Cities, 100s upon 100s of lawyers. Some of us will provide reduced fee if you have financial hardship. Second: You 'were advised'? Always, always be wary of any and all so called 'free advice'. When I help people, for YOUR protection & best interest (and mine), always, at least a very brief, written agreement in place & we are in the Attorney-Client relationship, & I give legal advice on which my Client can rely. Third: Look at your own legal papers. For an 'evidentiary hearing/trial', unless mistake happened, the Judge/Court Referee would have made a written court Order that states specific deadlines (dates), and that Order will be very, very clear & specific.
LEGAL QUESTION: I let bio' dad's mother adopt my son. I had been using, but I've been clean for 5 solid years. How do me and my son get reunited now? ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. Good for you that you've been focusing on getting and being well! (I myself have been a part of a very healthy 12 Step group for many, many years, and I support healthy 12 Step.) As to you and 'what to do', if I were helping you I'd talk over the details with you; I'd ask you about your relationship with this grandma, or lack thereof, etc. Another starting point is typically reviewing the actual legal paperwork. Know that the goal is all of this sort of law is aiming to do what serves the best interests of the child. Perhaps you want to ask for one to one help from a legal aid entity. If you want private attorney help, a subset of us may provide reduced fee for financial hardship. If you are going to have att'y help at this time, I urge you 'run do not walk' because this is bio' mom and child.
LEGAL QUESTION: I've had a private agreement for 4 years with my ex. He's supposed to pay 1/2 the sports costs but he doesn't, and he usually no shows! He'll skip church and special school and church activities. Help. ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER:If it's any comfort, the specific issues you named are ones that are a part of my work as a family law/custody/divorce lawyer, and mediator. I offer you compassion. You wrote that all's private 'agreement'. If you should begin legal paperwork with the court about this, no lawyer can tell you exactly what will be determined or decided; each and every case is unique. And judges and court referees are given great discretion to discern what will serve the best interest of each child. A few general tips: I suggest you divide the problems into 2 parts, one part 'money matters', and the other part custody and what happens during parenting time. If I were helping you, I'd talk with you to get an idea of what the core issues actually are, for instance, power and control?, anger about the past?, jealousy?, passive-aggression - gaslighting?. Is one unreasonable? Any third parties, such as meddling grandparent, BF/GF, etc.? My own approach when helping a parent such as you is that I will tell you straight up what my impression is - just as if I came to you and asked you to help me, I'd want you to tell me straight what you thought. I'd tell you what I thought seemed best to do, for the situation. If I were to help you, I do my best to de-escalate, not worsen matters. If you choose to have lawyer help at this time, you may contact local legal aid if you're indigent/low income/poor. 211 is the United Way and if you tell them your zip code they ought to tell you of any special legal assistance sorts of programs for your area. In my work I can provide reduced fee to people who have financial stress, and I very much like to help my clients in limited ways that curb and contain any lawyer expense. Take care.
LEGAL QUESTION: I was engaged and she kept the $5K ring I bought, and she kept a lot of my furniture. I've tried contacting her more than once and now she's blocked me on Caller ID, FB and Instagram. What do I do? ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. Based on what you stated, i.e., that the person has cut off communication, it seems that you initiating a lawsuit in the court system is what's necessary. And, based on what you described I strongly suggest you have limited attorney help at this time, as there are complex concerns. If you are going to take action, I urge you 'run do not walk!!' and go forward immediately. All legal problems involve time pressures, and the sort of legal issues you described will necessarily involve rigid time deadlines in which you MUST take the proper action steps. If you have lawyer help, I urge you be a consumer and make phone calls, etc. Definitely beware all so called free advice. Take care.