Family law attorney gets the worst wrap in the legal field. Let’s be honest, they can be the most difficult to work with in divorce and custody cases. They often come across as unemotional, they barely recall important facts, they fail to communicate effectively and they totally ignore your wishes at times.
Data reports that more than half of family law clients are disappointed in their attorney’s services. Also, with respect to the overall profession, family law attorneys are hated more than any other specialty. Despite these statistics though, working with the right attorney on your divorce or custody case can get you favorable results.
You have Rights as a Client
You get to dictate how your case is handled. That’s right you have the right to determine which moves your attorney makes on your behalf. I bet you did not know that huh. Well…technically you do but there’s a caveat. Most competent attorneys will not give you complete authority, afraid that you make foolish decisions. They do have ethical obligations to give you the necessary legal information to make informed decisions. And when they do, and you insist on deciding against it, they can withdraw from your case.
So although it is your right, it may not be the wisest thing to do. Why, you ask, would an attorney take issue with his or her client exercising their right? Well because the attorney’s job would be pointless if they didn’t. Attorneys have egos and a client who goes against their own lawyer’s advice bruises their egos. Just kidding. The real reason is multifaceted but the bottom line is they have an obligation to you, the system and the bureaucrats that oversee the legal process.
Your Attorney Expects Things of You
Most attorneys have objectives that go way beyond providing you with the best representation. Of course it’s important that do their best to get you the results discussed. But it doesn’t end there attorneys have ethical obligations, professional aspirations, track records to establish & maintain, etc. So if they anticipate anyone or anything that will interfere with these, they might think twice. In plain English, you have a responsibility to your lawyer too.
At the top of the list is honesty, you owe it to yourself and your case to be honest with your family law attorney. If you can’t be candid with your divorce or family law attorney then you can’t be trusted. Your divorce attorney has the fate of your future in their hands so it’s imperative that you tell the truth about everything that matters. Cooperation is next, you must be willing and able to work as a team with your lawyer to see favorable results. Communication is also important, keeping the lawyer in the loop with what is going on helps them to prepare for the necessary next steps.
Meeting in the Middle
To get the help you need you need to understand what your rights are but also what your responsibilities are too. It’s extremely important to find the right lawyer for your situation, there’s no doubt about that. However, you put all responsibility on the lawyer, you must do your part too. It is prudent for you to have a clear discussion about the expectations, the process, the outcome, etc. Although this discussion should be had very early in the attorney-client relationship, all is not lost if it happens any time after. The point is, be upfront, ask questions, be clear, be cooperative.
How your divorce or custody case proceeds in court is up to you. Don’t be so quick to blame your lawyer for what goes “wrong” in your case. Before you “hate” or badmouth them for what they are not doing, ask yourself if you did your part. It takes teamwork to get through these sort of situations.