In this article, you will learn:
- Common tactics leading to success
- Common roadblocks in a divorce or family law issue
I encourage people to specifically address the child sharing issues at the outset of a divorce. If they do not, and there are disagreements about child-sharing issues especially if tied to money discussions, then, many people are going to find themselves in a situation where they are not seeing their children. Unfortunately, the court in California does not consider that to be an emergency. They do not consider it kidnapping, and the Court expects the parties to work it out themselves. It can be set for a hearing, but best-case scenario, it can take three to four months, and in that time, one parent might not be seeing their children or might not be seeing them in a meaningful way.
Therefore, I encourage clients to do what is called a Child Sharing stipulation, and we can then make it a court order. It is temporary, but I cannot stress enough the importance for cases where children are involved. I refer to it as an insurance policy, even if the people are currently amicable, in the event things change as they begin to discuss money. And a temporary child sharing stipulation also helps keep the client’s fees down. By eliminating the child custody portion of the case, or at least reaching a temporary agreement, we can focus on the financial portion of the case without making it all part of the same discussions. I know there are some of my colleagues who will oppose that approach because we make a lot more money when people are fighting and using seeing the children as a tool to arrive at a more favorable financial situation, but that is not a client-focused approach.
Common Things That Can Potentially Hold Up Or Complicate Divorces
A divorce does not have to be complicated, but if the other person is telling you to move out or that they are keeping the kids or that you are not getting a dime, then it is obviously going to be a more complicated situation, at least at the outset. Unless that person’s expectations can be made more reasonable, the divorce is going to be more complicated. I implement creative strategies to get another party to be reasonable, rather than just waiting and hoping that they will be.
The process of helping my own client understand what is reasonable might also complicate the divorce.
Feelings of betrayal can run deep and that can make even the best of intentioned clients act in an unreasonable manner. I do my best to help my clients understand what their position should be and to follow my advice, but ultimately it is the client’s call as to how to act. Not always does reason prevail. There are sometimes situations where my own client is so unreasonable that it can make the situation incredibly complicated. There are attorneys out there who understand that they make more money with the client having an unreasonable position, and they will take on a client and encourage fighting or unreasonable demands. I think many times the client realizes this after they have spent an excessive amount of time, energy, and money on attorney’s fees in a divorce and that they get tired of it themselves, and want help to “hit a reset button.” I am proud to say that I have been able to help many clients hit the reset button.
Tactics To A “Successful Divorce” Even If It Doesn’t Seen That Is Possible At The Time
Even people who “want a divorce” do not want to go through a divorce. A successful divorce does not mean that my client gets everything they want. Part of what makes someone feel that they had a successful divorce is feeling like they are a participant in it rather than feeling like it is happening to them. In my practice, I approach each case with the hope that it will settle, but with the understanding that at least some of the issues will need to be litigated. We remain prepared for litigation so that we are not caught off-guard or unprepared while trying to settle the case. I also do not believe in litigating for the sake of litigating, because that is not in the client’s best interest. Not only will it be stressful and expensive, but the client will be left feeling beat up by the process.
What helps a client feel like the fair result was reached is certainly more likely in a settlement situation where the issues are settled without a trial than in a trial. Again, I make more money taking a case to trial and litigating issues, but my goal is to reach a fair result for a client, which is often achieved through settlement. As I tell clients, I would rather they not pay me as much as I could have made on a case if I litigated every issue but that they leave the process feeling like the right result was reached by a settlement, and that they then refer their friends, colleagues, and family to me.
I try to help people understand what their expectations should be, and I think by being involved in that way, it helps the client feel like it was a successful divorce even if the outcome is not what they expected at the outset.
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