The Value of A Family Law Attorney, Or Why Hire A Family Law Attorney?
Just as you would not operate on yourself (particularly if under anesthesia!), you should not handle your legal affairs by yourself–even an attorney should not handle his or her own legal matters. When deciding which lawyer to retain, remember that typically an experienced lawyer is better than an inexperienced lawyer. In family law in particular, judge’s discretion controls–experience speaks to that discretion.
If you do retain a family law attorney, listen to them. If you do not like their advice and counsel, you need to retain an attorney whose advice and counsel you do value. It is the attorney’s advice–based on their experience–which is of value–listen to them. Court rulings in family law matters are a combination of statutes, black letter law, case law, societal values, and judge’s discretion. What you might think is fair or just is not necessarily what your attorney may think or what the judge may rule. If you do not like a final ruling, it may be appropriate to appeal the decision. It may be that the judge(s) hearing the appeal take a completely different position. The point–regardless of the merits which you believe exist in your case–the one who wears the robes may well not agree with you in whole or in part.
Also, and this is a big ALSO, be reasonable. You, and your attorney, should be the most reasonable people in the room. If you think that your case is solid, supported by the facts, and you will get exactly what you are requesting at Court–THINK AGAIN. Seldom is anyone’s case that solid and seldom do others think 100% as you do. An attorney cannot promise an outcome, but I will share that it has been my experience that one outcome is certain in virtually every family law case I have seen, heard, or litigated–the parties will get some of what they want and whole lot of what they don’t want. Stay realistic and stay reasonable.
Listen to the experienced lawyer and hear what they have to share as to possible outcomes and their experience. Recognize that you can consult five different family law lawyers and get five or more possible outcomes for your case. There are no guarantees, except one. The judge will rely on the law (hopefully), their perceptions–right or wrong–of the parties, and the facts as they view them, and they will rely on their own judge’s discretion.
Legal matters are often a matter of strategy and teamwork. You and your lawyer must be able to work together and you must be able to listen to each other. If this is not the case for you, it is best to cut your loses and retain another attorney with whom you believe you can work.