Parties going through a divorce or contested family law matter are ordinarily going to be going through a range of emotions. When everything you hold near and dear to you suddenly is put in the balance, this can cause emotional turmoil.
This emotional turmoil can cause a party to reach out to third parties to ease their pain and insecurities. In other words, versus being confident and secure that they are taking the right action, people often seek the advice from multiple different sources.
However, the reality is a party has to communicate effectively with that attorney. It is vital that a client be honest and open with their attorney. At the same time, it is vital that the attorney be accessible and empathetic to the concerns of the client.
Ultimately, the client does have to follow the professional advice of their attorney on case strategy. If the attorney and client cannot stay on the same page, the results can become disastrous.
Just like a football team that has to move in the same direction when a play is called, it is not helpful when wide receivers are running deep for a pass, while the offensive line is playing to run the ball up the middle. When this happens, the play doesn’t go well.
In the same vein, very bad things happen when an attorney and a client are figuratively running different plays in the midst of litigation. This often happens when a client begins listening to others versus their attorney.
One party might hear from others that X result happened in their case. This then leads a party to think the same result should happen in their case. A party might hear that another attorney did X, Y or Z to prepare their friend’s case. This then leads a party to believe that the same thing should happen in their case.
Of course, every case is completely different. Different cases have different facts, different parties and different kids. Also, what happens in one courthouse in large scale might be different in a courthouse in another state or even another county in the same state. Even different judges, or guardians ad litem, in the same courthouse might look at a similar set of facts through their own worldview and values.
After all, custody is determined by the best interests of the child. Marital property and debt (in a state that has equitable division) is to be divided in a just (not a 50/50) manner. Spousal support is determined based on the reasonable needs of the parties and various other gray factors. In other words, in family law, judges have lots of discretion to do lots of different things with their cases. This means that the tales of other parties, while well-intentioned, could very well be absolutely meaningless to your case.
This makes listening to the advice of friends, family members and other third parties dangerous. However, many who have never gone through such a process do not see it this way. They see family law cases as being cookie cutter. This then causes them to debate and argue strategy with their attorney based on the advice of these third parties.
The end result is: When the attorney then figuratively drops back to throw a pass, the client is playing the play like the ball is being ran up the middle. When this happens, results can turn out very bad for a client, fees can run up through needless debates about case strategy and, in some cases, the attorney-client relationship can become irreconcilable.
Things can even get worse when a party starts listening to their soon-to-be-ex in the midst of their divorce. Like trash talking on the basketball court, parties often engage in needless banter that is really no better than “my brother [attorney] can beat up your brother [attorney]” talk that is thinly veiled for what it is in most instances — to divide and conquer by making a party question the advice, motives or strategy of their own attorney.
If you are need of representation in a divorce or family law case, you can contact Stange Law Firm, PC for a consultation. You can contact us online or call us at 855-805-0595. We have offices in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.