Not every attorney can be the “right” attorney for every client and every case. The attorneys at Adams & Sullivan are no exception. In particular, the attorney-client relationship in family law matters is a very unique relationship – the foundation of which must be trust and shared objectives.
Throughout my years of experience litigating divorces, modifications and paternity actions, I have learned several lessons (often the hard way) about building strong attorney-client relationships that best serve the client’s needs:
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Your attorney must know everything that the other party may use against you. It is imperative that clients share all facts with their attorney – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Bad facts are easier to manage if your attorney is made aware of them early on. Your attorney will also have a different perspective than you on whether certain facts are legally relevant or not.
- Help me, Help you – Your attorney should look for ways to provide cost-effective and efficient services, rather than ways to add billable hours. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary costs and attorney’s fees is for you to help your attorney gather information and think outside the box. After all, you know the ins and outs of your life better than any attorney, mediator or judge. If your attorney is working harder than you on your case, not only will your bill will reflect as much, but so will your final outcome.
- A Caring Distance – Your attorney is not your best friend or your therapist; your attorney is there to “counsel” you by providing legal advice. If your attorney inserts him/herself too much into your life, their ability to provide objective, sound advice about your case can be compromised. The best attorneys are those who are able to maintain a caring distance, to be empathetic and objective.
Divorce and domestic matters are by nature emotional situations because they all involve conflict between people who were once in a better place together in their lives. Betrayal, distrust, and hurt feelings are natural, as is anger. When anger directs a client’s approach to their case, the client may want to inflict pain on the other party. Tearing a “pound of flesh” doesn’t advance your case or your best interests. If you want to hire an attorney who will do exactly what you want without advising you along the way, you should look elsewhere; the attorneys at Adams & Sullivan are not that attorney. My job is to represent my client’s financial best interests and pursue a parenting plan that is in the best interests of my client’s minor children.
“My Spouse Doesn’t Deserve Our Children.” These words, and words like them, make me shudder. Children should have healthy relationships with both parents. It’s an axiomatic reality that children whose divorced parents show respect and cooperation with each other are at a reduced risk of criminal conduct, drug and alcohol abuse, and emotional distress than children whose parents were disrespectful and bitter.
If you need assistance with a family law matter, please call our office at 402-339-9550.
written by Dooley Jolly & Angela Forss Schmit