I don’t know how attorneys get on with their clients in bankruptcy, criminal, or real estate closings, but in family court chances are you are not going to be lifelong besties with your attorney. And it’s not our fault.
It’s not that we are unpleasant to be around outside of court. That we despise golf and Netflix and wine and whatever it is other well-balanced happy people enjoy. Sudoku? It’s the family court attorney-client relationship. It can be … intense.
Your sex life may be involved (not with your attorney!).
Your kids are involved. And how you raise your kids is involved. Sometimes, the fact that your kids hate you is involved, and why.
Your finances are involved.
You get the picture. Dirty laundry.
Fact is: your family court attorney is going to know way more about you way sooner than is healthy for any kind of relationship.
And the divorce or child custody process is a war of attrition, even in the best of times. It is not unfair to say that a significant part of a family law attorney’s job is to stand between the client and opposing party (or between client and judge) and absorb some of the abuse.
Please understand. In the family court, your attorney has seen it all and heard it all well before you. They have seen your exact judge deal with a problem or situation almost exactly like yours at least twice this month. Your attorney knows what the court is going to do well before the court does. And we are not shy. We will tell you what is going to happen, and this may be surprising. “Why aren’t you advocating for me?” We are sometimes asked, in our offices, where there is no judge or opposing counsel to advocate to. And we are.
Know that when you / we make your case to the judge he or she will be searching for a resolution point, for the weakest link in your argument in order to avoid granting the relief you are seeking. If your family law attorney knows in advance how the judge will rule they can (and should) bolster some of your arguments and eliminate, revise, or question others. This is advocacy.
We are not here to be your friend, per say. If we are, then great, but that is not our job. We are here to get you through this process with bank account and dignity intact. If possible.