Do Not Make These Phone Calls

I remember standing in a line for an airplane flight that had been delayed and(c) watching the man in front of me berating the flight assistant who had the misfortune of bearing the bad news.  I remember thinking that if she did have any food coupons, or any idea when our flight would leave, or any other small ability to help us travelers, that this man was assuring he would be the very last person she would help.

Since then, I notice the phenomenon all the time:  frustrated, angry people venting their emotions at the only person in the world who might be able to help them out a bit; and thereby making their situation worse.  One place I frequently notice it is with family lawyers and their clients. 

Your attorney is your guide through the legal system. 

Your attorney is probably the only person on your team who knows the legal system.  And, even if other members of your team claim to know (or actually do know) the legal system, you need to have an attorney who you believe is the final authority on the legal system for purposes of your divorce.  If you do not trust your lawyer, hire a different lawyer, but once you have retained counsel, do not second guess your lawyer throughout the process.

Obviously, there are times and moments when one needs to part ways with one’s attorney; but until that time comes, telling your support team to dissect and re-analyze your lawyer’s advice is counter-productive, as is contacting other lawyers you know and running it all past them.  Your lawyers’ advise is not given in a vacuum, it is given with a specific set of facts (your set of facts) surrounding it, and must be understood in context to be effective.

Treat your attorney with common courtesy.  If you have your attorney’s home phone number, it is probably to be used for emergencies, and even then at reasonable hours.

Here are some examples of calls to NOT make:

6:15 a.m.   “It is snowing out, do we still have to go to court today?”

6:15 p.m.  “I just remembered that my Wife did not fill the gas tank last weekend, and I want you to file a motion for contempt.”

11:30p.m. “My wife and I cannot agree about where our 8 year old son should sleep tonight, so he is sleeping in the hallway.”

7 a.m.  “I know you are not my lawyer, but I rely on your for advice, and I am nervous about my hearing today, can we talk before I go meet with my lawyer?”

 December 24, 3 p.m.  “I know we worked out a holiday schedule, but I just told my husband that he cannot see the children tonight or tomorrow unless he gives me more money and comes in to your office today to sign a document to that effect.”

 Different year, December 24, 5 p.m.  “I know we have already spoken 3 times today, but I really don’t want to see the children today unless we have finished discussing summer vacation and reached an agreement.”

What We Love:  Your attorney is your guide through the legal system.  Treat this person with respect and you could shave thousands of dollars (and sometimes years!) off your divorce.

Published by Sharon Oberst DeFala

Sharon Oberst DeFala has practiced low-impact safe divorce since 1992.

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