Attorneys spend the majority of their days cleaning up their client’s emotional decisions. A lot of time is spent telling their clients to stop posting memes that compare their ex to Hitler, Hades, or Cruella De Vil; stop sending text messages that battle those of 12 year olds’ adolescent petulance; stop hiding clothes or personal items when your ex comes over to pick up their belongings; stop talking in hashtags as a way of being bicker-y #worstmotheroftheyear #divorcedandpushing40 #singleandwrinkled #noalimony #hollerwewantprenupwewantprenup #worsthusbandever #baldsingleman #midwifecrisis; stop binge drinking and drunk calling your ex; or chill and stop fighting over the lazy boy when you never sat in it. These times can be frustrating and we often feel like an emotional janitor mopping up the mess that our clients have started when we couldn’t stop them ahead of time. However, there are also times, which are few and far between, in which our clients do the opposite. They refuse to do anything. They refuse to act, respond, or even blink without making sure that it’s not going to be frowned upon. These are the times when it might be a good idea to start buckin’ up. Here are a few of those times:
- When your lawyer fees become astronomical. If you’re contacting your lawyer more often than your mother, therapist, or children – it might be time for you to use your backbone a little bit. Perhaps you should stop and think about what your lawyer has already told you on the matter and think of how that advice could possibly apply to the current situation at hand. If your lawyer has already told you to stop letting your spouse walk all over, talk over, and run over you… it’s time you take that advice. You’ll go into deep debt if you rely on your lawyer to always be the one looking out for you. Of course, there is a fine line between standing up for yourself and being petty. Find it. Therapists are a great source of help for this!
- Your children are in the midst of constant drama and the abyss of “I don’t know how to handle this.” Children need structure. They need stability. You cannot give them a shaky foundation while you await your lawyer’s response. If you have the legal authority to make decisions, and you are a decent parent, make them. It’s one thing to shut out your spouse and alienate them. It’s another to make daily decisions on your own. If your spouse is causing a shaky foundation, buck up and talk with them about it. Be your children’s advocate. Be your own advocate. If you can’t handle the situation – call your lawyer.
- Your spouse tells you more of “how this is going to go” than your lawyer. I wish I were Miss Cleo. Seriously. I wish I had the psychic powers to predict how your judge is going to rule on every matter each and every time. Alas, I’m not. I’m just a lawyer using my own knowledge of the Judge and the law attempting to predict how a case should go. It doesn’t mean that it will go that way. If your spouse claims the opposite without being an attorney in the field or knowing the Judge or the law, stop listening. Ferme la bouche. Let’s try some role playing:
Ex: Judge never awards alimony so you better take this offer.
Response: You have no idea what the Judge will do. I’ll agree to an offer I find to be fair.
Ex: You’ll never get child support because I know that the Judge knows my lawyer. They play squash together.
Response: Judges are bound by ethics. The legal community is small. They all know and like each other most of the time. If this becomes an issue, I’ll have my lawyer address it.
Ex: Men don’t get custody. You should just accept that and move on.
Response: My children are important to me. I will fight to get what is fair.
Ex: Your lawyer is dragging this out. All your lawyer wants to do is make you bankrupt. If you would just agree to this, it’d save us a lot of money.
Response: I know my lawyer better than you do. I trust her to look out for me. That is why I hired her. If I felt like I could represent myself, I wouldn’t have made that decision.