Unlike other areas of law, there is no clear winner or loser in Family Law. All parties involved in a separation endure some degree of emotional, physical and often financial hardship.
Our objective is to inform our clients of their rights, make the divorce process simpler for them, help them identify and achieve goals, and ultimately resolve their case. It is not possible for us to decidedly tell clients that they will get what they ask for, but we do know that there are things they can do to both increase and decrease their chances of getting less than they were asking for.
We would advise that clients avoid doing the following things to ensure they are satisfied with how their case is resolved.
Have Unrealistic Expectations
If a party enters negotiations expecting to keep all of their assets, have sole custody of the children, and receive a high amount of spousal support, they will not be happy with the end results. No matter how amicable the opposing party is, s/he is going to have needs and requests as well. Simply put, neither party should expect to get everything.
Hide Or Alter Financial Records
It is extremely important that a client be candid with their lawyer. S/he needs to be aware of any weaknesses in the case, as well specific financial details so that s/he can build a defense that will hold up in court. If a client lies, or is deceitful about a bank account or investments, the lawyer might not know about it, but the client’s spouse will. Withholding or altering financial information weakens the credibility and strength of a case, especially if it is being presented before a judge.
It’s difficult to keep emotions out of divorce, but acting selfishly due to anger or resentment is a big mistake, particularly when children are involved. Lawyers and judges will make decisions that preserve the best interests of the children, and if a client is asking for sole custody simply to get back at their soon-to-be ex, the request will not be granted. Instead, clients should demonstrate their willingness to accommodate their children and provide stability during this difficult time.
Disobey A Lawyer’s Orders
A lawyer’s job is to guide their clients and help them succeed by providing a detailed course of action. That includes instructing them on things they should and should not do. Most clients take what their lawyers says seriously, but there are people who will ignore or do the opposite of what their lawyer has told them. If this persists, the lawyer can legally withdraw his or her services based on a loss of confidence. Trust must exist between a client and a lawyer.
All legal cases deal with time-sensitive matter. Forms and information are required to be submitted within a strict timeframe to ensure each case continues to move towards a resolution. If these rules were not imposed, cases could take years to resolve, especially if one party does not want to end a marriage. So if a party misses a deadline, the matter will continue, but their case will become weaker because they are missing supporting evidence. With regards to financial statements, the court can draw an adverse inference against the party, inferring that they have more assets than they have actually disclosed. The court will then proceed to divide the assets as if they included the ‘inferred assets’, resulting in the other party receiving a larger settlement.
Finally, it’s important to remember that a lawyer will do everything that s/he can to help a client, but s/he can’t do everything. Clients must ensure that they’re doing what’s required of them as well.
Are you seeking assistance from an experienced family lawyer who can provide practical advice and effective representation? Contact us to set up a free consultation.