The advice that I give to potential clients of the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan that I consider to be the most important has to do with the emotional
aspects of a
family law case. Many people have been to court before in a car accident case or
because a contractor you hired took some of your money and ran off to
Florida. Whether it’s an insurance company or a shady business-person
who’s on the other side of the table from you at the end of the
day it is money that you are most concerned with. Family law cases are
different animals altogether.
Why are family law cases different from other kinds of legal cases?
Family law cases (obviously) involve families. The good things, the bad
things, and everything in between will come out in your
divorce or child
custody case. How you deal with the stress of having your and your children’s
lives thrown into a tizzy will determine the quality of your post-lawsuit
life. It is not uncommon to receive reports from your kids that their
other parent and his or her family are talking about you negatively to
the children. Hearing this can drive you bananas with frustration. It
is wise to keep your emotions in check as you begin to hire an attorney
and map out your goals for the case.
This is exactly why family law cases are so different than any other legal
case. In no other setting are your reputation, your
children and your relationship with your children all wrapped up into one big proceeding.
This tends to bring out the worst in us as human beings from the standpoint
that you are so emotionally invested in the case that things that you
normally would never say or do tend to happen in a family law case. If
you are normally a level headed, rational decision maker be prepared to
be tested throughout your family law case. There is so much riding on
the case that sometimes clients can lose control and act in ways that
is not advisable.
Spouse vs. Spouse leads to undesirable results
The best situation for any family law case is for the two parties to come
together and work towards an agreement without involving the court or
delaying the finalization of the case. This is not always possible but
it can always be attempted. Many people who come into our office for a free
consultation arrive with the thought that their spouse or ex-spouse is so difficult
to deal with that a
settlement would be impossible. I am here to tell you that most cases do, however,
settle out of court. It’s often that the parties to a family law
case never even see the inside of a courtroom.
All it takes, though, is one party to upset this sort of case-trajectory
to end up in a multiple month-long back and forth that ends with nobody
getting what they want and the lawyers having to bill more for representation
fees that should have been needed if the parties had worked together at
the beginning of a case.
Being able to focus on your own case and not on the person you are divorcing
or having a child custody dispute with can go a long ways towards keeping
case costs low and spirits high. The attorneys with the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to discuss some advice we have to share in the area of managing
emotions and not letting the actions of others affect your views and goals
towards your family law case.
Set your moral compass early in your family law case
By this I mean: whatever your upbringing, whatever your political beliefs,
I can say pretty safely that just about every person reading this blog
post has the same ideas about what is right and what is wrong. We generally
know how to treat others and how to not treat others. We especially know
what can and will cause a great deal of anger in a spouse or ex spouse.
Pressing the other party’s buttons is a frequently engaged in activity
for parties to a family law case.
At the beginning of your family law case take some time to not only evaluate your
goals for the end of a case but also for how you conduct yourself during the
case. How do you want to be treated by the opposing party? How do you
want to treat the opposing party? How do you want your children to view
you after the case is over and how do you want them to view you in a decade?
You have the power to decide this for yourself. It may be the only item
in your whole case that you alone can decide without the help or permission
of another person. If you can control your emotions you can control yourself.
A case is a lot more manageable when you can do this.
Do your best to understand the case from the opposing party’s perspective
Clearly outline your goals and communicate those goals to your attorney
at the beginning of the case. That way your attorney can advise you as
to what can be achieved but will need to be worked on and how to best
get there. What is important for keeping your sanity during a family law
case is to attempt to see the case from the other party’s perspective.
This is the same advice your parents gave you growing up: walk a mile in
their shoes, etc. It sounds simple and it is- frustratingly so. You want
what you want and come hell or high water you are going to get it. Not
so fast. Did the other side say something in court or make an unreasonable
request? At first blush it is easy to take a comment and read too much
into it and see it as something that is supposed to antagonize you and
nothing more. The quick and easy response is to do something similar right
back. This may be satisfying at first but it is rarely smart and rarely
Do your best to think through the case and see if from all perspectives.
Sometimes there are cases where one side or the other really is operating
in a way that is designed to anger their opponent. Your case will probably
not be one of those cases. Your opponent is out to better themselve- not
to destroy you and the things you hold most dear.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan: Counselors and attorneys at Law
If you are interested in learning more about the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan and the services we offer to families across southeast Texas please do
not hesitate to
contact us today. A consultation with our office is free of charge and are available
six days a week. A family law case is not like any other legal proceeding
you’ve ever been involved with and having a representative on your
side who is experienced and understanding of the issues is critical.