What kind of lawyer do you need?
“I need a shark” I hear that often from clients who think that the way to win a child custody or divorce case is to hire the nastiest, meanest, most abrasive and aggressive lawyer they can find. They want to make the other person’s life a nightmare. There are times when being a shark is appropriate.
“I just want to go out” is a frequent comment from the men I represent. By the time a man comes to a lawyer’s office, he has usually already made up his mind to divorce her and is willing to give her anything she wants, just to be free of her. Big mistake. Giant. He’s looking to give up too much for her peace of mind.
“I’ve moved out and now I’ll settle for 50/50 custody of the kids.” yes, not so much. Unless her ex is a street vendor, she’s not going to get 50% custody from a court when she leaves the house. The other statement she hears a lot is, “She’s not a good mother and I want full custody.” If she really is dangerous, she should not have left, but turned you over to the child protection agency, or sought a restraining order that would protect you and the children.
Those are three scenarios I come across frequently that illustrate the different roles I play as a lawyer.
Sometimes I am a shark and I have to be extremely aggressive and relentless. I had it in a case where I knew the ex-wife had remarried, but I denied it so she could continue to collect alimony. We hired a private investigator and kept digging until we found the proof we needed to stop paying alimony. We spent many thousands of dollars but saved over a hundred thousand.
Other times I have to be a protector of my client, against his own wishes. I have to fight him to make sure he doesn’t give up too much to make peace. Men don’t value money and possessions, they usually have the mindset that they will just make more money and buy new things. But there’s no reason they should give up more than half in a divorce, and often my job is to make sure they don’t.
THE VOICE OF REALITY
Parents want to be an active participant in their children’s lives. But what they don’t know is that they have to fight hard and strategize long before a breakup to make sure their rights are respected and honored, not by the mother, but by the court. Men need to know their options and their legal rights and obligations before making drastic changes to a family law situation. The biggest mistake most men make is to act first and seek advice second. When they do that, I have to be the voice of reality that explains to them why they already lost the war and didn’t even know they were fighting.