Monday, March 12, 2012

Things you should never say to your divorce attorney (article attached) & dealing with anger during your divorce

I'm seriously considering passing this article out as part of the general information package at the consultation-  Don't prejudge the article- it's not a pompous attorney complaining about all they have to listen's advice that benefits the client in the end- and in the present-even if they can't see it right now!

Source:  Huffington Post

Henry Gornbein has specialized in family law for over 40 years. He has seen almost every possible scenario, and he would like to share some things clients have said to him that often are better left unsaid. Here are some things you should never say to your divorce lawyer. In no particular order, they are as follows:

“1. I don’t care what it costs, I would rather give you everything than give anything to my wife/husband. The reality is that no matter what you pay, you are going to give something to your spouse. Things said in anger or in the heat of passion will be taken back later. This is especially true when a client receives my final bill. You may want revenge, but that rarely happens in a divorce. It is better to spend your hard-earned money on your family, for your children’s college education, or a vacation. Divorces are expensive enough, both economically and emotionally, without adding revenge to the equation.

2. I would like to bring my “friend” with me to the interview. We have attorney/client privilege, and once you bring a third party in, whether it’s a relative, a lover or whoever, the attorney/client privilege is gone. Unless a third party is officially associated with your case, there is no attorney/client privilege. If a friend or lover is in a meeting, and the case gets nasty, in the event a deposition or trial ever occurs, there is no privilege and all these secrets can spill out in a deposition or in court.

3. My friend or neighbor has told me to do this … There is nothing worse than having all your friends and relatives — who mean well — give you advice. Every divorce is different. Every divorce is unique. What makes sense for your friend and relative may make no sense for you. In addition, people often tell you only part of the story. You often get a lot of misinformation from well-meaning friends and relatives. Think about this: There are at least five variables in every divorce. The first is you — your personality, your reasons for wanting to save or end the marriage. The second variable is your spouse — his/her personality and motivations. The third is your attorney — the attorney’s personality, motivations and experience. Fourth is your spouse’s attorney. And last but not least, the fifth variable is the judge. Change any of these people and variables, and you may get a different result. For these reasons, sideline quarter backing is often very detrimental to your divorce.

4. I’m in a hurry to get this over with. Saying this immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Compromise is critical in any divorce. It is also necessary to come to a resolution. If you let your spouse know how desperate you are, and the other attorney knows that as well, then the divorce is going to cost you a lot more and you will regret it in the future. I was in court this past week on a case where my client had been in a hurry to end the marriage because of a new relationship. I have seen these scenarios time and again. In this case, the relationship is lasting, but my client has a lot of regrets and remorse over the fact that she sold herself out for far less than she might have been entitled to if she had not been so desperate to end the marriage. Don’t rush. A divorce is one of the most critical events in your life, and while it is important get it over with, hurrying can be very costly. You do not want to have regrets once the divorce is final.

5. I’ve been promised that I will see the children more and pay less. I just have to sign the papers. Be careful. There is often a hidden motive behind a promise, and if someone told you this — especially if this is a hotly litigated case — there is often a hidden agenda. Remember, there is no Easter Bunny, and someone who is pushing you to sign the papers too quickly has something up his or her sleeve. This is where it is important to make sure that your attorney fully understands all the aspects of the case and is there to protect you and advocate for you where necessary.

6. Showing your biases and prejudices. I’ve had clients who will come to me and start using racial, religious or ethnic slurs. I think it’s wrong. I think it also shows something about the person that is highly unattractive.

7. Never say never. Never say that you will not pay any spousal support. Never say that your spouse can have everything. Never say that your spouse is going to get nothing. Never say that you are going to leave your children. Every case has an upside and downside, but saying “never” is the worst thing that you can do. There are exceptions to every rule, especially in a divorce situation. Keep an open mind. Remember that your attorney is there to counsel and advise you and help you go forward as you try to rebuild your life.”


On another, somewhat related, note:

Most clients feel alone when they feel overwhelmed and angry; ashamed when they want revenge for the wrongs of their spouse. What's important to remember-  you shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed that you have those thoughts- that's completely natural.  In fact, if you were going through a contested divorce and didn't have a desire for revenge, it would be unique.  With that being said, after you recognize the anger and hostility, take the opportunity to do something about it.  Distract yourself with a healthy new hobby, take a college course, volunteer, join a support group or seek counseling if you become too overwhelmed.   You may think- "take up a hobby?  right now?  I don't think so.. I've never been more depressed in my life!"  and you'd have a good reason to feel that way.   The emotional ramifications of a divorce,  or any family law matter, are tough to handle.  Very tough.  But, you will not begin feeling better until you get out of that house and begin walking into the future. 

All of the above mentioned activities can have a tremendously positive affect on your life and usually begin to make people feel better within a few weeks.  Life is not over if you are getting a divorce.  Life didn't begin when you were married, and it's not ending now.   Getting involved in other activities can reinvigorate your zest for life and desire for happiness- when you're feeling happy, there isn't a lot of room for anger and revenge.  Give it a shot.  Drag yourself through the motions if you have to.  Like they say- "fake it 'till you make it"  Just for a few weeks.  If I'm wrong and you don't feel at least a little better- call me and tell me I'm clueless.  At least then, if you're still full of anger, you'll feel better taking it out on a divorce lawyer, because, let's face it, there isn't much, that chewing out an attorney, won't make at least a little better.

Best of luck to all who are dealing with these issues. 

If you should need the help of an attorney- please feel free to contact my office.

Brad G. Fisher, Esq.
The Law Firm of Brad G. Fisher, P.A.
214 E. Church Street
Pensacola, Florida 32502
Telephone 850.470.0100
Facsimile 850.470.0106


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  2. We can all think of challenging, sad, difficult, tragic times. Life is meant to be a test to help strengthen us and gain compassion for others. Take the sadness you feel, and share what you've learned from your divorce experience with others who may be going through what you've been through. Be there to help others, and remind them that they are not alone; they will get through it.