Improving Your Odds!Posted by Scott Taylor
When teamwork can reduce the gamble!
When life deals you the crappy cards of separation or divorce you have several options. You can decide to simply fold. Or, you can decide to play the hand you’ve been dealt, and try your best.
In my experience as a family law lawyer trying your best means actually being willing and able to make the most of your partnership with your lawyer. And believe me when I say that if you choose not to, retaining the very best lawyer will not help your case.
Here’s some advice to improve your chances in this all important match.
Early is Best
As I’ve often stressed in the past the sooner you get effective legal advice the better.
On several occasions I’ve been consulted by parents, who agreed to accept supervised access, in either a consent order or written agreement (usually because it was the only access they were being offered), before seeing a lawyer.
Unknown to them was the fact that changing access from supervised to some other form of reasonable access, can be extremely challenging, squandering significant time, and cost. Expecting any lawyer to change access terms overnight in the face of determined opposition supported by a supervised access order or agreement is virtually impossible.
Always be Prepared
When you are asked by your lawyer to obtain documents or provide explanations there is likely a very good reason. Failure to produce such material or information can seriously jeopardize your lawyer’s ability to properly prepare for, and effectively represent your best interests.
Some clients, to their peril, treat the terms of court orders more like suggestions, rather than binding conditions. Bad mistake.
There are few things which anger judges more, or hamstring your own lawyer worse, than choosing to disregard a court ordered term.
I recall a former client of mine who chose to overlook a term in an earlier order. Even though we were now in court dealing with an altogether different matter the judge decided, in a not so favourable judgement, to send the message to the client that court orders are not to be trifled with.
So consider your family lawyer as your partner in this potentially life changing gamble.
If you choose otherwise in the biggest gamble of your life there may be no home to go back to.