What are the secrets of the best family law attorneys? There is an expression that the best attorneys know more than the law…they know the judge. Of course, that is exaggerated. You don’t have to golf with the judge to get good results, although in certain parts of this Country, it probably doesn’t hurt.
What is true however is the best attorneys, including family law attorneys, don’t just know the law and have experience on their side, but they also know the judge’s judicial personality, likes and dislikes on the bench, things he or she is strict and flexible with and, perhaps most importantly, things he expects from the family law attorneys that appear in family court.
Let’s discuss what the best family law attorneys already know. Our lawyers practice what we preach here. All you have to do is look at our family law client testimonials and case results and read for yourself.
1. Do you know how I know many family law attorneys are not prepared at the time that they appear for their client’s case?
Because I see it. I see it in family law attorneys that I oppose on cases who are reading their files and preparing notes while they sit in court and wait for the judge to call the case.
I see it because when I speak to some of my family law colleagues about the issues and the details of the case, they sometimes do not know the facts, issues, the law and how it applies to the divorce we are handling against each other and are even sometimes unfamiliar with their own family law client’s allegations.
Although every family law judge has his or her own unique personality in court, one thing they all agree on is the importance of the attorney being prepared for the case that he intends to discuss with the court. Family law judges hate nothing more than an attorney who stands before them and does not know the facts and the issues. It becomes a waste of their time, the family court’s resources and the money that family law attorney’s client has paid him or her.
The best family law attorneys walk into court prepared for the hearing, no matter how big or small the family law issues may be on that day.
At our law firm, we keep in constant contact with our clients and not only stay up to speed on the changing or evolving facts of the case but we prepare detailed notes about the issues that are regularly updated, as well as strategy on how we intend to deal with them and how we intend, with our client’s help, to achieve the right result. We can’t do this on our own. No family law lawyer can. However because of our communication skills with our client, making sure that we are informed at all times of the facts and our neurotic attention to detail, we are able to walk into Court ready to be the advocate our client expects.
2. Honesty is the best policy in life and in divorce. The best family law attorneys are honest and forth right about the facts and issues.
There is no reason to lie to the court to gain an advantage. It rarely works. Although unfortunately I see many lawyers do that on a regular basis, including opposing family law attorneys on cases that we have handled, we insist on, at all times, wearing the white hat. That is simply because we believe when you have the facts on your side and you have conducted your due diligence to make sure that your client’s position has merit, it is a waste of time, money and unnecessary damage to your reputation to misrepresent anything to the family law judge.
Every family law judges expect the attorney to be honest. However, some family law judges take this very seriously and if a family law attorney loses credibility in front of that judge, he or she may have a very difficult time gaining it back.
Without naming names, I can tell you that I have seen firsthand family law attorneys misrepresent facts and sometimes even try to misrepresent the law to certain judges who have become upset at what they have seen and heard.
This is where choosing the right family law attorney for your divorce case is critical. Fortunately, with our law firm, our clients tell you everything you need to know. That is why we have the client testimonial page and the case results page. Truth be told, if we listed all of our victories and comments from happy clients, it would fill far too many pages of this website. That is also why we offer, to every family law client, references that they can call and speak to, who are actual clients we represented, and to let them know about their experience with our divorce lawyers.
3. The top family lawyers are reasonable.
What does that mean? The word “reasonable” can mean different things to different people. But when it comes to what we do for a living, the answer is pretty simple. We do not take on cases for clients who are bad people with malicious intentions. We insist on only representing good family law clients who have the right intentions and do not intend to use the divorce process as a means to seek revenge or any other negative or illicit reasons.
In addition, issues that should be settled (assuming we are dealing with a reasonable attorney and spouse on the other side of the case) will be settled.
Our divorce, custody, support and paternity clients and our law firm work hard to make sure that disclosures are done properly because we tell every client the same thing– that he or she must be honest with disclosure of all assets, debts, income and expenses and there is no exception to that rule. I wish most of my colleagues and family law attorneys followed this same rule. It would avoid a lot of litigation and a lot of wasted time and money for everyone, including the Family Court.
Family law judges know which the reasonable lawyers are and are not. When we walk into court, I am proud to say that the family law judge knows that we are not there to pick battles on ridiculous issues and we are not there to cause unnecessary litigation. What we are there for is to advocate our client’s position because consistent and reasonable attempts at settlement have failed for whatever reason. Even on the date of court hearings, we are open to settlement of the issues. However if the case does not settle, we are ready and willing to do battle in court because we have the confidence of knowing that our client is in the right.
4. Family law judges appreciate a zealous advocate.
However, zealous does not mean “over zealous.” There is no jury in family law cases. Judges do not need to hear from attorneys who make a spectacle in court. The facts, issues, and the law in any case can be addressed calmly but zealously so that the point you are trying to make is driven home for your judge. This is what every family law judge in our county, especially the ones with long experience and who have handled thousands of family law cases, appreciate the most. Efficiency makes their job easier. Grand standing does not.
5. The best family law attorneys have client control.
The term may sound odd because the word “control” can have a somewhat negative connotation. Client control it simply making sure that the attorney has taken the time to manage his or her client’s expectations so that the client does not come to court unclear about the goals and the procedure to bring the case to a reasonable conclusion.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done. Every lawyer with experience recognizes that divorce can be an emotional experience for many and sometimes those emotions can get the better of the client. Fortunately, we have been successful in tempering those emotions so that our clients can make good and confident business decisions on the financial issues of their family law case and custody and visitation decisions consistent with their child or their children’s best interests.
Judges appreciate this because what they see is the attorney in tune with his or her client, like we are in the far majority of our cases. That doesn’t mean we don’t every once in a while have a client that goes astray. But even in those situations, and lawyers work very hard to bring that occasionally troubled client back to a reasonable set of expectations consistent with what the family law judge wants to see.
So, do the best family law lawyers know the judge? Yes, in a manner of speaking. Knowledge, experience, and a passion for what we do for living in helping spouses get through one of the most difficult chapters of their life has helped us know each O.C. family law judge’s personality in court, expectations, and judicial likes and dislikes. Of course, just like life, this is a constant and continuing learning experience but we are proud to say we are very good at it and getting better every day.
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