Beware of over aggressive divorce lawyers
The word aggressive gets thrown around a lot by divorce lawyers, including in California. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is both right and within the context of intelligent and effective family law representation.
I don't know anybody who goes out and hires an aggressive divorce lawyer so that he or she can waste attorney fees in the process. "I want you to spend as much of my money as possible even when it does nothing productive to advance my case. Churn that file!" Yeah, I don't think anybody sane wants that.
But this is exactly the trap some clients fall into when they search for an aggressive divorce lawyer. These over aggressive divorce lawyer are the ones that give the profession a bad name.
Let us tell you the difference between aggressive and intelligent representation and aggressive and foolish representation.
1. Aggressive Divorce Lawyers and intelligent representation.
Here are the characteristics of an aggressive divorce lawyer who looks out for your best interest and does not churn the file.
- The lawyer will communicate with you about strategy and a budget for your case.
- The lawyer will tell you the cost versus benefit of both prosecuting and defending actions in the divorce case.
- The lawyer will find cost-effective ways to do certain tasks.
- The lawyer will take the time to keep you updated on the progress of your case and will be available to effectively communicate with you.
When everyone agrees on a course of action, the divorce lawyer will pursue it with the goals in mind. This includes making reasonable settlement offers on the issues before heavy litigation starts and before a hearing or trial. That way, you are reasonable and show the court you attempted to resolve the issues or case.
This is important if you make much more money than your spouse or there is a potential you can recover attorneys fees against your spouse based on your need and your spouse's ability to pay or California Family Code section 271 as a sanction
If adjustments are necessary to the plan, you and your divorce lawyer will communicate about it. Divorce, just like life, is not always linear. Sometimes you have to make a left or right or make changes to the path.
You may be thinking, "that sounds great! That's exactly what I want." Good. Because what we have written is how our family law firm handles divorce cases.
Unfortunately, there is the other kind of aggressive divorce lawyer Be careful. It is sometimes difficult to figure out whether you are getting the right kind or the wrong kind at a consultation.
2. The over aggressive divorce lawyer who will churn your file.
We talked about the good. Now, let's talk about the bad - the over aggressive divorce lawyer who will waste your money and potentially get you in trouble with the court for unreasonable litigation is a menace to the family court system and the family law community.
These lawyers and law firms have built reputations for this type of conduct. Here are the most common characteristics.
The ones who have practiced law for a long time are sometimes so bold that they will tell you they intend to waste time and money. They will tell you about how they have the resources to bury your spouse. These divorce lawyers will talk about papering your spouse to death. They will talk about how they will intimidate and force your spouse or your spouse's lawyer to agree to your terms.
Playing to your emotions
These divorce lawyers will play on your emotions and get you riled up. If you sit through a divorce consultation and the lawyer becomes your yes-man or yes-woman and makes you think you are right about everything and your spouse is wrong about it all, that is usually a red flag. These same types of divorce lawyers rarely give objective advice. They typically will offer you limited options and will instead want to be your hired gun.
Divorce lawyers who are over aggressive and will churn a file will not talk about a budget and a cost versus benefit analysis with you - at the most, they give it lip service. If the consequences were not what you expected, too bad. You took your chances.
In such over aggressive family law firms, the divorce lawyer that represents you in court is often someone you only initially met or with whom you had little communication during the case. Family law firms who handle cases in this way use associates to burn retainer deposits and cause huge legal fees for no reason.
We are not talking about lawyers who defend against unreasonable conduct or false allegations and that causes your fees to climb. We are also not talking about more complex cases and issues that make higher fees inevitable. That is normal and happens.
Poor communication coupled with overaggressive behavior
Over aggressive divorce lawyers who engage in this behavior often do not keep you updated on the progress of the case. Why? Because these law firms and lawyers are usually mills of some type that take on too many cases and do not have the necessary structure to really communicate and engage in a proactive dialogue with the client. Their role is just to spend your money and if that ends up in a good or bad result, so be it.
Spending your money unnecessarily
Over aggressive divorce lawyers will sometimes take you on a path where you end up spending nine dollars on a ten-dollar dispute…except multiply that by thousands or tens of thousands. In other words, the reasonable and probable outcome will not have been worth the time and money spent on it when a compromise or settlement would have been better.
If you are an emotionally charged, upset or over aggressive personality, perhaps this type of lawyer is perfect for you. I cannot believe that is who you are. You would not be here reading this article and being diligent enough to find an effective divorce lawyer for your case if that is who and what you are about.
There is a right kind of aggressive representation and a wrong kind.
Contact our family law firm for the right kind. We have offices in Orange County and Los Angeles. We represent clients in each of the seven Southern California counties. We are ready to help you.