“Help me, help you. Help me, help you!” -Jerry Maguire
In one sense, an attorney-client relationship is not dissimilar from a doctor-patient relationship: the client (or patient) must take an active role in obtaining the desired results. A doctor can advise a patient with high blood pressure to watch their sodium intake, but it is the patient’s
responsibility to eat more celery and less fast food. Likewise, an attorney can warn a divorce client to stop posting to Facebook pictures of the client “partying” while engaged in a contested custody dispute, but if that advice is not heeded, then those pictures may later materialize as evidence used against the client.
One of the goals of my practice is to advise my clients how they can help to increase their odds of achieving their desired goals. Here are just a few of my tips for how client’s can help achieve great results in their divorce or family law case.
1. Keep a journal/log. In family law matters, there exists an almost unlimited number of issues that can arise. Keeping a log may not only prove to be evidentiary at a later court hearing, but will also assist in keeping track of the process.
2. Don’t lose your temper. Text messages, phone conversations, and emails are often used in court to demonstrate domestic violence, lack of fitness of a parent, and many other issues. What may seem like blowing off steam in the heat of the moment may later be taken out of context or used to demonstrate a pattern. Anger may also hurt your odds of quickly settling a case.
3. Meet with a mental health expert. It is helpful for many people going through a divorce to meet with a mental health professional. The old saying that a divorce is worse than a death in the family is, according to most of my clients, very accurate. Having access to a professional in your corner can help alleviate some of the stress.
4. Be careful when using social media. When you go on Facebook or ‘Tweet’ something, be careful. Again, many things can be taken out of context and it’s easier for others to access your social media information than you might expect. You should also note that what has already been posted should stay up, as removing it may be seen as “destroying” or “tampering” with evidence.
5. Take notes and store documents in one safe location. When you speak with your attorney or something important occurs in your case, take notes. You should ideally maintain a notebook/binder of all important documentation and information relating to your case. Keep this binder in a safe/private place.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask your attorney questions. You hired an attorney in part to have someone available to answer those questions.
There are many more ways a client can assist in reducing the costs of litigation, strengthening their case, and helping to achieve greater results in their case. When dealing with the Court system—things can sometimes feel out of the client’s control—but focusing on what can be controlled or affected should help both attorney and client achieve a successful outcome to the case.
Your New Jersey Divorce Lawyer:
If you’re considering a New Jersey divorce or Family Law action contact me to discuss your options. You can schedule an initial consultation by calling my office at 908-237-3096 or by scheduling your own divorce consultation online by clicking here.