In case you hadn’t heard… Going through a divorce is a highly emotional time. Most people fall into one of two extremes when they begin the divorce process; they either shut down mentally, or suddenly develop an intently overzealous “out for blood” mindset. Both of these ends of the spectrum can negatively impact the legal process and also impact the attorney-client relationship. Recognizing where you fit on the spectrum is critical and may assist you in achieving a better legal outcome.
If you find yourself on the depressed, shut down side of things, the first thing to do is to recognize it. You need to surround yourself with a beneficial support structure that may include family, friends, and even spiritual or professional counselors. A common mistake that this type of client inevitably makes is to perceive their legal counsel as their mental health counselor. More times than not I find myself explaining that when an attorney emotionally invests themselves or practices dual roles they run the risk of making legal judgments or giving advice based upon empathy and not sound legal analysis. Our job is to legally represent you through your divorce.
The key for the “determined to draw blood” client is focus. This person is known to call/text/email his or her attorney frequently, giving loads of “ammo” concerning peripheral matters. For example, if a soon-to-be-ex-husband was supposed to pick up the children at 3 pm and he arrived at 3:05, she fires off an email and leaves a voicemail requesting it to be documented to be used later in proceedings. This type of client needs to ask themselves, “Does this truly impact my case, and does my attorney need to know this?” Now, keeping a calendar of these types of instances may be sufficient and potentially beneficial, but rarely is it so important to create a lengthy email or phone call which results in an attorney fee charge. Instead, focus on getting through the difficult time in a constructive manner.
If you should find yourself in the situation of needing a divorce attorney, be mindful of how the process can change you as a person, and how it can affect those around you. It’s not just husband and wife getting a divorce; your entire support network is involved. Lean on those around you when you’re feeling down. And when you feel your anger begin to rise, think of the emotional and financial repercussions prior to acting on that anger. Always remember your attorney is there to fight your battles, legally.