The absence of an attorney with trial/litigation experience could be detrimental if the opposing spouse has hired an attorney who is experienced in litigation. An experienced trial attorney would be necessary to avoid a potential injustice. The important fact is that you do not confuse aggressive for self-directed. An aggressive attorney may be aggressive for all the wrong reasons. You want a powerful advocate; just make sure the attorney is advocating for positions that are greater than your own. Divorce cases are fraught with financial confusion and lack of direction.
Tips for Dealing with Difficult Opposing Counsel
Point out Common Ground
Nothing takes someone off guard faster than telling them you agree with them. And nothing will confound the difficult opposing counsel like telling them there is no fight when they are geared up for one. Of course, this isn’t to say you should just give in, but emphasizing points of agreement that exist is a great way to disarm an opponent. Pointing out common ground in front of a judge will make you look more reasonable than the attorney that is trying to “win” every point. By taking areas of common ground off the battlefield, you will also be able to increase efficiency in litigation, which makes clients happy.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Why
Just because someone is making demands and giving ultimatums doesn’t mean you have to answer them without question. Instead try answering them with a question: “Why is this so important to you?” There is only one way to satisfy a position, but there may be many ways to satisfy the underlying interest – some of which may provide mutual gain!
Separate the Person from the Problem
It’s easy to get sucked into an adversarial relationship when the system is by its nature adversarial and opposing counsel is approaching you as a competitor. Remember, opposing counsel isn’t the problem; it’s the tactics they are employing that are problematic. Try to frame interactions without blame or judgment of the person, but highlight the actions instead. This will decrease the likelihood of enflaming them further, and will lead to more peaceful interactions.
Focus on your Interests
Another way to say this is “keep your eyes on the prize.” Focus on what you are trying to get out of each interaction and not on winning each presented battle. If counsel is trying to control the briefing schedule, let them, as long as it’s not impacting your interests (expediency, ability to respond, etc.). They expect a battle, but don’t get caught up in the small stuff.
Don’t Fall for your Assumptions
It’s so easy to think we know what is motivating our adversaries. Every action and statement from the other side has a purpose and because of past experiences it’s easy to jump to conclusions as to what opposing counsel and his client are up to. That motion that was filed at the last minute? He just wants you to be unprepared. That continuance they asked for? They’re just delaying matters to be a thorn in your side! Sometimes your assumptions are correct. This helps you to maximize the efficiency in which you are assimilating information. Many times they are not incorrect. Perhaps the motion was filed at the last minute because of new information. Maybe that continuance was asked for to build in some more time to explore settlement options. Believing incorrect assumptions just escalates conflict. Recognize when your reaction is to factual information and when it is based off of assumptions. This will help you act in a more calculated and reasonable manner.
Take a Calculated Approach
Just because we have an adversarial system does not mean that every situation requires a competitive approach. Competitive approaches are great when you don’t have to have an ongoing relationship with the person. If it is someone you will be facing in the future, because litigation will likely drag on or because your legal community is small, try to take the ongoing relationship into consideration. Know when to avoid or even accommodate and know when compromising or collaborating might be a better approach. Compromising is a great strategy for making quick decisions and improving the ongoing relationship. Collaborating opens options for win-win resolutions by allowing both sides to be heard and engage in dialogue (sometimes with the help of a mediator or other neutral). When you respond instead of react, you have the upper hand, regardless of your approach.
Control the Conversation by Reframing
The difficult attorney likes to make demands and inflammatory statements. He likes to be in control of the conversation. You can flip the script by using a reframe. Change complaints to requests. Instead of focusing on what they are dissatisfied with, focus the conversation on what it is they would like to have happen. Restate positions as interests. They may be demanding one thing, but what are they really looking for? Have a conversation about how to satisfy both sides’ interests. Define individual goals as joint ones. You will automatically change a competitive situation into a collaborative one. Change the focus from the past to the future. Next time opposing counsel says, “I’ll expect an answer by the end of the day of the day.” You can say, “I am glad that we both want to have this matter settled quickly.” Then negotiate a timeline that works for both of you.
Pick up the Phone
It’s so easy to mis-communicate via electronic communication. Sometimes that difficult attorney is more difficult with keyboard courage and the angry voice you use when you read their e-mails. Perhaps word choice or shortness in response to you is increasing your conflict. Picking up the phone is faster because you can engage in a dialogue, allowing you to respond and ask questions immediately. Hearing each other’s voices allows you to better determine when someone is making an offer and when someone is making an ultimatum, being difficult or simply trying to resolve an issue, and ultimately gives you more information about what tactics you should take to respond.
Tips for Finding the Best Family Lawyer
Unfortunately, the current divorce rate in the U.S. is about 40 percent. If you are going through this difficult situation, you’ll need to surround yourself with people who care about you. Moreover, you need to hire the best divorce attorney to ensure you get a good deal. Marriages end in divorce due to several reasons. These include infidelity, money, lack of communication, and fighting. Others are a lack of intimacy, unrealistic expectations, and even abuse. Worse still, some of these couples have children caught up in this situation. Since such cases don’t always end well, you must find the best divorce attorney to represent yours and your children’s interests.
Here are some tips to help you find the best divorce attorney:
• Ask Your Friends and Family: Ask your friends and family if they know a professional divorce attorney. Make sure to find an attorney who specializes in divorce cases and family law.
• Understand What You Want to Get from the Divorce: As tough as the divorce may be, you must still ensure you get what you want from it. For example, you can push for sole parental rights. Your attorney can use a child support calculator to get you the right amount from your former spouse.
• Consult the Local Bar Association: The local bar association has a list of the top attorneys in your area. Consult with them and get a list of names. Do some research on the attorneys you find, and see if any of them offer free consultations.
• Search Online: Thanks to the internet, you can get all the information you need about legal experts in your area. There’ll be reviews posted online about each of those attorneys as well. Reading these reviews helps you choose the right attorney.
• Consider Your Budget: Legal fees can go very high if you are dealing with one of the best legal firms. As such, consider your budget first. Then, look for attorneys who are within your price range.
• Use the Yellow Pages: Get the Yellow Pages and search the listings for divorce attorneys. You can either go old school with the physical yellow pages or look at an online directory.
• Try the Classifieds: Pick up a magazine or go online to check the services section in the classifieds. You might get some luck and find a listing for a divorce attorney.
• Visit Local Law Firms: Research law firms in your area and pay them a visit. Many firms offer free initial consultations. During your consultation, get more information on the kinds of cases they have experience working with.
• Get Referrals from Your Insurance Firm: Insurance agencies know many lawyers from different fields. Call your insurance agent and ask for a referral.
• Use the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: This law directory contains names and profile data of lawyers in the country. Use it to find experienced divorce attorneys. Talk to these attorneys and pick the one you like.
Aggressive does not mean smart, prepared or effective
The “aggressive attorney” often makes few friends in the courthouse. The effective attorney compromises on procedural issues because he or she knows that the case isn’t won or lost in deposition, procedural hearings and/or with tricks. Cases on won based on the facts, the arguments and the attorney’s behind the scenes preparation for trial. Those silly arguments, ranting phone calls, scathing letters and clownish antics all cost you between $300 and $500 an hour and gain you nothing but more billable hours for nothing but a silly side show. You may be certain in your own mind that settlement is impossible. Yet, statistics show otherwise; upwards of 90 percent of cases settle before trial. Settling a case is far cheaper than going to trial. Most attorneys charge a higher rate for trial hours, not to mention the extra costs for preparation, additional hearings, and potential post-trial motions. Since an aggressive attorney will be less likely to compromise, you will have a harder time settling and that will cost you serious dollars. You may be counting on an order that your spouse will ultimately pay your attorneys’ fees, but typically, each party pays his own lawyer.
Aggressive attorneys are often not realistic
Good attorneys do not become emotionally invested in their clients’ cases. Don’t get me wrong, all attorneys are competitive and they all want to win. Good attorneys know what the opposition will say before they say it and are prepared to address what they have already prepared for. You need your divorce attorney to explain the factors the court will consider in determining such things as child support, spousal support, visitation, and property division. In a typical case, one party will not get all the property, all the time with the children, or unending spousal support. An aggressive attorney may not give you a reasonable assessment of the likely outcome, leaving you unprepared for the final settlement or decree. Think of it this way: An “aggressive divorce attorney” can be like the real estate broker who tells you that your house is worth $5 million so you will sign the listing, then, once you are under contract, spends the next six months explaining to you why you need to accept $2 million. The “aggressive attorney” makes it more difficult to work with your ex-spouse down the road. Divorces are not like other kinds of litigation. In most litigation, the parties are not emotionally involved, they likely never have to see one another, or work with one another, again. In divorce cases, especially with children, you still have to work with your ex regarding shared custody, debts, property, shared expenses for the children and countless other issues for many years after the final paperwork is signed. The aggressive divorce attorney will encourage you to push for more than you will realistically obtain rather than compromise and it make it more difficult to work together in the future.
What kind of aggressive attorney should you be looking for?
In order to win your case without bankrupting you, the kind of aggression you are looking for is not the T.V. kind. Effective lawyers are aggressive in the sense that they know what can be achieved, what the likely outcome will be based on all the facts and will not hesitate to go before a judge to obtain for you what you are entitled to. But, the effective aggressive lawyer doesn’t rant at opposing counsel like some lunatic, argue to the judge points that have already been decided or write hundreds of scathing letters to opposing counsel that have no purpose other than to impress you with how aggressive they are and generate fees for the attorney. When the effective aggressive attorney hears a demand from the opposition that is not believed to be in your best interest, he or she simply says, “I’m sorry, but that isn’t acceptable, let’s ask the judge to rule on it.” The effective aggressive lawyer writes one letter for every 10 letters written by the lunatic aggressive lawyer but those fewer letters each of a purpose and are as short as possible. The reality is that every decent lawyer already knows what the likely outcome of your case is not just on your side, but on the other side as well. The effective attorney is aggressive in that he or she pushes forward on your case, prepares thoroughly for court and does all of that with as little show as necessary. Just remember, when the opposing attorney makes a demand on your lawyer, it is as effective for your lawyer to simply say “no, thank you, I believe we are entitled to the following . . . . and if you don’t agree, let’s set the earliest possible court date to let the judge decide.” Not only is this just as effective, it costs you far less than a 10 minute tantrum and five scathing letters. Aggressive lawyers are often the least comfortable and/or least effective in court, which may be the very reason they spend all of your money attempting to intimidate rather than prepare for and appear in court. In other words, the effective aggressive lawyer is as comfortable in the courtroom as in his or her own office, but would rather accept a fair settlement than simply run your fee bill up. Put another way, the effective aggressive lawyer is interested in the best possible outcome for you at the most reasonable cost.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit for Divorce Quickly
When a lawsuit is filed, the date of filing provides protection. If you are seeking alimony and/or child support, the earliest date the Court can order alimony and child support is from the date of the filing of your suit for divorce. Filing the suit also requires the opposing party to be served with the divorce papers. Service may be obtained in a number of ways. The best and quickest is through a private process server. If your spouse has moved and you are unaware of his/her new address, it may take time to locate your spouse and accomplish the service of process. Again, the date of filing the lawsuit establishes when benefits can begin and not the date of service of process. However, once suit is filed and service of process occurs, the parties may often, through negotiation, work out a settlement and save time, effort, and money. If your spouse files a divorce suit against you after you have filed a lawsuit against him/her, but your spouse obtains service of process against you first, then you will most likely have to have the case heard in the less convenient courthouse in cases where you and your spouse live in different jurisdictions. Another reason clients express for hesitating has often been that “filing a lawsuit will cause my spouse to become angry, upset, hostile and aggressive” and “that this will just make matters worse”. Actually, filing a lawsuit for divorce despite the negative thoughts and feelings of the defending spouse will often result in a quicker resolution. There are many reasons for bringing the parties to resolution and those reasons often include:
I. Your spouse will take you seriously;
II. Under the court’s management system, deadlines are set requiring each side to perform by certain dates and this avoids delays.
III. Courts may order mediation so that regardless of anger issues, the court-ordered mediator assists the parties to efficiently work out a settlement.
IV. More often the costs of extended litigation are minimized.
Aggressive Family Attorney In Utah
When you need an aggressive family attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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