Common Mistakes Made by Family Law Clients

Family law cases are often plagued with very common mistakes by the client. Sometimes the mistakes are endemic to the case and cannot be solved, which makes for a challenged lawyer-client relationship.  Sometimes the mistakes can be corrected.  The best way for any client to try to avoid mistakes is to be aware of the most common ones beforehand.  Here is a brief list of the mistakes clients frequently make in family law cases.

  • Failure to recognize the relationship with their spouse is over and instead using litigation as a means of punishing their spouse.  This mistake can be financially devastating and rarely addresses the emotional root of the client’s anger or hurt.
  • Failure to follow the advice of their attorneys – for example, intentionally or unintentionally using their children as pawns, even when the lawyer warns against it.  While every family law case is unique in many ways, such cases also have common themes.  Trusting a family law attorney’s guidance will help in getting through the process successfully because the family law attorney has seen many cases and can offer guidance on how best to manage the legal and emotional issues.
  • Failure to timely respond to their lawyers.  A client’s ignoring or delaying involvement in his or her own case makes a case longer and more frustrating for everyone, which also adds complexity and expense.
  • Failure to focus on their future.  Learning from the past is important but obsessing about what is done and cannot be changed is unhealthy.  A family law client must work hard for clarity to focus on his or her future.  Making good decisions in the divorce are critical in starting the next chapter in the client’s life
  • Failure to avoid involving the children.  The divorce or custody dispute is between the parents.  Involving the children in the emotional turmoil and disagreements between the parents, or making the children feel guilty about loving either parent, is damaging to the children.  Parents need to keep their own emotions under control while answering their children’s questions and maintaining interaction with each other as parents.

The best opportunity for a successful transition and resolution to a family law dispute is for the client to be aware of these common mistakes and to trust the guidance of their lawyer.  Family law attorneys handle thousands of these matters over the course of their careers, and know what works best.  By viewing the relationship with their lawyer as a partnership built on trust and proactively working toward a successful conclusion of the legal proceeding, clients have the best chance to begin successfully the new chapter in their life.