Family law disputes are some of the most emotionally charged legal cases out there. Not only are you dealing with your life savings, investments, and children’s futures, you are also fighting with someone who you at one point loved very much. All of the passion that comes with an intimate relationship can easily be converted into a passion of a very different kind, provoking some of the most vicious arguments and flat out fights that I have ever seen.
That’s part of the reason that it is so important for you to invest in an experienced family law attorney to assist you with your case. Having someone who a) knows the law, b) has done this before, and c) can remain unemotional in the midst of conflict is worth its weight in gold. When your ex pushes your buttons and sets you off, your attorney will be there to help keep you focused on the goals that you have developed and not let you make rash decisions based on an emotional reaction. It’s only human to get angry, sad, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless as the divorce process moves forward. But making decisions from those places can lead to terrible results. I’ve seen people take every irrational position you can imagine out of an emotional response, from wanting to punish the other person for everything that went wrong in the relationship, to wanting to give up and accept unconscionable offers just to get the case over with.
When that happens, you are usually focused on the short term, the here and now. You want to hurt the other person right this second or you want the pain and conflict to stop as immediately as possible. In an attempt to reach that instant gratification, you make bad, short-sighted choices without thinking about the long-term consequences. I believe it’s my job to keep that from happening. Ideally, I can do so as your attorney, and work with you to keep you focused on our long-term goals. But, especially when children are involved, family law cases last long after the “permanent” orders. You may not always have an attorney on board to help keep you focused.
With that in mind, I want to share with you the question you should ask yourself before every family law dispute. I often ask my client’s this as we are gearing up for negotiation or litigation, or as we are deciding whether to accept an offer. This applies not only during the initial phase of a case, but also when you are negotiating post-decree issues like parenting time, vacation, or what school your child will attend.
When a dispute arises, you have your position and the opposing party has theirs. They may be diametrically opposed, or they may be only slightly different. Regardless, before you gear up for a fight, ask yourself “Is this worth fighting over?” Think about that question really hard. Focus on what happens if you fight and what happens if you don’t.
I have literally sat in a settlement conference for over an hour, where the opposing attorney and I were each being paid hundreds of dollars for our time, to argue over $200 worth of furniture. In what they were paying in attorney’s fees, each side could have bought new furniture and thrown out the old stuff, but they were so invested in the fight, in not letting the other person “win”, that they were blinded to the cost of fighting.
Don’t let that happen to you. Anytime you are caught up in conflict, pause, take a breath and ask yourself that question. Is this really worth fighting over?
If you need help settling a dispute with your spouse, an experienced family law attorney at Modern Family Law can help. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.
Family LawSubmit to Arbitration
Legal matters, generally, arise from some sort of conflict between two or more individuals. As a result of this conflict, some sort of legal…
MediationAvoiding Conflict Through Frugality and Compromise
While family law cases have a tendency to get out of control sometimes, they most certainly don’t have to be. We certainly have seen…
MediationSaving Money in Your Family Law Case
Just about everyone who comes into our firm has questions about the legal process–how long the process takes, how the process works, or what…