Is Your Attorney Lying To You ?

December 15, 2021 Cindy Best

Would you really know if your attorney was lying to you? Here are some simple hints and questions you might want to ask him/her. Q: Will I win? A: There is no good answer to that from an experienced attorney. No one really “wins”, at least not in litigation or family law. There is almost no such thing because of the high emotional and financial toll of litigation and fighting. What is the definition of winning in a divorce anyway? What is the point of winning if you ruin your relationship with your kids? What if you prevail on some minor issue but you all spent your kids’ college fund doing so? Is that “winning?”  Q: What is your idea of settlement A: A good attorney will discuss the strategy of trying to settle. In family law, it is a good idea to know and understand the timing of settlement and how your case could be settled. For instance, you might not want to settle before you are really aware of all your marital assets, that would be foolish. But once there is full disclosure, you and your attorney should talk about the pros and cons of settlement, the ways and methods to settle, the cost vs. litigation, the risks and rewards, and the possible outcome if all the issues went before the court. Some issues in family law divorce are fairly black and white. Some are very litigious, like spousal maintenance. Parenting time and decision making are usually straightforward if both parents are fit. Q: What is the cost? A: It is very expensive. It is even more expensive to fight and argue and to be unreasonable. It is always hard to determine costs because it is out of one person’s control. If you and your attorney are reasonable but the other side will not even bother giving you a counter offer or ignores you completely, it will become more expensive.  Perhaps a better way to look at the cost picture is by the hour. Your attorney probably bills on an hourly rate. The longer something takes to do, the more expensive it is. Family law cases can cost $2,000 or $20,000 or $50,000 or more. It really does all depend.

Now, you have asked your attorney some questions but has your attorney asked you some questions? Your lawyer cannot evaluate your case and give you specific legal advice if they don’t know certain facts. Did they ask you about domestic violence? Do you drink? Have you ever been in rehab? Have you ever driven drunk with your children in the car? Can you work? Did you stop working for some reason? Why? Can you work? Why are you getting divorced? Why don’t you want your partner to see the children equally? Are your kids healthy? Has either parent ever abused the children? Have you ever been in counseling for anger? Have the police ever been called to your house? Have you ever been arrested? How much do you drink? Your attorney should ask some of these questions, depending on whether you have children and depending on what issues are involved in your case.
Yes, you can learn a lot about your attorney by the questions they ask you and not just the answers to your questions. It is a two way street. They need to be honest about the outcome and you need to be honest about the facts. So when you talk with an attorney, be aware of the questions they ask you. It really does matter.


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