There is a pretty common tactic in a hotly contested divorce I rarely think about, but was reminded of just last week –The Attack of the Lawyer.
Let me say a few words about divorce lawyers in general before I talk about this mental game. Each divorce lawyer, like any other good professional, has different strengths and weaknesses, but the best of the best will excel in litigation, financial matters, negotiation and counseling.
A divorce lawyer is a litigator, which means we navigate the paperwork to get you into court if you cannot reach a resolution on your own. Litigation entails document preparation, motion practice, information gathering and trial presentation. Unfortunately, many divorces end up in court and your lawyer has to be as comfortable as Matlock in seersucker.
A divorce lawyer also has to have pretty good financial sense. She has to be familiar with small business practices, tax documents, financial statements, pensions, 401(k)’s, W-2’s, 1099’s and lots of other personal financial matters. The most important document in any Mississippi divorce is the 8.05 Financial Statement and your lawyer should be able to read them in braille.
A divorce lawyer is a counselor in the truest sense of the word. They are to provide third party insight detached from raw emotion in the midst of chaos. They are the light in an otherwise dark time, but they know their limits and they are quick to refer to outside professionals to provide holistic service.
A divorce lawyer is a negotiator. Every divorce has dozens of moving pieces like a bad jigsaw puzzle: legal custody, physical custody, standard visitation, holiday visitation, child support, life insurance, health insurance, uncovered expenses, property division, debt division, alimony, attorney fees and many other subcategories of the dissolution of a marriage you never thought about. The skilled divorce lawyer takes a 360 degree analysis of the problem, thinking ten years into the future, and advises you about your best, worst and most likely alternatives to a negotiated agreement.
When people are getting a divorce, they attack each other. No big surprise. They use every tool in their arsenal of personal information gathered in the heat of passion to cause harm or self-doubt. You have placed your relationship with your children and your financial future in the hands of a lawyer, of course your spouse is going to try to make you lose confidence in him or her. I have had my intelligence, faith, judgment, morals and even my choice of suit disparaged by angry spouses who are opposite me in a domestic matter. So what do you do with this?
When you employ an attorney, do your homework. Once you have made a decision after doing your due diligence –trust it. Not all attorneys are created equally and not everyone is going to get along with every attorney, but the last person you want to listen to about the ability, moral aptitude, or intelligence of your attorney is your soon to be ex-spouse.