Archive for the ‘Attorney-Client Relations’ Category

Don’t expect the other side to pay your attorney’s fees

Folks going through marital litigation–and, less often, folks going through custody disputes– often contact me regarding representation with the expectation that the other side will be required to pay my fee and the concurrent hope that I will work without an initial retainer (or for a low retainer) based upon that expectation. These litigants assume […]

The best time to defeat a relocation case is before it’s filed

In my 20+ years of family law practice, I’ve yet to see a relocation case in which the requested relocation was solely for the child’s benefit and at the inconvenience of the custodial parent. I’m not sure how a family court judge would react to a non-custodial parent who opposed a relocation that was based […]

The price of relocation

When custodial parents relocate, the non-custodial parent almost always suffers. Typically they lose the frequent contact with the minor child that helps sustain most parent-child relationships. The ability of the non-custodial parent to observe or participate in the child’s school and extracurricular activities greatly diminishes. When a child lives hundreds of miles away, midweek visitation […]

You don’t have to pretend to be perfect

A lot of family court litigants harm their cases because they don’t want to admit anything that makes them look bad. Confronted with such behavior they naturally feel shame or guilt. The natural reaction to feelings of shame or guilt is to shy away from it. In the context of being questioned about such behavior, […]

If you want peace, prepare for war

Clients often ask me, if the goal is to settle the case, why I ask them to gather substantial information or why I issue discovery from the very beginning. The Romans would have understood. They had an adage, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” Translated: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” In family law one […]

Representing witnesses of current family court clients

A few times every year a witness in a current family court case will ask me to represent him or her in a family court matter. Rule 1.7 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct limits that ability: RULE 1.7: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: CURRENT CLIENTS (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer […]

Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

Recently, walking past an apartment in Amsterdam, I observed the following postcard-sized calling card for a “life coach” and broke out laughing: Attorneys, especially family law attorneys, represent folks who are trying to overcome “mistakes.” Sometimes the mistake is having a child before they are ready to parent. Sometimes the mistake is marrying someone they shouldn’t […]

Is empathy really useful for a family law attorney?

A recent New York Times ROOM for DEBATE discussed Does Empathy Guide or Hinder Moral Action? The anti-empathy debater defined it as “the capacity to experience the feeling of others, and particularly others’ suffering.” He believes our culture confuses empathy with compassion, and that empathy is a hindrance to making wise and moral decisions. Family […]