I chose to get into family law after going through my own personal experience, prior to deciding which area of law I wanted to practice.
In my personal case, my family law attorney intentionally created more contention than was necessary. The opposing party and I were communicating and negotiating settlements between the two of us. Instead of facilitating cooperation, my attorney’s process included: taking a week to get back to me, advising me not to enter into an agreement without getting more financial disclosures, then sending more discovery requests to the opposing party. I wanted my case to be settled, partly because I could not afford to keep paying her to send out more requests, file more motions, and pay for more phone calls with her.
I finally entered into an agreement with the opposing party, having enough information, trusting that opposing party was being reasonable, knowing I was being reasonable, and believing it was an agreement that I could live with and that was in the best interest of our child. I spent more money than I needed to because my family law attorney didn’t have a client-centered perspective. My attorney should have looked at my case -- and at me personally, as her client -- and tried to understand what was best for me, instead of focusing on her billable hours. Most people who need a family law attorney do not know the procedure or the process, and they trust that their attorney is doing what is best for them.
Many attorneys, like the one in my case, treat every case the same and do not deviate from their standard procedures. But in my experience, each family law case is unique; and what works for the “most lucrative” cases, does not work for every case. I feel it is my obligation now to ensure I meet my clients where they are and serve their needs (as a whole), not mine.
Blog post content by Castle Law LLC lawyer Kelly Kehm.
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Jason Castle is a family lawyer who specializes in high-conflict cases. He's also a former prosecutor & social worker. Hear his latest divorce thoughts!