Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is your life, but it’s my job. And that’s a good thing.

Many people hire a lawyer for their divorce case simply because they are afraid to navigate the Court system by themselves. Rightfully so, people often fear that they will be taken advantage of or make mistakes if they represent themselves. But hiring a lawyer for your divorce case has other benefits as well.

I often explain to my clients that there are three benefits to hiring a lawyer.

1. The first benefit is the most obvious to clients. It is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have hired an expert who will ensure that your rights are protected. We accomplish this by explaining those rights to you, by helping you understand any documents before you sign them, and by enforcing those rights in court when necessary.

2. The second benefit is the practical side of the first. We are able to enforce your rights and advise you about them, because of our training and experience as lawyers. We know about statutes and case law that you do not, and we know the process of the court system, such as what forms to fill out, who to talk to in scheduling, etc.

3. The most overlooked and final benefit of hiring a lawyer is what the title of this blog is referring to. The third benefit of hiring a lawyer is the simple fact that we are not you. Especially in a divorce case, the issues involved are emotionally charged and it is impossible for an individual to separate that emotion from the facts and look at their case objectively. Even divorce attorneys hire other divorce attorneys when they get divorced. Just knowing the law and the court system isn't enough to navigate a divorce successfully. You need an objective adviser, who can tell you when you are letting emotion cloud your judgment.

For example, many clients are very upset when their spouse has met someone else. It is human nature for us to focus on the affair and want that affair to be discussed in Court, and to be a major factor in the divorce evaluation. But any good family law attorney in Massachusetts will explain that conduct in the marriage (such as an affair) is only one of the many factors in a divorce case. Concentrating only on that fact, to the exclusion of the other factors, would be a detriment to your case.

Because this is only my job, and not my life in the Judge's hands, I am able to objectively evaluate what factors need to be presented to the Judge. And in the end, that objectivity benefits you, the client.

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