Don’t hide behind your attorney in your divorce
It’s your life, you have to make the decisions and live with them
When someone hires an attorney, they can expect to be informed about the law and counseled on what to do in certain circumstances. In a divorce, your lawyer will explain the legal process, examine the issues with you, and offer advice on how you should proceed with your case. Ultimately, however, the choices will be up to you. Don’t hide behind your attorney in your divorce: it’s your life, you have to make the decisions and live with them.
Your Attorney Avatar
In the computer world, an avatar is an onscreen image used to represent a person who is online and interacting in a program or game. The online image may or may not look like the actual user or player. Your divorce attorney is not exactly an avatar, but this person is your representative in the case. As such, they are your voice, and what they do is an extension of you in the courtroom and case. Your attorney will listen to your facts, explain the law, and tell you the possible outcomes of certain decisions. What your representative does is supposed to be at your direction. However, you will be making choices throughout the case and directing your attorney's actions.
Don’t Use Your Attorney to Stand Up to Your Ex
When you are in an antagonistic divorce, having an attorney to argue on your behalf and defend you from your ex can feel empowering. Your attorney may have a strong personality, and be skilled at asking uncomfortable questions and writing intimidating letters. When your lawyer has an assertive litigation style, and you have not been able to stand up to your ex, you may be tempted to have them do it for you. However, if you have unresolved issues regarding your relationship, your divorce case is not the place to reconcile them. You are ultimately responsible for what your attorney says and does. If you tell them to fight your ex on routine matters and have them schedule hearings on issues that could easily be resolved, you are responsible. These tactics could end up irritating the court, needlessly prolonging your case, and discouraging settlement. It's important to be judicious in how you decide to direct your case and to not let relationship dynamics drive your decisions.
When choices are made under stress, and rashly, there can be long-lasting negative consequences. During your divorce, the decisions you make and the way you choose to litigate your case will impact your life for years to come. After everything is over, the judge, the attorneys, and possibly your ex may be gone. However, you will still have to contend with the divorce terms, legal bills, and the emotional consequences of your decisions. If you have children together, the way both of you conducted yourselves during the divorce will be part of your lives forever. There will be enough for everyone to work through and overcome, without adding unnecessary conflict through your attorney.
As you navigate your divorce, you can work with your attorney to determine the best choices for you and your circumstances. Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience helping clients understand their options during their Wisconsin divorce cases.