Why Ignoring Your Divorce Attorney’s Advice Could Sink You

By | September 26, 2011

When most people enter divorce proceedings, they often make one crucial mistake: they assume that they know better than their divorce attorney.

I’m the one who’s living this situation, they rationalize. My divorce attorney might have experience but that doesn’t mean they know what I’m going through.

That’s true, of course. But there’s a more serious truth to face: a divorce attorney’s advice often comes from years of experience, and their objectivity often makes them more rational than their clients. That’s why it’s so important to listen to their advice – especially if you want to make sure that this divorce doesn’t sink you. Here’s how to keep your mind (and ears) open to new advice.

Building Trust with a New Attorney

One of the things you’ll have to focus on with your attorney is to build a relationship based on trust. This is easier to do the more preparation you put into picking a divorce attorney – for example, if you have a friend who recommends the attorney, you’re going to trust that attorney much more than an attorney you found on a billboard.

That trust will be crucial because without it, you’ll feel like your attorney isn’t on your side. Heck, you might even feel like they’re out to get you. It’s understandable, of course, because a divorce is not an easy time to get through and a lot of different thoughts are going to be swirling around your head. But you will see that your divorce attorney’s advice is ultimately for the best – as long as you trust them.

Relying on Experience Rather than Emotions

If you ever find yourself wanting to circumvent your lawyer’s advice for your own sake, here’s a little tip: relax. That’s what your divorce lawyer is there for, after all.

Going against your divorce lawyer’s advice on a whim can often result in disastrous results because you simply haven’t worked with divorce laws before. That, alone, is a reason why working with your attorney rather than against them will help make sure that you swim, not sink.

It’s all about trusting experience rather than emotions, and believing that no matter how intrinsically motivated you are to represent yourself, a lawyer’s skill and experience will trump your best efforts. When you see that this is the case, it’s easy to relax and begin listening to your lawyer.

The Ideal Client

Many lawyers have “nightmare” clients that hem and haw their way through ineffective divorce proceedings because they can’t listen to their divorce attorneys. Be the opposite of that client – be the dream client, the ideal client. Cooperate.

But remember that it’s not all about cooperation. You, as the client, also have responsibilities to ensure that a divorce settlement can be reached. You have to make decisions with your soon-to-be-former spouse, and you have to be willing to negotiate and reach an amicable decision. The sooner you find out how to be the ideal client, the sooner you’ll find that you have become one. That’s how you can avoid sinking in your divorce proceedings.

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