Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Failing Attorney-Client Relationship in Child Custody Proceedings

14 October 2013

Like any intimate relationship the attorney-client relationship must meet certain foundational requirements – trust, mutual respect, like outcome based goal, and acknowledgment of the relationship limits. Distress in the attorney-client relationship is often a result of the breakdown of one or more of those foundational principles.

Parents come to me with the complaint that their attorney has completely botched their case. I first ask who appointed your attorney to represent you. Rarely is the answer something different than the parent having selected the attorney by himself or herself. While most can acknowledge that they are accountable for that decision they still feel trapped in that the cost to get a new attorney fully familiarized with the case appears to be cost prohibitive. This is generally accompanied by the declaration that the attorney was recommended.

From the attorney perspective again comes frustration. When attorneys seek my assistance with a case it is usually a high conflict parent who “just doesn't get it.” While attorneys can often be quite effective in eliciting the necessary information and building a case strategy, the very pedagogy of law school for the most part fails to equip them with the tool to handle the emotionally charged client determined to win at all costs. These parents are the saboteurs of their own case. It takes much more than training in law to be able to effectively advocate for these parents. It is not that they are inherently bad people but they have lost focus and need to be reeled in. I have seen attorneys dismiss these parents even when the money kept flowing in from the myriad of legal combative maneuvers. Sometimes the frustration just isn't worth it. Nor is upsetting a judge.

Where ever you are in the case proceedings, if you do not have a supportive attorney-client relationship then you are unlikely going to be unable to obtain a parenting time order that is best for the children. Talents and resources are also likely to wasted as the case drags on for much longer than most people anticipate. If you are in a failing attorney-client relationship then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make arrangements for me to assist with your next attorney-client session which should be to re-evaluate that relationship. There is no charge for this initial attorney consultations.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Make a suggestion for me to write about.

Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

Connect with me for the latest Indiana child custody related policy considerations, findings, court rulings and discussions.

View Stuart Showalter's profile on LinkedIn

Subscribe to my child custody updates

* indicates required
©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.


No comments: