Scenario 1: You Have Been Served with a Suit
If you have been served with papers for a family law case, there is a court date in your near future. Sometimes, the court date is in a few days by the time you get the papers. Sometimes the date may be a few weeks out. But there is a court date coming, and on that date your life will likely change in significant ways.
In a worst-case scenario, the petitioner will get everything he or she asked for in the papers. In some cases, the court could even award more than what was asked for in the papers. The worst-case scenario happens when you fail to show up at court. The Court presumes people who don’t show up don’t care, so it’s no wonder the Court sides so heavily with the other party.
The next worst scenario is showing up to court with no lawyer. Many people believe that if they just tell the truth, the court will side with them. Of course, the truth is important in court, but so much more goes on in court than you speaking. In fact, many times, a lawyer for the other side may prevent most of your testimony. Rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence will be used against you to prevent you from telling your side of the story. At the very least, you won’t get to tell the story the way you want to tell it.
If you have been served you are already at a bit of a disadvantage. The other side gets to go first in court. That means the person who filed the case gets to tell the court his or her side first. Once he or she is through speaking, your only hope is to discredit the story the judge just heard.
Advantages of Having a Lawyer
- Reduces Stress: Being served with a suit can be terrifying. So many questions and concerns bombard your mind and emotions. Hiring the right lawyer provides answers, clarity, and perspective.
- Meet Procedural Challenges: Nothing is more frustrating for individuals in court than not being able to tell their side of the story. Unless the procedural hurdles are met, you won’t be able to get your story across to the judge. Procedure always comes before substance in a case. Youngblood Law, handles the procedural obstacles so our clients can tell their side of the story to the judge.
- Counteracting The Other Side: Since the other party gets to tell their side to the court first, making sure they are held to the same rules as you are matters. Preventing the other party from saying things that are impermissible is crucial. Youngblood Law holds the other side’s feet to the fire making sure they only say the things the rules allow.
- Plan to Succeed: Before you ever show up to the court date, Youngblood Law develops a strategy. We prepare a plan to put you where you need to go in the case. The case affects YOUR life, so we plan for the results you want.
Scenario 2: You Want to File A Case
If you want to file a family law case, there are two main risks. The first risk is failing to ask for everything you want. The second mistake is failing to complete the procedural requirements of a properly filed case.
Failing to ask for everything you want in your pleadings means you can’t get the result you want in court. The rules require everything a party asks for in court must have been pleaded for in advance. So, if you forget to ask for something in your pleadings, you can’t get it at trial. Imagine if you don’t ask for your equity in your house! What would it feel like to finish a divorce, but fail to get your fair share of the house? There are numerous ways to screw up a family law case by failing to plead for what you want.
The second failure is failing to do the things the rules require to get into court and hold hearings. The rules require a process of filing documents and coordinating hearings and other processes. Failing to properly ask for a hearing means you don’t get your hearing. Failure to properly give the other party notice of hearings you want means you don’t get your hearings.
Advantages of Having a Lawyer
- Move You Forward: Having the right lawyer on your case means your pleadings ask for the results YOU want. Youngblood Law invests the time with you to find out what you want, and then we carefully craft the pleading you need to move you toward your goals.
- Protects Your Interests: Youngblood Law practices long-term planning to see what you need in the case. Then we plead for ALL of that and more. When we go to court for you we can ask for everything you need in your case.
- Saves You Time and Money: People get disappointed when they show up in court but don’t get their hearing because they failed to meet all the procedural hurdles. Showing up for court and not making progress in your case is a huge waste of time and money. Youngblood Law ensures all the procedural obstacles are overcome to make the most of your time and money.
Your legal case is important to you and has long-lasting effects in your life. At Youngblood Law, we believe your case is far to important for your future to risk making critical mistakes. We understand that legal work can get expensive. However, as with any product you buy, price is only one factor. Value is the other factor, and value is more important than mere price.
When considering the long-term impact on your life a family law case will have, price alone should not be the deciding factor in whether you hire a lawyer. Hiring the right firm for you will pay you back value for years after the case is over. Hiring a lawyer costs money, but what is it worth to get the child custody order you want? What is it worth to get the portion of the retirement plan you are entitled to? The short-term cost of the right lawyer will pay for itself over and over after your case is done. That’s value you can’t get with almost any other product you buy.
Bonus Mistake: Consulting with an Attorney Only
In our experience, a common mistake people make is confusing consulting an attorney with progress. HIRING an attorney is progress. Merely consulting with an attorney is NOT progress. Simply put, discussing your case with a lawyer without hiring the attorney to get the case going is really just kicking the can down the road.
In the worst case, people are actually lying to themselves about making a change in their situation by going to talk to a lawyer. It’s one thing to go to a lawyer to have questions answered so you can make an informed decision about your case. That’s a perfectly good reason to meet with a lawyer. But too many people are really using the consultation as a delay tactic for their case. It’s not truly an information gathering exercise; it’s a way to delay actually dealing with their situation.
If you want to get the facts and options for your case, we are happy to meet with you. But a lawyer can only help you to the extent you actually want to be helped. Be honest with yourself to determine if you want to move forward in your life. If you want to make progress, you will hire a lawyer.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping people get on with their new life by getting done with their old life. This essay is intended for educational use only and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information contact us at (817) 601-5345, find us on the web at youngblood-law.com.