The Need to Manage Client Expectations in Family Law Cases

Anyone who has ever done or sat in on a consultation for a potential family law client knows the importance of managing a client’s expectation from the onset.  Inevitably there will always be those potential clients who are looking for the moon and the stars and are unrealistic with regards to their desired outcome.  While this is present in many practice areas, I believe it to be most prevalent in family law cases due to the very personal and emotional nature of virtually all the cases.  Now I’m not faulting these individuals for wanting to get the most they possible can out of their case.

Most people who seek out a family law attorney have never needed the services of a lawyer and know little about Florida law as it pertains to family cases.  Thus, they don’t realize how difficult it is to get things such as sole parental responsibility, 100% time-sharing, supervised visitation, permanent alimony in a short-term marriage, etc.  That’s where the family law attorney comes in.  From the very first meeting a quality family law attorney will go over all the aspects of the potential client’s case and assess whether their desired outcome is even remotely attainable.

The potential client needs to fight that temptation to look for a family law attorney that will pump them up and tell them everything their looking to hear. This will almost certainly end badly for both the client and the family law lawyer.  Remember, an attorney’s job is not to tell you what you want to hear, it’s to tell you what you need to hear so that the client can make an informed decision. The last thing that either side wants is to walk out of court or the mediator’s office and have the client turn to them and say, “what just happened?”

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Facebook, Social Media and the New Frontier of Discovery in Divorce

A Connecticut Judge ordered two divorcing spouses to turn over their social networking passwords, including passwords to Facebook and dating websites.  This came about when the husband discovered his wife posted some “incriminating” passages regarding her feelings on and ability to care for their children.
The attached article from Forbes magazine online, also says that judges in personal injury cases have made similar rulings.  However, it would seem that Family Law courtrooms would be ground zero for these types of discovery requests.  Some courts willingness to grant these motions, and do so in such an overarching and general manner, illustrates just how dangerous divorces can become for you and your privacy.  Of course, it also illustrates what should now be common sense…anything you put on the internet will likely be seen by many more people than you think.  So, don’t for a minute believe a password can protect your privacy, because even if the law can’t get to it, a hacker surely can!

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