There are countless articles focused on how to choose a good divorce attorney, but rules of professional and personal conduct apply to all the parties that are involved in a divorce. Although divorce attorneys are expected to put up with a lot, some clients engage in outright manipulative or bullying behaviors in an effort to get their way, or make life difficult for their spouse. Requesting that an attorney engage in such tactics is, in essence, asking them to compromise their professional standards, and maybe even break the law. It's also rather demeaning, as if an attorney should automatically do whatever a paying client demands. A lawyer, however, is not a servant or an employee. He or she is a legal representative who fights to protect a client's rights and interests -- within the confines of the law and the standards set forth by his or her state bar association. As such, there are certain lines that clients should never cross when dealing with their attorneys.
Don't demand that your attorney “find a way to make it happen.”
Keep in mind that your attorney does not control the court's schedule, nor can they control when a judge may need to postpone or reschedule a hearing. In addition, they cannot bend the rules that are not favorable to you, or go after your spouse with unrelenting aggression. Your attorney is a professional, which means that he or she has to go through the proper legal channels, regardless of the additional cost and/or inconvenience.
Remember that your attorney has other clients and responsibilities.
Your attorney should be responsive to your needs and concerns, but that doesn't mean they can always pick up the phone whenever you call. They may also need to reschedule your appointment based on another client's unexpected emergency, which can include volatile situations like domestic violence and child kidnapping. Regardless of how much you're paying, an attorney can only handle so many tasks at any given time. He or she should certainly return calls, emails, etc., in a reasonable amount of time, and attempt to get back to you within 24 hours, even if it's just to tell you that they're still waiting for a response from the court/ the other attorney.
Don't leave it up to your attorney to clean up your mess.
It can be monumentally frustrating to deal with an uncooperative or manipulative spouse, but lashing out and making things worse is not the answer. Calling your spouse in a fit of rage can easily escalate into an ugly situation, one that your attorney may not be able to salvage. Before unleashing on your spouse, take a deep breath and call your attorney. Depending on the issues between you and your spouse, it may be best to communicate strictly through your attorneys for the duration of the trial. Keeping things as neutral as possible is particularly important if you have children in common, or other circumstances that require continued interaction after the divorce.
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