By Nima Sabeti
Attorneys have reputation for being aggressive. In fact, many seeking to hire an attorney look for these characteristics. This may be due to the misconception that such attorneys are able to better protect the legal rights of their clients. Although this could sometimes be the case, the more likely scenario is that hiring an aggressive attorney, in family law cases, can cause you to get the same or worse result while costing you much more.
Policy Behind Family Law
The legislature has written the laws governing family, custody, and support disputes with a goal of promoting cooperation between adverse parties. For example, the law requires adverse parties to a custody dispute to participate in court mandated mediation. In many counties attorneys are not permitted to participate in the court mandated mediation. This is because the aggressive family law attorney may negatively influence his or her client to participate in the mediation.
Hiring an aggressive family law attorney often increases attorney fees. This is because the aggressive family law attorney will ask the court to make decisions that the adverse parties can make on their own. If the adverse parties can, through negotiation and peaceful discussion, agree to some issues in the dispute, then there is no reason for an attorney to automatically ask the judge to make those decisions.
Same or Worse Results
In courtrooms facts determine the outcome. The idea is that similar facts should have similar outcome. It would be a grave injustice if the same facts are decided differently. This is not to say that it does not happen. Unfortunately, it does. Yet, the goal of the court is to be consistent. An aggressive attorney is unlikely to achieve more with the same set of facts compared to a reasonable attorney. In fact, judges often recognize when a party is unreasonably inflexible. This inflexibility can backfire since, as stated before, the policy behind the law governing family disputes is cooperation.
Aggressive Attorney Benefits
An aggressive legal strategy can be beneficial in many type of disputes. In family law, when the issue is the safety and welfare of a minor child, having an aggressive attorney may be beneficial. The key is to recognize the time when an aggressive legal strategy is beneficial and realizing in most cases, it may end up costing more for the same or worse result.