Divorce is a very emotional, difficult process. Most people have preconceived ideas of the law, the process, and the outcomes, primarily because they read about celebrity divorces or watch television accounts or talk to friends and relatives and hear how their cases turned out. But each case is different and must be evaluated based upon its own facts and in light of the laws in the state where the divorce is heard. Our clients, fueled by emotions, often walk into our office hoping that the outcome of the case will match their expectations. The reality, however, seldom aligns with those hopes.
Among the expectations generated by learning about divorce through social outlets is the misconception of the role of the attorney. One of the biggest problems we have as attorneys is helping clients understand that we are on their side but cannot always take every action the client wants (like forcing someone to take a lie detector test, for example). We are obligated to provide you with accurate information to help determine what the deciding factors in your case will be. Often, that means telling you things you don’t want to hear. Withholding information from you violates our obligation to be truthful to you and is a disservice to you. As the result will take into account what the law is, not what we want it to be, we have an obligation to tell you the good news and the bad news. It can be that this is neither what you have come to expect through your preconceived ideas, nor what you want to hear.
For example, many of our clients have shared with us their serious concerns about how judges fashion parenting plans. Although Mom or Dad may have been the stay-at-home parent when the family was all living together, circumstances will be different after a divorce. Additionally, laws in Missouri now look more favorably on an equal division of parenting time, even where one parent was not very involved while the family lived under one roof.
So while we may not have the ability to tell judges how to rule, we do our best to advocate for the outcome you are hoping for, to the extent that is realistic and within the restrictions of the law.
When you come to our office, we will tell you what we believe will happen, even when this is not the news you want to hear. This is the only way we can serve you well and truly be your agents of reality.