The Top 10 Reasons why you shouldn’t go to court
I know some of you won’t like this post. You’re thinking I’m not tough enough, I’m lazy, and I don’t understand what you’ve been through. As your divorce lawyer, I’ve been in court a lot. ALOT. Here are the top 10 reasons why I think you shouldn’t go to court:
- THE COST. It’s expensive. At $200-$250 per hour with a minimum of 5 hours spent preparing and being in court for even a short hearing that is at least $1,000. Most of you don’t have it or if you do its money better spent on something else.
- THE TIME OFF WORK. Not only will you be missing work to prepare for court but you will also miss work to be in court. Your case may take several days to be heard. You may also take time off because of the stress associated with going to court. This is time off you could have used to spend with your children, to take a vacation or to just simply enjoy the day off.
- HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE. Judges do not make decisions the same day you are in court. It may take up to a year for you waiting on the judge to make a written decision about your case. How much changes while you are waiting on someone else to decide the fate of your life? What if you had taken control and made the decision with the opposing party? How much time would you have saved? What else could you have accomplished in that period of time?
- JUDGES GET IT WRONG. They really do. They can’t be expected to remember all of the tiny details of your life that really do matter. They might be tired, hungry or bored when your case is heard. They may also just not like you.
- JUDGES ARE UNPREDICTABLE. Every time I think I know exactly what a judge is going to do I get it wrong. Their experience in other cases directly affects how they handle your case. Judges also get reversed on appeal. That may change how they handle certain types of cases over time and this is where things become unpredictable.
- JUDGES ARE BIASED. Every judge has personal biases they bring to the bench based on his/her own personal experience. This directly affects how they decide cases including yours. To think every judge is objective and doesn’t use their own personal experience in how they handle cases is naïve on your part. Think about a judge who is a divorced dad. Think about a judge who is a grandmother that was denied the right to see her own grandchildren. How do you think this person will decide your case if you are a divorced mom or the parent who doesn’t want grandma to see the children because you think Grandma is crazy?
- THE HARD FEELINGS. You will not get along better with the other party after court. I guarantee that. You will have hard feelings about whatever is said in court and that will affect your relationship with the other person forever. If you are a parent of young children this should frighten you.
- ATTORNEYS GET IT WRONG. You may have wanted your attorney to ask certain questions or call your favorite aunt to testify but trial strategy is left up to the attorney handling your case. You can’t sanction me or ask the bar to discipline me because you and I disagreed on how I handled your case at trial. Despite all of that you know your personal life better than I do. I only have a limited number of hours to spend on your case. There is just no way that I will do everything perfectly at trial and exactly the way you wanted it done. Human error.
- CLIENTS CAN’T PERFORM. Going to court requires you as the client to be able to perform well on the stand in the middle of trial under oath. You must be able to handle stress, to be cross examined and to remember minute details of events that the opposing party will bring up. If you have memory problems, high anxiety or can’t stop yourself from trying to make yourself look good court is not for you.
- WITNESSES CAN’T PERFORM. You think you have a star witness in your child who will tell the judge that he/she wants to live with you. You think your real estate appraiser is better than your spouse’s. You think your child’s teacher will most definitely tell the judge why you are the better parent. You’re wrong. These are the witnesses most likely to waffle on the stand and not come through for you when you go to court. I already know this. You don’t but you’re not listening to me.