Clients call the office of a family law or divorce attorney all the time. After giving a very small amount of facts, on the phone or in-person during a formal consultation, they often want answers. They want to know what is going to happen. They want to know what a judge will do.
“Will I get fifty-fifty custody?” “Will I have to pay spousal maintenance?” “How much child support will I have to pay?” “Will I get to keep the house?” Questions like these are abundant. And most want a clear answer in terms of what is going to happen. Often times, the lawyer who gives the clearest picture is the lawyer that potential client will want to hire.
Clients often say that they want a straight talker as an attorney. They want a divorce or family law attorney who is going to tell them what is going to happen no matter whether it is good or bad. That’s what potential clients say. That’s what they think on some level they want. They want an attorney who in essence has a crystal ball.
But here’s the problem. Family law cases are not cookie cutter. These cases are decided by a family court judge. What one judge might do, another judge might look at a similar fact pattern from a totally different viewpoint. Some judges like fifty-fifty custody for example. Some think that generally speaking, kids should live in one home predominately. Some judges look at spousal maintenance from the perspective of equalizing income between the two households. Some judges might not be as concerned as this and think that each party really has a distinct duty to become self-sufficient.
This is the problem in thinking that a family law attorney has a crystal ball. Every case is different. Different judges rule differently. When a case has not even been filed, and the attorney doesn’t have any way of knowing who the judge would be, who the guardian ad litem might be if there are kids, it’s utterly impossible for a family law attorney to guaranty a certain outcome.
Instead, all an attorney can really give you out of the gates is some kind of general range. In a worst case example, maybe X result could happen. But in a best case scenario, maybe Y happens. And, of course, anything in the middle could happen. This is really the most any family law attorney can do after hearing a small amount of facts. It really isn’t until court appearances begin to happen, and the judge begins giving informal clues as to what might happen if the case went to trial, that the potential outcome can be predicted with any level of accuracy. Even then, judges often change their mind once they hear all the testimony and evidence at trial.
If you are facing a family law or divorce related matter, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can our Family Law Attorneys in Lincoln County, Missouri at 314-963-4700. We represent clients in divorce cases all the time and can help you analyze your options.