Nobody likes attorneys. I can't say that I blame them. We seem to profit from the worst that life has to offer, death, wrongful death, serious injury, divorce, criminal charges, and fights with family or neighbors to name a few. The list is almost infinite. All of these circumstances involve a lot of feelings and emotions. Anger, pain, frustration, and betrayal are all at the top of the list. These are not the ideal times to make the best decisions. What you probably don't know, and what most attorneys will not tell you, is that filing a lawsuit is usually not the best or most efficient way to resolve your problems. The process of filing a law suit and going to court by its very nature is SLOW, EXPENSIVE, EMOTIONALLY DRAINING, FRUSTRATING, IMPERFECT, A LOT OF TIMES UNJUST, AND CAN REALLY BE A GAMBLE. When you come to an attorney you are looking for someone who will understand your situation and give you the very best advice possible, preferably without concern for what is in their own best interest. You do not want someone who will simply tell you what you want to hear, or that you have a slam dunk case just to get a retainer. You need an attorney who will give you an honest evaluation of your case, let you know your chances in court, the pros and cons, what it will cost (not only upfront but in the end), what are the problems or weaknesses in your case, and a realistic estimate of how long it will take.
If you don't have a good case, why not hear that upfront before you pay a huge retainer based on unrealistic expectations. Some attorneys will over sell the strength of your case, take the retainer, then let you down slowly as the case progresses. It's always better to have a realistic evaluation and know what the strengths and weaknesses are and then you can make an educated decision about whether you want to expend the time, money and energy to pursue the case. Sometimes, I have potential clients who are upset when I shoot them straight about their case. They want to shop attorneys until they find one who will tell them what they want to hear. They think I don't want to fight it out in court, or that I'm scared when I tell them the obvious problems with their case and am honest about the natural pitfalls of the process. The reality is that I play square. I shoot straight. I love going to court and I love a good argument! It's my job. It's how I make money. When I take on a case, I want a client who knows what I know and has made an informed decision. I have nothing to gain and everything to lose by being honest with potential clients about their case.
There are a number of pitfalls in cases. In a custody case there are so many ways to lose your case that they can't all be listed. Some major problems include cohabitation, drug use, drinking, keeping the child from the other parent without a really good reason, misuse of social media, and too many more to mention. A good attorney will find out if any of these are potential issues and give you good advice. An attorney might have to tell you to stop doing some things you have been doing. These might be things you don't want to hear, but you need to hear them and you need good advice about how to fix any mistakes that have already been made. You need honesty, candor, and reality. If you don't get brutally honest advice, it will hurt you in court, and to add insult to injury it will have cost you a lot of money and time to do it.