Michael S. Glassford
Patience in Family Law
(Please understand that the answers to these questions are general in nature and may not cover every individual situation.)
The unfortunate truth of any Family Law practice is that life happens much faster than the Courts may respond. Attorneys are used to this process, whether they like it or not. They understand and plan accordingly. They do all they can to prepare, file and then wait. Sometimes attorneys may forget that our clients are not as accustomed to this culture of law. I know that I have lost sight of that fact from time to time. It is important to remember that for clients, this pace is a very real and very frustrating purgatory.
They want to see something done and it is hard to blame them for this feeling. It is a hard situation to be in for both attorney and client. The attorney can remind, settle down, and empathize with their clients all they want but the cold hard truth is that the next day the attorney works on something else, someone else’s case. The client only has one case to dwell on, their own.
Often clients feel as if they or their rights are being abused by the other party while they wait for the wheels of justice to turn. Most often they are right about that. However, it does not do anyone any good to get impatient or react to the bad acts of others. That only piles on issues for the impending clash in court.
While it would be wonderful if parties could come together and mediate all of their differences, that is just not possible in all situations. So what is the answer? We cannot pause life like the video games that our children spend so much time on. No.
During times like these, clients are best advised to work closely with their attorney. Keep them informed and apprised of what is happening. It is always a good idea for a client to keep a journal or a computer diary of events, things said, and feelings regarding the matter. These collections of thoughts and facts can prove invaluable when the client’s day in court finally arrives.
Clients can “kill two birds with one stone” by E-mailing those entries to their lawyer, with the subject line “time journal” or whatever the client and the attorney have worked out to designate them.
This practice is helpful in another way. It gives the client an active role in the proceedings while everything else grinds along the traditional path of justice. I digress, but it is equally important to warn clients not to use social media, such as Facebook, to journal these events or sayings.
Hopefully, the client’s case will come to a resolution sooner than later. If a client is ever feeling these types of frustrations, it is always best to share them with the attorney and work together to get through them.