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Developing an Effective Family Law Strategy

September 7, 2011

Part 4 of an ongoing series: Managing New Challenges in California Family Law Disputes

During an initial client meeting, the client is typically trying to determine if they are interested in hiring me, and if my style and approach suits their needs. At the same time, I am trying to determine if this particular client is someone who I feel I can work with. I prefer to work with clients who have realistic expectations, who will work with me to achieve their goals, and who will attempt to resist the temptation to fixate on emotions in this highly charged area of law.

Key steps in developing an effective family law strategy include meeting with your client on a regular basis, and also having collaborative meetings with experts in order to determine the appropriate course of action for the client’s case. I believe that if you bring the right people together early on to develop a strategic plan in a divorce matter, then you can start to build a strong foundation for presenting an effective case in case you have to go to court. In addition, if you understand the limitations in your case early on, you can make more strategic offers when you get into settlement discussions through restricting your most zealous arguments to areas of the case in which the law most fully supports your client. I find that you can be a more zealous and effective advocate for your client if you understand the potential weaknesses in the client’s case. For example, it might be helpful to consult with a mental health professional who can identify any particular traits that the client may possess that might weaken their case–i.e., personality disorders and limited abilities to accomplish their goals.

-Joseph P. Spirito Jr. is a partner at McGaughey & Spirito. He has been in private practice in Los Angeles area since 1982. He is currently serving on the executive committee of the Los Angles County Bar’s family law section and is A Better Divorce Collaborative Law Group – Co-Founder and President

This article was first published in STRATEGIES FOR FAMILY LAW 20th EDITION

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