I was recently reminded (again) how important the wording of a final 'judgment' or 'agreed order' can be. When two parties are in the midst of negotiations, attempting to resolve a divorce or custody case, it can be tempting to finesse the final wording of an agreement to make the case end. This is a time to be very careful! Sometimes the wording of a parenting agreement or a financial settlement can be ambiguous - that is, each side thinks the paragraph, sentence or phrase means something different. Before signing any agreement, it is good to read, and re-read it, carefully to think of how it might be understood differently in the future.
Showing posts from February, 2012
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I often tell clients that we have to 'have a plan' for their case. Some new clients seem to think that they can listen to my advice, mix in the advice of their family and friends, and then decide for themselves how to manage their custody, paternity or divorce case. 'Opinion shopping,' you might call it. This does Not work! Imagine if an airline pilot would ask different air-traffic-control centers (at the same time) for advice on which route to fly. I make it clear to clients that I must be in charge of their case, but just as I am like a taxi driver, they are like my passenger. If a client says, "I want to get my child back from Nevada, where my wife moved three months ago," that's a clear goal. If a client says, "I want to have as much time with my children as possible," that's another clear goal. Once I know the client's goal, I can proceed to plan the case. I often say that I'm like a 'gruff New York taxi driver.