The top 10 divorce failures we see are based on real divorce and child custody situations. Attorneys like us often receive calls about halfway through a divorce. Or, we are hired at the start, but our services terminate halfway through. No lawyer wants to start giving the hard press to a client. While I want to walk you to the finish line of your divorce, I have to respect your self-determination. The last thing I want to do is discourage a client. There are some things I cannot say to a client during their deliberation about whether they can afford my legal services. There are also some things I cannot say to an opposing party.
Here are some of the top 10 divorce failures we have seen:
Failure 1. You cannot afford not to have an attorney. You may find yourself halfway through your divorce, deliberating whether your an afford your divorce lawyer. If you have assets of more than $500,000 in combined real estate equity, real property, qualified plans, investments and liquid cash, you will almost see at least 10% of that total equity left on the table somehow if you do not have an attorney.
Failure 2. The billable hour creates a conflict of interest for family lawyers. Not every divorce lawyer is created equal. Some divorce lawyers just want you to be in conflict because the billable hour is their bread and butter. The more billable hours an attorney can charge and be paid, the more money the lawyer earns. If you fight the other party, I can charge more money You will call me more, feel more moments of desperation and live a more difficult existence. Those circumstances may force you to return to me for advice. Correct your course by walking into your lawyer’s office with a specific goal, and ask your lawyer whether they will commit to working with you to achieve it.
Failure 3. Not knowing your dollars and cents. I cannot count the number of time I have seen an attorney demand a specific number for spousal maintenance without knowing what their client can afford to pay, or what their client needs to survive. When I make a demand, I know my client’s bandwidth to cover the difference. Course correct by talking to a financial planner.
Failure 4. Insisting on your day in court. “I’d rather see what a judge will do,” or “I want my day in court,” are common refrains. I have to give those comments all the deference I give adults who decide to cliff dive at 50 feet into shallow waters. I cannot tell you what you will encounter. Unless you’re very high income, a day in court is rare. You will not have your day in court. You will sit on the stand in a courtroom, a single judge as your audience. The judge in your divorce trial may not look at you very much. They will not feel your emotions, your prideful indignation, or your sense of loss. You’re confronting child custody, financial, and marital issues, while for the family law judge, it’s just another workday. If you’re content with a settlement and well-informed, resolve your divorce out of court.
Failure 5. Drawing conclusions. Your conclusions, your adjectives, even your experiences, may not be shared by a divorce court judge. A litigant (that’s you, in a divorce) may think the other side “unreasonably breached the divorce decree” or “maliciously” posted something on social media, but the judge may see differently. I prefer to give the judge the factual narrative and ever If you try to hide assets, you may get caught.
Failure 6. Staying with your emotions. Your emotions are not going to carry your case. This is a follow up to having your day in court and drawing conclusions. Arizona family court cases do not assign blame for a divorce. An Arizona divorce court judge is directed by the Arizona legislature to make objective decisions about your divorce. Humans tend to identify with people who are similar to us. If you can gain objectivity, it could help your judge observe alignment.
Failure 7. Being overconfident about child custody. I once had a case where a party sat and confidently testified about an experience in traffic. I retraced the steps, weaving them tighter into the web. My closing question hammered the final nail on the canvas of illustrations of refusal to coparent. I was once told by a frequent expert in my cases, “you’re one of the few lawyers who thinks on your feet.” Assume as you coparent, your every behavior will be characterized by an opposing attorney.
Failure 8. Thinking short-term. Moving out means losing access to information, mail, schedules, and more. You’re in a boat together from the day you marry until legally divorced by a judge. If you leave abruptly, you’re both in the water, and it’s a lonely place. Staying in the same home not only saves living expenses but also prevents costly legal battles over records you both possess. These records can be worth thousands in divorce proceedings.
Failure 9. Tendering a lifetime relationship to a judge or a lawyer who you will not know in a year.
I actively advocated for Arizona Court Rule 67.1, passed in 2016. In 2019, during a lunch with a lawyer friend, I asked if they’d adopt the collaborative process. Their response was blunt, stating, “There’s no profit in collaborative process.” This was an exaggeration since the Collaborative Process isn’t free but is typically much cheaper than a court case. It also preserves family relationships.
In Arizona, divorce lawyers fall into three categories: those who try collaborative process, those who avoid it due to financial incentives, and those who might consider it with the right opportunity. The group not willing to try it constitutes at least half of divorce lawyers. Lawyers skilled in persuasion will justify their refusal in ways that seem unique to your case. Before committing financially, consult an attorney experienced in the collaborative process to understand where your money will go.
Failure 10. Being unaccountable. Be accountable for behaviors that are obvious to everyone else with an inside view of your divorce. I like myself, but I know that not even I am perfect. If you refuse to be accountable, you refuse to be believable. Watch any superhero movie and your protagonist will have moments of utter humanity and despair. They will recover, prompting a theater full of people to forget their own struggles for two hours. If your attorney is worth their hourly rate, they can guide you through a chronology of your self-repair efforts.
Top 10 Divorce Failures: How To Deal With A Divorce
I gave you ten reasons but let me add one more. During a divorce, it’s essential to find a way to manage your emotions. Therapy can help but remember that therapy records can be subpoenaed in extreme cases. If formal therapy isn’t your preference, find a way to process your feelings. For instance, I discovered painting as an emotional outlet, and it has provided me with a fresh perspective.
Clients who effectively manage their emotions and work with therapists tend to have more focused and timely interactions with me during their divorce. These interactions, no matter how challenging, help advance their cases. These clients maintain stability and perspective, thanks in part to their support systems. Occasionally, they might mention unsettling events in their divorce, but their support system usually helps them address or temporarily set aside these issues.
Speak with our Divorce Attorney in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ
Moshier Law should be your choice when you need the best divorce attorney in Phoenix. An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.
Divorce and Family Law
In situations demanding litigation, you can rely on our 19 years of experience in California and Arizona. However, if collaborative law or mediation is necessary, we can thoroughly assess whether these options are the best fit for your specific requirements.