Polite, reasonable, courteous and respectful behavior and speech are the cornerstones of civility. At some point in recent history it seems to have become acceptable for divorce cases to proceed with civility or turn into epic battles. Why is that acceptable? Where in years past the intolerance for disrespect and rude behavior was evident in the courtroom, nowadays bad behavior and conduct seems rampant. Have we all become used to being discourteous? In this blog article, we highlight a few reasons and tips for hiring a lawyer, like family law lawyer Plano TX trusts, who maintains an appropriate a sense of calm and purpose while zealously representing you and your rights in your divorce or family law case.
Why civility matters to everyone involved in your divorce case
Everyone understands that some people are easier to deal with than others. This can also be true in divorce practice. Some attorneys and legal professionals have better reputations for being fair and reasonable, and others are known for battles and obstruction. There are several situations in which being civil matters to your best interests in divorce:
- Initial communications among attorneys
When a new divorce or family matter is filed and served on the other party, the attorneys may know each other well or might not be acquainted. In some instances, the attorneys are aware of one another and an earned reputation for being easy to work with or someone who will make your life difficult as an opposing counsel. While people can always work together after initially getting off on the wrong foot, hiring a lawyer with a good reputation for being civil with others is important.
- Exchange of professional courtesy
From time to time attorneys and their clients might need to ask the other for a favor; you never know when you may have a sick child and need to ask for a continuance on a court date. Lawyers who embrace civility and professional courtesy will often agree to new dates. We worry about the lawyer who goes into court anyways and makes the other side look bad or unprofessional. Honoring an agreement is worth its weight in gold when civility is concerned.
- When addressing the court and counsel
There is a time to “put it on” for a judge or jury, and a time to stick to business. Why may your lawyer feel the need to turn up the drama over what seems to be a basic part of the case, like the exchange of discovery. People who are respectful and polite to others should not be judged as weak. Rather the stronger person is often the one who is more in control of their case, as they are their emotions.
Finding an experienced divorce lawyer who practices civility
Being civil does not mean being a pushover. Being civil involves knowing how to disagree agreeably and without launching personal attacks and being difficult for the sake of spite. One of the first signs someone is a real professional with good manners is how they listen to you. If you were to call a dozen law firms, how many people will let you finish and how many assume they know what you are going to say and interrupt?
The person who interrupts the most might be the one who tries to win the favor of others by being the most boisterous, the one who says they have seen it all before and have ultimate confidence in their winning ability. The problem with this personality type is they can miss things because they are not paying as close attention as they could. This person might make odd decisions and exhibit questionable judgement.
Outside of having a sixth sense for civility and professional reasonableness, you may use other methods to research the reputation of a family law attorney. Reading testimonial comments on sites such as Avvo.com are helpful because you can read what other people thought of someone; the positive comments are often a reliable signal of who you may be hiring. Generally, positive word of mouth and consistent positive statements about people can suggest that someone has good character and is civil with one another professionally. When attitude and civility matters, be aware of the importance of finding a high-quality lawyer with class.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Scroggins Family Law for their insight into family law practice.