Take your client to family court to observe active cases. Seeing how the judge handles cases and petitioners often encourages the client to exhaust all other options to settle their divorce before setting foot in court.
By Fred Gartrell, Divorce Financial Analyst
As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, I have multiple courtroom strategies. My best courtroom strategy, however, is to never set foot in the courtroom for my client’s divorce unless absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, there are many Petitioners and Respondents in divorces that are not in the best emotional state. We all have experienced this. I have sat through initial consultations with prospective clients and heard literal sob stories. I feel for my clients – I really do. I am the product of an ugly divorce. However, for the best financial outcome, the emotional issues need to be set aside and compartmentalized rather than taken in front of a judge.
The Best Courtroom Strategy is to Stay Out of Court
Many Petitioners, initially, don’t fully grasp why staying out of the courtroom is generally a good idea when dealing with a rational Respondent (this isn’t true in all cases, and as such I work with excellent divorce attorneys who can litigate if necessary). Some people want their day in court. They want the judge to hear what they have to say. They want to air their grievances – but this need to air grievances can be counter-productive and harm their case. Thus, once my client has hired me, we schedule a trip to the Family Law Center. I want my clients to see and hear what a family law judge deals with on a daily basis.
There are six different family law courts at the Family Law Center where I consult. My client and I take a road trip to the court. We get searched. We have the wand used on us by the officers of the court. We take off our shoes. We walk through the metal detector. Once these chores are complete we make our way up to the fifth floor and begin to observe.
Courtroom Strategy: Let Your Client Observe Family Law Cases in Court
As a group, family court judges have the least amount of patience for nonsense. I don’t convey this to my clients. I allow them to observe it. When a Petitioner comes into a family court to air a minor grievance, the judge puts them in their place quickly. These judges hear some of the saddest, most devastating stories one could possibly hear about physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. They do not want to hear a rich Petitioner and rich Respondent argue over a Grateful Dead T-shirt signed by Jerry Garcia.
While it can be time-consuming, and initially expensive, to take your client to family court to observe active cases, I believe seeing how cases are handled pays dividends for all involved.
Fred Gartrell (AAMS® CRPC® CDFA®) is Vice President of Private Wealth Management at Robert W. Baird & Co. Fred has been in the Investment business since 1997 and is thrilled to work as a Wealth Advisor at Robert W. Baird & Co.in Fort Worth, Texas. He counsels women on their holistic goals through Estate Planning, Investment Management, Retirement Planning, and Risk Management. www.bairdfinancialadvisor.com/fgartrell
Using Advanced Financial Analyses to Make Better Arguments in Court
How advanced financial analyses can be used to support your case in court, giving you an advantage in obtaining the best possible settlement for your client.
Preparing for Your Next Trial: Courtroom Strategies
Family lawyers and financial professionals offer advice on how to prepare for your next trial.
Courtroom Tips from the Top
We asked five renowned lawyers from the Faculty of the Houston Family Trial Institute to share some of their insights on courtroom skills and strategies.