Domestic Relations: What happens at a final dissolution hearing?

Domestic Relations: What happens at a final dissolution hearing?

Top 10 Videos of 2018: #7 With 106 views during 2018, this video was the seventh most watched video of 2018.

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Tibbs Law Office, LLC
8845 Governors Hill Dr., Ste 450
Cincinnati, OH 45249
(513) 793-7544

Book Review – Splitting

This book was given to me by a client.  The client felt this book was helpful to her in navigating her case with her husband, whom she believes to be suffering from borderline narcissistic personality disorder.

Splitting is a term used to describe a defense mechanism universally seen in people with Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this book.  Let me begin by being truthful with how long it took me to finish this book. I got through the first half of the book pretty quickly and then I stalled for approximately six months (maybe longer) before finishing the book.  I was just having difficulty picking it up and getting through it towards the end.  The information was very helpful for a person going through a difficult divorce with someone they suspect as having personality disorders/defects.  The issue that I was having is that some of the legal-based information was inaccurate, and not in a, procedural differences between jurisdictions, kind of way.  Some of the basic information was inaccurate and misleading, in my opinion.

The book attempts to address the different types of evaluators that can get involved in a divorce case.  One such evaluator it discusses is “an attorney for minor children.”  Even this label is frustratingly inaccurate.  It leads the reader to believe that it is referring to an attorney representing the minor children.  What I think it is actually referring to is a guardian ad litem, which is an attorney that represents the best interests of the minor children.

There is a very distinct difference between representing a minor child, which requires you to advocate for the position your client wants you to advocate for, and representing the best interests of the minor children, which requires you to advocate for the position that you feel is in the child’s best interests, regardless of what the child wants.  If a parent wants the minor children to be represented by an attorney, the only way to accomplish this in a private custody case is to hire an attorney to do so.  A Guardian Ad Litem is appointed by the Court and the Court makes an order about who will be responsible for payment of the GAL’s fees, which are usually divided equally by the parties.  The entire section on this seems to confuse the two roles.  There are a few other sections that are ambiguous or misleading, which I feel might result in confusion on the part of the client.

The book is not all bad though.  It provides some great suggestions for how to deal with a high-tension, highly litigious opposing party.  One of the best points made by the authors is the fact that highly aggressive attorneys often don’t win in the long run and that for negative advocate attorneys focus on their performance in court.  They put on a show for their client and as a result, their client thinks they did a great job.  This is something I have been telling my clients for years.  I might add that the reason I know they are only putting on a show for their client is because, often times, attorneys go into chambers with the judge and discuss the issues before any hearing occurs.  The judge often tells the attorneys their point of view on the issue after all arguments have been made.  The attorneys and parties go on record thereafter, but at that point, it is only a procedural formality.  The attorneys already know how the judge will rule before the formal hearing occurs.  Any arguments made are only for the sake of the record and for the sake of the clients.

Another great resource and suggestion made is the open letter to family and friends in the back of the book.  The letter is provided as a “suggested script” of a letter that a person can send to their family and friends as they are going through the divorce process.  With some modifications, this letter could be used for almost any type of divorce.  In a high-tension and highly litigious divorce, a letter like this is a great tool.  One of the best pieces of information in the letter is to as your friends and family not to take sides in the divorce.  By way of example it states, “while siding with me may give me a temporary feeling of satisfaction, it is a form of all-or-nothing thinking that reinforces seeing one person as all bad and the other as all good.”  So basically, you are using the letter to ask your friends and family not to talk smack about your soon to be ex because that leads to deeper feelings of resentment and vindictiveness.  This is a great idea because those feelings usually already exist in abundance and do not need to be reinforced.

Overall, I give this book 3 stars.

Creativity within the Legal Profession

Creativity within the Legal Profession:
A seasoned attorney once told me that there is no place for creativity within the legal profession.  This view may explain why many attorneys, even younger ones, embrace the traditional approach to the profession.  You can see traces of the traditional mindset in the attorney’s office furniture, marketing, and the way they approach legal representation of their clients.   Their office furniture looks like it is from the 19th century, they are still advertising in the yellow pages, and they talk to their clients in such legal-ease that their clients cannot possibly understand what the attorney is saying.
On the one hand, it is easy to understand the importance of tradition within the profession; our entire legal system is based on tradition and precedence.  On the other hand, attorneys are so concerned about preserving tradition that attorneys now believe that creativity has no place within the profession.  This is a scary thought, especially considering that some of the best representation starts with the most creative ideas.  
I for one, do not believe creativity is dead in the legal profession.  There is room for both tradition and creativity in the court room, in fact, this is how the legal profession has evolved with our changing attitude about morality and justice.  Creativity is why our clients hire us.  It is our job to come up with creative solutions to legal problems.  Sometimes these ideas are “rule-bending” and sometimes these solutions are complicated triangle deals that will solve our client’s business and personal problems.
I consider myself a progressive attorney.  I maintain a balance of tradition and modern that I consider to be ideal.  Although it is has become acceptable for female attorneys to wear non-traditional clothing to court, I tend to wear a traditional suit to court; however, my office furniture is minimal and modern (we have standing desks!), I do not advertise in the yellow pages, and I try to explain legal concepts in everyday English.  Our firm has integrated videos into our marketing plan and will continue to work with new media platforms that our clients also use in their business and personal lives.  I am also not willing to give up my creativity in my personal life.  If you find us on Facebook or Instagram (@ladiesoflaw), you learn something about our personal lives.  This may be off-putting to some, but I urge clients to accept and expect creativity in the legal profession.  Attorneys can only be as creative as our clients allow us to be.
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The best compliment we could receive is a referral to a friend or family member

There have been many instances where a client has retained me to fix something that their prior attorney didn’t do right the first time; or even worst, they were their own attorney and they didn’t do it right the first time.  If there is one piece of advice I would give all of my potential clients, it is that you should not do it yourself without seeking the advice of an attorney.  Many attorneys will be willing to give you advice on how to do it yourself and then, at least you can contact that attorney to help you if things are not going well in the DIY world.
When you are preparing to enter into a contract, it is always better to have your attorney look at it.  The attorney will point out where the contract should be more specific to protect you (especially with dates) because there are almost no circumstances under which having a vague contract will protect you better.
If you find that your attorney did a good job for you, you should refer your attorney to your friends and family members.  I am an attorney that does not have a presence in the phone book and getting referrals is the best “thank you” I can get.  If you know an attorney that has been honest with you and has done a good job informing you of your rights and obligations, you should tell your friends and family members so that they are not left playing eenie meenie miney mo through the endless list of attorneys in the phone book.
I get all of my clients through face-to-face introductions and referrals from my existing clients (along with a small presence on the internet i.e. this blog).  A yellowpages ad is just too expensive for my taste and I am able to keep busy with my current system.  My personal belief is that if an attorney has to advertise in the phonebook to get clients, that attorney either has such a small niche that it is difficult to find prospective clients, or that attorney’s previous clients are not satisfied enough to recommend that attorney to others.