Posts Tagged ‘custody advice’

The Best Child Custody Lawyers Get This One Thing: Attitude is Everything

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Never forget that taking a child custody lawsuit to trial is no easy task. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that it could take a year or more, a large amount of money, not to mention many sleepless nights. Not only can close cases be lost with the slightest missteps, relatively strong cases on facts, witness testimony, and documentation can be thrown away as well.

Sometimes what may seem to be a relatively simple win can become stretched into a very prolonged battle. So what gives? Is there a secret to improving your outcome when lifelong implications hang in the balance? Probably not, but unequivocally clients must understand that they only have a brief few minutes for judge to form an initial impression of them, and more importantly, their parenting.

Preparing a client for trial is never an easy task, but without question it can be relatively straightforward when a client is ready to tamp down their level of emotion. It is normal to be upset when your own flesh and blood are torn between you and the “other” parent. I will state that most Chancery Court judges can read you more readily than you realize. They are experts in lie-detection, human intention, and a myriad of other factors that will dictate the outcome of your case. Being honest and forthcoming, including admitting your flaws within reason can be very effective. The judge already knows you aren’t perfect.

We have discussed this general topic from various angles umpteen times through the years, and the repetition is intentional. Let me say clearly: no matter how strong your evidence may be, your demeanor while testifying is just as important in the eyes of the court. It is far too easy to hurt a would-be winner with a bad attitude, pettiness, greed, and anger. Stay cool, calm, even unshakable in the face of the opposing attorneys cross-examination– and trust me, it may seem brutal. Calm goes a long way.

Lastly, but not least, remember that Chancery Court judges are not concerned as much about your difficulties as they are of a child within their jurisdiction. They are the innocent victims. Be sure to keep testimony focused on the children. It is easy to get distracted, but can be avoided with proper preparation. I have had clients and opposing parties indicate extreme panic on the stand. Those scenarios present what I would call horrible optics for the court. Thankfully those cases are relatively few and far between.

If you need guidance in a child custody suit, we are prepared to extract the best results under your unique circumstances. And remember, attitude is everything.

Matthew Poole is a Jackson, Mississippi divorce and child custody attorney and proud father to his 8 year old son, Lucas.