In half of all consultations, this is the question the potential client wants answered most of all. And, not surprisingly, the answer is not always as clean-cut as one might anticipate. The decision is nuanced and will depend on many factors, but, the greatest considerations tend to consist of the following concerns. First, what does the current arrangement look like and is there a likelihood the custody situation can actually get worse if the client involves the court system? Second, what is the relationship like between the client and the other parent and can court involvement negatively alter that relationship for the foreseeable future? And of course, is it worth the expense, both financially and emotionally? In most instances, the answers to these and other questions do make court involvement the appropriate course of action. That is not surprising as most people don’t take the step of speaking with an attorney lightly as the decision to get to this point is normally after hours, days, and often months of careful deliberation.
Nevertheless, I take pride in answering these and many other questions honestly, providing the potential client with not just the what but the why. There are and remain circumstances where moving the situation towards litigation in a court setting is not what is in your best interests. In those occasional circumstances, it is imperative that your attorney is willing to honestly have that and other conversation with you from the very beginning. Personally, I have always strived to do that and will continue to do so because I realize involving the court system in your dispute is not always the best course of action for you. I do that knowing such advice will in some instances lead you to choose not to hire an attorney. And quite frankly, I will continue to do that because it’s the right thing to do.