Avoid cocktail party advice about custody and parenting time.
Behind the scenes, when lawyers are talking shop, one of the things they gripe about most are the clients who take advice from everybody but their attorneys. The most dangerous client, they say, is the one who listens to friends and strangers at cocktail parties, and then assumes the experiences of others in family court can be immediately applied to their personal lives.
The problem is that every custody case is different. Every case is fact-sensitive. Every set of parents and children involves different factors and considerations, and one couple’s experience may not be easily transported to another. For this reason, random stories, anecdotes and scuttlebutt at cocktail parties, in supermarket aisles and at chance meetings are usually not fruitful. Such stories can be misleading and distracting.
A parent involved in a custody or visitation case, who hears an account of somebody else’s success in court, or the details of how somebody’s lawyers succeeded or failed in a trial, should feel free to share the story with his or her own lawyer. Discuss the situation, and allow your lawyer to evaluate the other party’s experiences in the context of the facts of your own case. Ask questions, and allow the attorney to comment on the various directions that a custody case can go.
Above all, parents in custody cases must take cocktail party stories with a grain of salt. If legitimate questions are raised, store them and take them up with legal counsel later.