What Is a Problem-Solving Lawyer?
When faced with a divorce or contested custody case, what kind of attorney do you want? Have your friends or family told you that you want a “bulldog” lawyer, who won’t take any comment from opposing counsel or the judge without firing off a clever and aggressive response? If your lawyer encourages you to settle, is it because he is scared of going to court? If your lawyer is not yelling, is she really fighting for you?
Family law cases present practical problems, from the straightforward to the complex. Whether a person is figuring out who will live in and pay for the marital home, who will take care of the kids, or how to compare apples to oranges when it comes to different property types (e.g., investment, retirement, real property, and businesses), family lawyers must provide helpful answers to practical and sometimes urgent questions.
Court is a tool, not a weapon
TV lawyers love to say, “I’ll see you in court.” The court system can resolve disputes that divorcing partners cannot resolve themselves. For some kinds of disputes, including family law cases, the court is sometimes the best option you have. And you want a lawyer who demonstrates knowledge about the local court system, who can give advice about the potential range of outcomes in court, and who will effectively present your case to the judge.
In court, a judge decides issues to which you cannot agree. You hand over control of presenting your evidence to your lawyer, and you give control of the ultimate outcome to the judge.
Many decisions do not need to be made this way. Even the threat of court can sometimes cause families to have more conflict and solve fewer problems. A problem-solving lawyer, therefore, knows that the court system is an important and sometimes necessary tool to help you achieve your goals and protect your interests. She will tell you if the cost and risk of court, both financially and emotionally, outweigh the benefits of any potential solution on the table. And she will be honest with you about the risks, costs, and options.
Designing a process for your case
Colorado law provides parties a range of options to maintain control and resolve cases with less cost and trauma. Most cases go through the mediation process, where a person trained in conflict resolution helps the parties and their lawyers agree. Arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution empower a private party (perhaps a subject matter expert) to resolve disputes the parties cannot themselves.
Sometimes, all the parties need is some creative suggestions based on the lawyers’ experience, and they are able to solve problems through direct negotiation between counsel.
Whatever the issue, a problem-solving lawyer will help design a process – from discovery through negotiation through final resolution – that is the best fit for your case. Whether that solution is going to court or simply calling the other lawyer, a problem-solving lawyer is prepared every step of the way to protect your interests.
Finding the right people
One of the toughest parts of entering a divorce or custody case is the fear of the unknown. Famously, we don’t know what we don’t know. The same is true for family lawyers. While we have subject matter expertise, we may not know the tax code or be able to value a business just by looking at a tax return. As counselors at law, we know when we need therapists and child development experts to provide mental health counseling, advice, and evaluations.
A problem-solving lawyer uses his community connections to find the right people to help. Whether in real estate, tax, domestic violence, mental health, business, or the variety of other issues that may arise in your case, your lawyer should know who to call. Experts can provide advice, testify in court, and help the parties reach solutions that the lawyers (and even the judges) could not.
A Colorado Springs attorney for you!
The Law Office of Dailey & Pratt uses skilled advocacy to help its clients solve problems creatively. Whether your solutions are found in the courthouse or the conference room, our attorneys work hard to develop a custom process and case plan that works for you and protects your family’s future.