Free Advice (You Get What You Pay For)

Many times, professionalism precludes me from honestly answering some of the questions that are asked of me in my line of work.  However, behind the safety of my laptop, I am emboldened.  Plus, I feel it is a public service to attorneys and clients alike 😉

So, we’ll do this as a list.

  1. There is nothing that you can do married that you cannot do single except for filing a joint income tax return (a privilege that as of 2013 was also extended – at long last – to homosexual spouses).
  2. Commitment is a state of the mind and a state of the heart.  Marriage licenses are not like auto warranties.
  3. Don’t ask a question if you do not want to receive a truthful answer.  Lying convincingly is a poor substitute and you should not seek it.  When someone has the integrity to answer a question truthfully, don’t punish that person for honesty. It may not seem like it, but you are much better off dealing with the truth, no matter how bad it might sound.
  4. I am an attorney, not Tinkerbell.  I do not have a magic wand. I do not have fairy dust.  I can get you divorced from your spouse. I cannot transform your spouse into a better person, a better parent, or anything else for that matter.  You married the asshole. You can divorce the asshole. Or you can stay married.  But the leopard will not change its spots.
  5. If your spouse is a a cheater, no matter how much you nag, no matter how much you fight about it, that person will still be a cheater.  If you try to prevent that person from cheating, he or she will still cheat. (Refer to No. 4 above.)  You have two choices:  stay married to the cheater and accept it, or end your relationship.
  6. If you have spent your entire marriage indulging your spouse’s every financial whim, do not complain after 20 years that she spends too much.  You created the spending junkie.
  7. Just because your spouse does not get along with you does not necessarily make him or her a bad parent, and provided that the children are not in danger, they have the right to have relationships with both of their parents.
  8. A court of law is not going to penalize your spouse in your divorce proceedings for being the “at fault” party ethically or emotionally in your break up.
  9. Your attorney is not a therapist.  If you need psychological or emotional support, a therapist might be a better (and cheaper) choice to spend time talking to about your feelings.  If you are having situational depression or anxiety, you should see a physician about managing it and possibly getting a prescription.  If you need to spend an extraordinary amount of time telling me how you feel, you should give me your prescription.
  10. You cannot change people.  And you should not want to try.  If you do not like the person you are with, then get away from that person.  Don’t marry people whom you do not like because you cannot change them and the things that you do not like about them will not become more endearing over time.
  11. Your country club membership is not really the cornerstone of your life.
  12. Sex is the lubricant that keeps relationships functioning.  If you or your spouse has become sexually disinterested, you probably have a problem.
  13. However, great sex is not a guarantee that things are going perfectly. (Although it might make you more tolerant of the rough spots…)
  14. This one is directed at women:  Men like pornography. Period.  It does not make them sexually deviant.
  15. Don’t marry a woman for her beauty.  Show me a perfect “10,” and I will show you a man who is tired of [you fill in the verb] her.  I have represented those men in their divorces.  Once you’ve licked the new off of someone, there had better be more than looks that interest you.
  16. Don’t marry a man for his money.  You will get sick of his money.  Even if you don’t, once you get sick of the man attached to the money, there had better be more than money there to interest you.
  17. Pets are not children under the law, even if you buy them Halloween costumes.
  18. Do not abuse support staff.  They are part of the team that manages your case and services your needs.  Plus, they will tell me about it and it will not reflect well on you.
  19. Don’t fall in love with your attorney.  You are paying a lot of money for me to prioritize you.  Without the money, I promise I would be less attentive to your needs.
  20. Judges are not kind and merciful gods who will clearly see that you are righteous the moment we approach the bench.  We still need to prepare your case and prepare your evidence and present you in the best possible light.
  21. I will not conduct myself unethically and risk my law license no matter how much money you offer to pay me.
  22. Don’t ever lie to your attorney.
  23. I can only worry about one thing at a time, and that is your case, or my bill.
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. andreas says:

    Erika, I just love it!
    Especially the so not-Erikaattorney-straight forward style.

  2. Silvia Stern says:

    Turn this list into a poster and hang it in the reception area!

  3. Mindy says:

    Wonderful, funny, and oh so true! Do you mind if I share on FB?

    1. erika says:

      Of course – link away! 🙂 Happy Friday, Min!

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