There’s no doubt that divorce can be really messy, and it doesn’t take long for it to get there.
It is at this point that a good divorce lawyer comes into play.
In this episode, Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones discuss the tactics attorneys use in family court, what you can expect in a direct cross-examination, and what happens when your ex keeps dragging you back to court!
Justin and Andrea discuss:
- How they help people navigate messy divorces
- The process of a direct cross-examination
- What their best at, how they are the best at it, and how it can help your divorce case
- What sets the good lawyers apart from the bad
- And more!
Connect with Justin Sisemore
- Sisemore Law Firm
- Facebook: Sisemore Law Firm, P.C.
- Instagram: Justin Sisemore
- LinkedIn: Justin Sisemore
- LinkedIn: Sisemore Law Firm
Connect with Andrea Jones:
Read the Show Transcript
[00:00:00] VOICE OVER: Nobody wants to end up in family court. But if you do you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side, to help minimize the stress mental anguish and legal costs that divorce and custody matters. Bring welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, just in semore of the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur, Andrea Jones, freelance writer, Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters.
[00:00:31] VOICE OVER: The changing landscape of family law and living the entrepreneur’s life. Now onto the show.
[00:00:39] Patrice Sikora: In the last episode of, In Your Best Interest, we discussed the key steps of the divorce process. Temporary orders, discovery, mediation, and trial. Today we’ll share insight on tactics attorneys use in the family courts, what to expect during a direct cross examination.
[00:00:57] Patrice Sikora: And what happens when your ex keeps [00:01:00] dragging you back to court?
[00:01:04] Mary Maloney: Thanks for joining us for this episode of, In Your Best Interest. I’m Mary Maloney and today
[00:01:08] Mary Maloney: attorney Justin Sisemore, entrepreneur, Andrea Jones, and I will shed more light on the twist and turns people face in the family courts. Hey, let’s start with you today, Justin.
[00:01:19] Mary Maloney: Um, one big thing, we always talk about it, how critical that first meeting is with your divorce attorney, that initial consultation, how that sets the stage for what comes next. Can you explain what people should expect? Initial consult and what they should walk out the door, knowing when they leave.
[00:01:37] Justin Sisemore: Yeah.
[00:01:37] Justin Sisemore: I, I think having a process in involved in the, in the consultation is really as important for the lawyer as a process for the client to the lawyer. Uh, and what I mean by that is when I go into the consult, I have a very set way of doing consults. It’s kind of interesting. Sometimes we’ll go back two or three years and you actually.
[00:01:57] Justin Sisemore: Did people say, well, yeah, I just told you that. And you know, it’s [00:02:00] been two years since I’ve slept a few times since then, but, but the process of the consult is important because it keeps you on pace. It keeps you with respect, to being on track with what you need to get, get from the client. And oftentimes the client wants to rush into the issue.
[00:02:14] Justin Sisemore: And obviously we want to answer all the questions, but if the attorney doesn’t have a good process for how they set. Q and a session. What you can find is a lot of time wasting and you don’t get to the real meat of what you need. So what I try to do is really set the, the tone and the stage with respect to the consult, asking them the 50,000 foot view of the estate.
[00:02:35] Justin Sisemore: And oftentimes that’s when they want to jump into, but he’s doing this or she’s doing this. And it’s really important for me to get my notes down. Like when you go to the doctor so that we can dive right into what the issues are. And more importantly, what they’re not obviously a professional that does the same thing over and over should have a really good way to get you to the meat of what you need.
[00:02:55] Justin Sisemore: So that you’re really maximizing that time. And so when they, when the client comes into the [00:03:00] consult and really feels led by the attorney. I feel like the consults as you do ’em over and over, you get better at ’em just like any other job. Uh, and the clients really feel a sense of comfort when they’re walking through those issues.
[00:03:12] Justin Sisemore: And again, I, I like to take lead at the beginning so that they know they’re in good hands. Uh, we’ve really taken charge of what we need to and then we can dive into the issues. So my, my consults really start out with a 50,000 foot view. And then I walk into kind of the process of the court and what they can expect.
[00:03:30] Justin Sisemore: And then we go. Into the emotional issues. And what I’ve found is that it really opens up the eyes and ears of the participant in the consult as much as mine, uh, because the emotion isn’t, the, the, the starting point. Um, and so we get everything, everybody calms down, they breathe, they understand we’re here to serve them and help them through the process.
[00:03:51] Justin Sisemore: And, and that’s when we can really move forward into really what the court does. And I don’t expect clients to memorize [00:04:00] everything. We see a lot of times where clients, you know, they, they’re trying to frantically write everything down and hold onto every piece of information. I, I really stress the importance at the beginning of you don’t need to memorize this.
[00:04:11] Justin Sisemore: You don’t need to write this down. I. Let’s just have an open dialogue like you and I are doing right now. Um, so we can walk through their issues and then we walk through process. And then, uh, after that we go through really the fundamental issues they’re having. And then I do a follow up call after they engage us about 48 hours later to do another recap.
[00:04:31] Justin Sisemore: you know, we we’ve found that to be a really beneficial process for us.
[00:04:34] Mary Maloney: So, you know, one thing. We didn’t me or I didn’t mention one thing I didn’t mention earlier is that you at, at the Sisemore Law Firm really prepare for those consults before the, the client walks in the door. So it’s not like you’re first looking at their case for the first time.
[00:04:51] Mary Maloney: Can you talk a little bit about that?
[00:04:53] Justin Sisemore: Yeah. Uh, I think that there’s two, two important issues there. One what the client’s notes [00:05:00] are on our Q and a that they send to us. They’re important because we get numbers, wrong names, wrong. People are stressed when they’re calling an attorney. And so. I, I really try to open the door again and I tell them, look, I want to get everything in my short form.
[00:05:16] Justin Sisemore: Okay. And what I really mean by that is you’ve got a laundry list of things that are gonna be more important down the road that we pull information from. But I have a very finite and specific amount of information and, and quantifiable data that I need to get in my short form that really pulls from the information they’ve already provide.
[00:05:36] Justin Sisemore: And then we kind of dive into a couple issues. So I know some clients sometimes feel like they’ve answered the question twice and that can feel frustrating, but I can dive right into the estate big or small and pull that information outta the client. It’s really to engage them in speaking and feeling comfortable.
[00:05:51] Justin Sisemore: And then they start to listen and they, they get some confidence that they’ve answered some questions and it, as simple as they may be, that really starts the conversation [00:06:00] flowing. And then they know that they can trust when they start getting. Feedback and information from me, I feel like that’s when they can really trust the attorney client relationship, and then we move into the meat of really the issue.
[00:06:12] Justin Sisemore: So there is preparation to answer your question, but it’s not as, it’s not as significant as one might think because I really need to gauge the conversation and how we communicate with each other. So I know a, how they’re gonna answer questions in a courtroom, which may be four to five days away. Um, B.
[00:06:28] Justin Sisemore: They can, they can literally trust that when I ask them a question, I can direct them that they will be very direct with their answers. And I start that way because that really is the same thing we do in a courtroom. It’s the direct examination portion. And I know we’re gonna get to some cross examination questions in a bit, but that’s really the direct examination.
[00:06:45] Justin Sisemore: What do you do for a living? How long have you been married? Um, what does your husband do have y’all separated. Uh, you know, and I walk through a list of questions. Candidly got burned into my brain. Then we take the notes down so that when they follow up, some clients don’t need [00:07:00] to hire us. Right.
[00:07:01] Justin Sisemore: Then when they follow up, all of that information is down in my short form and it’s accessible on my iPhone. And that’s why I’m able to be everywhere and anywhere, uh, when a client calls back. I also am very particular about. The days and times we do consults. Uh, I used to do ’em every day, whenever somebody’d call now, I have set days.
[00:07:18] Justin Sisemore: We do, ’em just like a surgeon does. And so I think we, as business people, we try to figure out the best process to really maximize what we’re best at when we’re best at it and how we’re best at it. So I think that that answers some of the preliminary question.
[00:07:33] Mary Maloney: For sure. And you had just touched on emotions earlier and we’re talking about tactics today that attorneys use to help their clients get the best outcome for their case.
[00:07:42] Mary Maloney: Is, are there any circumstances where you would recommend a client puts their divorce on hold? Just they can get a handle on their emotions? And if so, when would you do that?
[00:07:53] Justin Sisemore: Absolutely. So not only putting the divorce on hold, but whether it’s the right time to file. Okay. So when somebody’s [00:08:00] already dealing with the stress of their family members, uh, the stress of financial issues they might, they might be going through a bankruptcy or, or various other issues, criminal issues.
[00:08:10] Justin Sisemore: I tell people don’t put too much on your plate. We, we all have a tendency to wanna solve the immediate problem immediately. You know, a lot of people identify the immediate problem as the issue with their spouse. And if they can just get the spouse out of the way, then they can untangle some of the other messes.
[00:08:25] Justin Sisemore: But you know, when you, when you get involved in stressful, And you’ve got all these other issues and you really haven’t laid out a clear plan. It’s just like any business, you know, sometimes we have to say, hold on, tap the brakes here. You need to get your finances, at least somewhat in order, you need to know what’s there.
[00:08:41] Justin Sisemore: You need to, if you haven’t worked and you don’t have any kind of idea what you’re gonna do there, and there’s not some pot of gold, uh, at the end of the rainbow, because the other party is financially irresponsible. Then, then we tell them to hold. Okay. Uh, I’m very particular on that and, and I still get the calls back.
[00:08:56] Justin Sisemore: What about now? What about now? And I say, just not yet. [00:09:00] And, and we also get that same question in modifications. People want to fire off the custody case because they know the pain point is the other side and the burden of proof may not have been met yet. So I, I, I wanted to answer that two ways.
[00:09:11] Justin Sisemore: One, we stopped the litigation before it starts until it’s ready to start. And then two, we have situations where. Sometimes it’s just people wanting to try to do different things with respect to counselors and family counseling. You know, they wanna tap the breaks on the litigation. Uh, they’ve had a really good weekend, a really good meeting with their spouse or significant other.
[00:09:32] Justin Sisemore: And, I, I never want a lawyer to get in the way of decent humans being really good at what they do, uh, when they can handle the problem themselves. You know, we are there. As kind of a catchall in the event that you can’t make something work. And then the judge is another layer of protection. So just jumping right into, wanting to go to litigation, wanting to go to court, having a judge, make a decision.
[00:09:55] Justin Sisemore: Those are the stop points that, that sometimes, and I know the frustration. I know the [00:10:00] client wants it over with yesterday. I know family law takes time and I know that it takes time to get to court. So we need to make sure that we’ve got all of our ducks in row so that we’re not wasting time and Mo and money and resources and energy, uh, cuz that’s really where they get really frustrated.
[00:10:16] Justin Sisemore: Um, but on a final point on that, when you, you know, strategically tap the breaks, you gotta be careful too, because you know, sometimes people are, are talking about reconciliation. That sounds really great, but they’re strategically planning themselves. They may have a big business event that’s coming up.
[00:10:31] Justin Sisemore: They may have some kid issues that, you know, they may be on drugs or not ready to go to court yet. They’re trying to clean out their system. There’s all kinds of reasons why people sometimes tap the break strategically. And so we really have to look at. From a standpoint of, are we really trying to fix this and is this the fix?
[00:10:48] Justin Sisemore: And, and that’s, that’s what we do. And that’s why, like I said, in the beginning, that conversation, that ability to really think through the issue with the client, because there’s no finite rules here, right? Family law, [00:11:00] you have two scenarios in the best interest of the child, just Wright division of the Mari.
[00:11:05] Justin Sisemore: You that’s just such a broad area. And we really have to think through, okay. On a modification, has there been a material and substantial change in circumstances? And if the answer’s not yet, it doesn’t mean that it won’t come. And I don’t also, don’t like people just sitting around and waiting for that, but that’s the engagement of the consultation.
[00:11:24] Justin Sisemore: That’s the engagement of when we tap the breaks, these are feel issues. Sometimes too, as much as having a finite legal answer.
[00:11:31] Mary Maloney: All right. Well, on the topic of getting our ducks in a row, um, when you take a client to court or a client goes to court for divorce and custody issues, they are awful call to testify in their case.
[00:11:42] Mary Maloney: So how do you prepare clients for cross examination and what should people expect during a cross examination and family law cases?
[00:11:49] Justin Sisemore: Well, cross examination generally is the purest art form. Of really, really knowing your case, you know, when you get the, the clients that call and say, I want the bulldog attorney or whatever I think they [00:12:00] think that we stand up and beat our chest and just get really abrasive in a courtroom.
[00:12:04] Justin Sisemore: My favorite form of cross examination is when they don’t know you’re coming, they don’t see you coming. And so what I do with clients before we have a big contested hearing or a blow up. Is I let them feel that direct and that real patient calm, asking questions, open ended questions. And the art of cross-examination is knowing the answer.
[00:12:24] Justin Sisemore: And it’s really restricting the client’s ability to answer in a way that they want you to get their point across you don’t allow it. And so what happens is I, I do that switch back and forth where I start with direct, I make you feel comfortable. And then all of a. Fire right at you. Uh, and sometimes in an abrasive manner, because I wanna see your emotional rises and falls.
[00:12:46] Justin Sisemore: I want to know how you answer questions. You know, a lot of clients, they jump right in there and they want to answer the question. You know, what is your name? Well, my name is da da da, and my mother named me this because of da, da, da. And that is not the question, right? So you gotta really limit the [00:13:00] question to what it, what you’re focused on and that’s the art of cross examination.
[00:13:03] Justin Sisemore: And, and. So when you really understand the point you’re trying to get across and you really have a detailed timeline of the facts, I can lead the clients down a path and then bite ’em. And it’s like a light bulb goes off because sometimes, you know, you gotta kind of let them know nobody is perfect in this business.
[00:13:23] Justin Sisemore: Nobody’s perfect. When they come for a divorce or a child custody case, I always say we don’t represent Jesus or we’d be out of business. And so sometimes that awareness of going through cross and just. They’re gonna ask me that, oh, wait. That sometimes can get us to the point of where we’re making resolution in the matter without court intervention or the need for that.
[00:13:43] Justin Sisemore: Sometimes we just expose their flaws and they just feel beaten down. And you just go, now let’s ha let’s get to fixing this. So the cross examination, in my opinion of your own client is the most important thing that you can possibly. It calms the nerves. It lets them know that they’ve been in the game.
[00:13:58] Justin Sisemore: They know what it’s like to go [00:14:00] to that fourth quarter and really put in that additional effort emotionally. And, and I think that’s really the one area. If I could say, why do I need a really good lawyer? What really separates the good lawyers? I would say cross examination and process an organization are the three key things, uh, that you have there.
[00:14:18] Mary Maloney: All right. Well, Andrea, as a former client of Justin’s, can you talk a little bit about how he helped you in regards to staying sane during your divorce and custody issues? Because it went on for a long time. So how did you keep your cool and how did you stay sane during all those challenges?
[00:14:33] Andrea Jones: This is a long story, but let’s start with the cross examination.
[00:14:37] Andrea Jones: Cause Justin just talked about that. Going to court, if you’ve never been in court is super scary, super scary because, um, you feel like you are on you are, you are the one that did something wrong, even if you didn’t. And you sit in front of a judge and you get interrogated about stuff and, and, and if you are well prepared, it is not a big deal.
[00:14:56] Andrea Jones: If you know what’s coming. And if your lawyer prepares you well, [00:15:00] and, and like Justin said talks about it up front, and this is how we gonna answer. And we gonna have the answer with yes and no and no additional information until I get you there that calms the nerves. I think still you’re nervous. I was super nervous every single time.
[00:15:14] Andrea Jones: And then again, it goes back to how well are you prepared for the hearing? Justin and Justin’s mum back then too, we were really prepared. And the information that comes out in the hearing is not information that I shared with him yesterday. So he had the information for a long period of time, as I said before.
[00:15:30] Andrea Jones: The information that I thought important or was important was not necessarily important for him. So, but he has everything. He pulls out the stuff that he needs for the hearing. And then there’s no surprises if you hold back stuff. And then all of a sudden in the courtroom say something else that your lawyer has never heard about that can kill your case.
[00:15:48] Andrea Jones: So you need to be honest. And like Justin said, we all made mistakes. I made mistakes and how I handled my kids. I made mistakes and how I handled the divorce. How responded, but your lawyer should [00:16:00] always guide you and then your lawyer guiding you, you know what to do. So I think there, there has to, and there has to be a relationship with the lawyer and the client.
[00:16:09] Andrea Jones: That’s why dust always says not everybody is a match, meaning he is not the best match for everybody or the firm. And so is client not always the match you spend a lot of time. With your divorce attorney, when you go to divorce, my divorce, I don’t know what took it three years, two and a half years.
[00:16:24] Andrea Jones: Something like that back then, which was long back then. Now it’s kind of normal. But you spend a lot of time with the attorney and you need to be able to trust them and you need to feel that they have your best interest in mind. You, you need to know that they know your name, they know your case. They know you personally, you’re not just a number.
[00:16:39] Andrea Jones: That’s get handed from one lawyer to the other big firms that I feel like I have friends who. We had lawyers and big firms and it wasn’t new lawyer every other week. Cuz somebody got moved to a bigger case. So know your lawyer build a relationship with them and, and you interview a lawyer in a consultation it’s interview both ways.
[00:16:56] Andrea Jones: Do you feel like they are the right match for you personality wise [00:17:00] and then I think, and then you just have to follow your lawyer. They’ve been through this a million times. They’ve seen pretty much everything. Like, just like, like a judge has, they have seen everything in the courtroom so they can guide you and tell you what to do, what to say, what not to say.
[00:17:13] Andrea Jones: And again, you have to trust them. And if you don’t trust them, it’s the wrong lawyer. I think that’s the most important thing. Trust your lawyer.
[00:17:20] Justin Sisemore: Yeah, Mary, I wanna touch on one thing too, Andre and I, we do this all the time where we go through, how do we make our business better? What is really value adding?
[00:17:27] Justin Sisemore: How do we make the experience for our staff, a good place to where the stress level’s not high. You know, we, we go through all these issues, issues, just like every other business person does. And. One of the things that I’m really big on that works for our firm is I love having an associate attorney and I-most importantly, I love what being able to walk into an office where I can bounce ideas off people.
[00:17:49] Justin Sisemore: I love having the layer of separation to a degree between, and it really clears my head when I do the consult. I strategically think about the, the associate [00:18:00] attorney and the support staff that need to be on that case to help with the issues a from a cost perspective and B from just a process perspective of how we navigate through the case.
[00:18:11] Justin Sisemore: So what’s really unique to me, especially when you know, we’re starting to think the same. Over these years is when, when I get a timeline from a client that’s very detailed sometimes. And sometimes it doesn’t have hardly any details. Uh, and that’s, that’s not a good way to do it by the way, but, but when they have the details, then when the associate attorney carves out.
[00:18:32] Justin Sisemore: What I, they think is important for me. And then I look back at the big timeline and I mean, last week was a great example, Alyssa, one of our attorneys she’s, she’s absolutely fantastic at pulling the information. I look back and I go, I only added one or two things in addition to the timeline. That I was able to then go into court with to really set the tone in the presentation and, and clients don’t understand how valuable that can be.
[00:18:56] Justin Sisemore: They always want the guy or the girl on the sign. And [00:19:00] believe me, I would love to, be a one person shop. If I could do all these things and not have all the expenses like everybody else would be in business. Uh, you. It’s hard nowadays, you got employee issues. COVID all the things that have been going on and it’s not easy to streamline the management of the business.
[00:19:15] Justin Sisemore: The process do law, do be a dad, all those things and, and, and keep everybody going in the right direction. But the only reason why it’s important to me to, to do the consult and I don’t do all of ’em, but I do the majority of them, I would say most, uh, is because I really need to feel the fit. And, and that’s the good thing about a boutique firm in my opinion, is we really know each other well.
[00:19:41] Justin Sisemore: Um, and so I know if a personality type I is not gonna fit well with, with somebody. And one of my struggles honestly, is when I have to. Somebody that’s trying to hire us. No, I’m trying to get better about that, honestly. When it’s not a rejection thing, it’s just a fit thing. And so the structure and how we process the things that we’re doing throughout a case, [00:20:00] we’re getting better at it over the years with more experience, but, but I’m very big on making sure that.
[00:20:06] Justin Sisemore: I have my pulse on the ground. You know, Andrea talked, I this morning about growth and, you know, we, we are rapidly growing and we’re trying to make sure that we keep that balance between growth and, making sure that our brand has the utmost importance and, and caring about the clients and all those things.
[00:20:20] Justin Sisemore: But you got a lot of people want your service when you do things, right? And then all of a sudden you do too much at one time you can really cheap in your brand. So we challenge that balance all the time and, and it’s something we’re getting better at.
[00:20:31] Mary Maloney: Yeah, you you’ve been doing it for a long time, so you keep getting better all the time.
[00:20:35] Mary Maloney: That’s good. I hope so. yeah. well going, back to some other issues that people face during divorce and how you as an attorney, help them handle that is that sometimes a divorce and custody case can drag on for a variety of different reasons. So what are different options that you recommend to clients or that you guide clients in when they’re having a family law matter?
[00:20:58] Mary Maloney: That’s dragging.
[00:20:59] Justin Sisemore: And again, we [00:21:00] gotta go back to the, whether it’s strategic to drag it on a little bit, uh, whether it’s a necessity to drag it on a little bit or whether it’s just laziness, right? So those are three important issues because you know, sometimes you have somebody that’s trying to get on their feet.
[00:21:13] Justin Sisemore: You know, they, they are the, they’ve been the stay at home parent. And they don’t have education or they don’t have a job. Uh, and so you’re trying to get them on their feet financially. And, some people take advantage of that, right. They, they just want the case to drag on. So they get money and they get paid and those clients are never really happy because.
[00:21:32] Justin Sisemore: It’s the stress. I mean, a lot of people I think operate the same way I do, which is, you know, if I have something as small as a toilet go out, that’s the only thing I think about until they come fix it. Um, and so, when you drag these cases on, you’ve got all these issues there, all the uncertainties, I, I think that it can be a problem, but there’s certain circumstances that require it.
[00:21:52] Justin Sisemore: Like we just talked. And then, you know, if somebody’s just being lazy, they’re not making a move. Or they don’t like the conflict and they don’t wanna [00:22:00] approach the, the issue head on you know, we get clients that say, Hey, look, we’re just, we’re kind of in a holding pattern. And I always ask them, are you, are you reconciling, uh, or do you want a nonsuit I’m real big on just.
[00:22:10] Justin Sisemore: Let’s keep the case moving so that we stay with process. You know, but, but to move forward in a case, the purest way to do that is our set, our deadlines. So pre-trial scheduling orders set your set, your trial date. You’ve got your mediation deadlines, your discovery deadlines. And I have some people say, well, Justin, look, we need to be in a holding pattern on this case.
[00:22:30] Justin Sisemore: We don’t want to set the trial too, you know, too quickly. Let me just assure the folks out. You’re not getting a trial date set quickly, no matter how, how bad you want to. It takes, it can take up to a year, sometimes more time to get a trial date set. So all of those steps that come into play with respect to discovery mediation, that’s how we move these cases.
[00:22:50] Justin Sisemore: And it may not be exactly what you want. It may not be exactly what you feel you want, but you don’t know that yet. And so I like to get these deadlines in place. That’s the [00:23:00] simplest way. As far as moving the case. And the other thing too is, you know, you’ve got some lawyers that communicate they, they pick up their phone, they email, they respond and then you’ve got some lawyers that just don’t.
[00:23:10] Justin Sisemore: And then you’ve got some clients on the other side that don’t communicate with their lawyer. So they actually pick up the phone call, ’em say, Hey, what’s the VIN number? Well, I’ll get back to you and then they take a month to get back to ’em and, you know, so we get cases where we’ve had decrees and orders and proposals over sitting in the inbox somewhere in the other side.
[00:23:30] Justin Sisemore: And we’re sitting there in a waiting pattern. And I know that can be frustrating, but there’s also managing the financial side of that. So sometimes clients, you know, they run low on money. Uh, and so you’ve gotta set a hearing to, to get a motion to enter or whatever. That can be frustrating, cuz you’re like, well, how come they don’t have to pay the fees for that?
[00:23:50] Justin Sisemore: And we can get money judgements. We can have courts order these things. And I know we’re gonna get to that in a second, the reality is they may not pay them. And so again, all of this comes down to the [00:24:00] strategic planning and if we think about that, okay. Is your, is your spouse the kind of person that’s responsive?
[00:24:05] Justin Sisemore: No, they never, they, he just sits on the couch or she sits on the couch and, you know, they don’t handle their own business. They’re not gonna be a great client on the other side. Right. And so we’ve gotta keep moving, uh, the needle, pushing the envelope and getting those deadlines in place. And once we have ’em, we make sure that we’re monitoring that we’re looking at our calendar.
[00:24:25] Justin Sisemore: We’re seeing when the next step is, and when we actually need to have the communication with the client, and there will be some lag period. There will be some holding patterns. But long winded way of, of just saying, you’ve gotta have the process. You’ve gotta make sure you stick to a plan. Sometimes it’s strategic.
[00:24:41] Justin Sisemore: Sometimes it’s things outside of our control judges courts. And sometimes it’s just laziness on the other side. If it’s laziness on our side, that’s where I’ve got a real problem. And that’s where I, I mean, we have meetings and we go through that and we jump at those issues.
[00:24:54] Mary Maloney: So, Andrea, I know when you’re, you’re a divorced in custody case, it it’s, as you said earlier, things got really [00:25:00] dragged on.
[00:25:00] Mary Maloney: And a lot of that was intentional. I think. Your ex, so you wanna talk a little bit about that situation and kind of how Justin helped you through that and how to keep things going and finally resolve your case.
[00:25:15] Andrea Jones: Yes, doesn’t mention it. It’s, it’s emotionally draining because it’s this thing that’s, Luing out there and, and again, it’s, it’s scary.
[00:25:23] Andrea Jones: And you don’t know when, especially if the other side keeps pushing buttons and telling your stuff. One thing that he always said to me is just like, don’t worry what he says. And if he has to say something, he can say it through his lawyer, don’t answer his phone calls. You don’t need to answer his emails.
[00:25:38] Andrea Jones: You just do your thing, unless it’s about the kids and something that really pertains to the kids, you don’t need to respond. So don’t even put yourself emotionally into, into having feeling that you have to respond to a text of or email. You don’t have to, and,
[00:25:51] Justin Sisemore: sorry, sorry to interrupt. But that, that is case.
[00:25:54] Andrea Jones: Correct for me, that was because he was pushing my buttons and trying to get me engaged and tried to rally me [00:26:00] up and doing all kinds of crazy stuff that he did. And so you always said like, don’t engage, just let focus on the kids. Another thing that was important is we pretty much got everything we wanted in the temporary, uh, orders.
[00:26:12] Andrea Jones: Thinking about it. He, he kept telling me too, nothing is really gonna change once you have that sign, that divorce because you have everything already, the way we are gonna go for it. You have the kids, the majority of the. He has them every other weekend. But you have everything already in place. So there is not a huge change coming that I needed to push for.
[00:26:30] Andrea Jones: I had everything the way I wanted it. So I just had to get through the whole thing emotionally and then on my thing. And in my case, it was really, he changed lawyers. I don’t know how many times, eight times or something. I don’t, we stopped counting. At some point he didn’t respond to his lawyers. Like Justin said, they send him stuff out.
[00:26:47] Andrea Jones: Um, he didn’t respond. . Um, and then, and then we had to ask and ask and ask, and then at some point we just said like, we’ll just wait. There’s not, nothing’s gonna change. And then when he kept, kept going, dragging me back into court, after the divorce [00:27:00] was final. I, I, at some point even stopped thinking about doing that, even if there was something, cuz we said like, what is it gonna bring?
[00:27:07] Andrea Jones: Because judgements and text is not gonna bring anything so that we kind of like just laid low. He brought all kinds of cases against, or tried to bring cases against me and, and Justin squashed them pretty much all of them. So he, again, it goes back to, do you have a good relationship with your lawyer?
[00:27:23] Andrea Jones: Can you trust your lawyer and then follow their advice and emotion? That’s uh, that’s my advice to anybody out there going to going through divorce. Your divorce attorney is not your counselor. So in the staff of the law firm is also not your counselor. They’re not the people that need to listen to you.
[00:27:39] Andrea Jones: You need to find a divorce group. There’s all kinds of, whether it’s through church or through, through a counselor, there’s all kinds of groups out there that you can communicate with. They do not mind listening to your same story 50 times, cuz you’re gonna say the same story 50 times. Cause it’s emotionally draining, find groups like that and share with them.
[00:27:57] Andrea Jones: And then you find a lot of like-minded people that go [00:28:00] through the same thing that helps you through the whole process emotionally. I mean you have good. Anyway, but they get tired of listening to the same stuff over and over again, too, being in divorce groups and, and, and at church in divorce care groups, I think helped me a lot to also stay sane and not bother him with every little thing that happened.
[00:28:16] Andrea Jones: Because then if you talk to somebody, bounce, bounce off, what happened? They often say like, well it’s, is it really that important? And it wasn’t so no, even no need to call my attorney.
[00:28:25] Mary Maloney: I think that kind of curtails us into the last question here. And, and I love this one. Justin, you recently won a substantial amount of legal fees for one of your clients because they were being dragged back to court over and over again by.
[00:28:37] Mary Maloney: Other the other person in that situation THX. So can you explain what happened in that particular situation and, give some tips for people listening out there who might be in a situation like that where their legal fees are, are climbing and climbing due to actions of the other party.
[00:28:55] Justin Sisemore: Sure that that case in my opinion was one of the times.[00:29:00]
[00:29:00] Justin Sisemore: And I’ve seen this a few times in my career where a judge really gets outside of the box and does the right thing in a big way. Because, at the end of the day, Andrea had touched on the issue of judgements. Not really having a lot of weight in Texas when you have certain people that are judgment proof, okay.
[00:29:17] Justin Sisemore: They don’t pay their bills, they have bad credit. They don’t have anything to really attach. Uh, that’s where. Texas can be what we call the most debtor friendly state in the union, uh, because you can’t put ’em in jail for certain circumstances. Uh, the courts, can give you a money judgment, but they may not have any resources to a bank account to attach to any kind of property.
[00:29:37] Justin Sisemore: That’s not their homestead or their retirement. You know, there are ways to go and attack these judgements, but some people just literally will self destruct. And they won’t follow the laws in Texas. They won’t pay their bills. They don’t brush their teeth. The simple things. Right. I mean, some people are just literally uh, Worthless.
[00:29:57] Justin Sisemore: And so they, those kind of people I’m [00:30:00] really, I give the cautionary tale to of let’s get you outta the litigation. Let’s get away from that person, but that’s not gonna be the meal ticket. Right. And expecting attorney’s fees and waiting for those payments. They cost money. We spend more energy. And if, if it’s not a, a turn up, we can bleed.
[00:30:17] Justin Sisemore: We need to really think about that. And so, that this, this particular case, uh, has been ongoing litigation. I’m I’m the fourth or fifth attorney. And, and again, I’m very particular if you’ve had a bunch of attorneys, I’m real careful before I take your case. Okay. But this particular client you know, she, she had a very compelling story.
[00:30:38] Justin Sisemore: And, and, and she’s had good lawyers. It’s just, you know, it’s, sometimes people really take advantage when. And they have a huge financial windfall in this case is massive. I mean, it’s a big financial difference in their earnings. Um, and in a Saper or a custody case, you don’t have the luxury of having jurisdiction over the property, uh, the way you do in a.[00:31:00]
[00:31:00] Justin Sisemore: Divorced case. So even though there was money to go after interim attorney’s fees and things like that, that you can have the ability to get in a divorce case, very difficult in a ser. And this judge really got outside the box. Obviously I can’t mention names, but this was a recent case with high profile people and athletes and all that other jazz.
[00:31:20] Justin Sisemore: Right? So you deal with some of this stuff. When you have a lot of financial resources, one party. Totally neglecting, uh, their responsibilities and more importantly, wanting other people to make the life hell, for lack of a better legal word. Uh, on one of the parents who’s sometimes does all the stuff, all the things, all the, to and from doctors to, and from school And, and the other side, just, doesn’t like that person, uh, being in charge and has a lot of financial resources and that court came back and made a very big ruling, not once but twice.
[00:31:52] Justin Sisemore: And it, it really has. I don’t wanna say leveled the playing field because the attorney’s fees, [00:32:00] 50 grand here, or 10 grand here to a lot of people are going, whoa, you got that. And, and in some people’s lenses, that’s a big amount of money, but when you deal with numbers in the millions and millions and millions, You know, $50,000 a blip on the radar.
[00:32:11] Justin Sisemore: But it’s not to, to our client. And it, it allows her to not be taken advantage of. It allows her to be heard. It allows the message to be sent if you’re gonna continue this path, you know, even if it’s not impacting you financially, the way that. It would impact some other people. You can’t feel like you’ve had a good day when you’ve had five or six different attorneys in different states.
[00:32:32] Justin Sisemore: That’re testifying to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, you know, we’re, we’re walking around with 20 or $30,000 in a very contested custody case. Uh, you can’t feel like you’re really got the upper hand there. And I think deep down, if that client. The time to really engage and look at this that they would definitely know that they’re not on the up upper hand here and that’s not to be boast.
[00:32:54] Justin Sisemore: It’s not to toot our horn about what we’ve done. It’s that there is justice out there, you [00:33:00] know, it, it’s not always immediate and it may not be in the exact, uh, rapper in box that you may think it’s supposed to be in, but there is justice out there. And these judges try really hard. You know, I got, I got the newspaper other day asking me some criticism about some judge.
[00:33:13] Justin Sisemore: I said, look. If the people that are making these complaints sit in that courtroom and listen to all the evidence, if they were on every phone call, if they were on every email and knew all the communications and all the effort that that court may have done, they may not have the same perspective that this court isn’t gonna do.
[00:33:30] Justin Sisemore: X, Y, or Z, or this judge is terrible, or I’ve heard this terrible war story. And I, I just can’t stand when people get placed in boxes and, and this judge, I mean, I, I can’t tell. How neat it was to walk out of a courtroom and really feel like that. Judge listen. Thought outside the box, we prepared. Well, we went through some case law that was loosely based in certain areas.
[00:33:53] Justin Sisemore: Cuz again, people run outta money in family law. So they don’t just rush up with the court of appeals and you don’t always get the best decisions from the court [00:34:00] of appeals with clarity. But this judge did a great job there. The client you know, she’s not overly happy about the fact that she has to be engaged in this stressful matter, but she knows that we can’t kill this guy.
[00:34:10] Justin Sisemore: We can’t shoot. He’s the father and hopefully he, he, he, he widens up and the only way you get that to happen is, uh, in my world where you got a lot of moving parts is they gotta go through discovery. They gotta have some pain points, they gotta leave their business or their job and come to court and sit through some stressful events.
[00:34:30] Justin Sisemore: And that takes. I always use the analogy of the mosaic, right? These are little pieces of the mosaic and you can’t see the big picture until we get to the end game, which is generally the trial. And a lot of times we don’t get to the trial. So I hear clients go, well, nothing really happened in my case.
[00:34:43] Justin Sisemore: There’s about 2000 emails and phone calls that would co that. And the case is over with it’s leading them, the water, making them drink, making them responsible and having accountability. And that’s, that’s really all we. Uh, in family law. And I, I use the analogy of the realtors. Sometimes, that some people say, well, my realtor didn’t do anything.
[00:34:59] Justin Sisemore: They just [00:35:00] listed my house. You get emotional when you’re selling your house and you go in there and you say, well, you don’t like my shutters and you all of a sudden you and that buyer aren’t getting along very well. That’s what we do is we lead them there. We help them through these process. We go through these issues and an attorney’s fees in balancing that situation can be a very great way to equalize the playing.
[00:35:20] Mary Maloney: Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up today. You two, any, any final thoughts on our topics today?
[00:35:29] Justin Sisemore: Now I’m looking forward to continuing to explore these issues. I know, I know that these, these podcasts may not touch on the very issue, but I really do love the open dynamic.
**Timestamps are incorrect from this point forward**
Justin Sisemore: Now I’m looking forward to continuing to explore these issues. I know, I know that these, these podcasts may not touch on the very issue, but I really do love the open dynamic. Um, you know, this is, this is just as much fun for me to do. Uh, this isn’t a job. This is hopefully helpful and beneficial. I really appreciate y’all and you know, we’ll keep getting better with content.
[00:00:21] Justin Sisemore: We’re gonna keep launching new things. Uh, and some days it’ll be directly on point and some days it won’t. Um, but, uh, thank you to listeners and we are looking forward to working with you in the.
[00:00:30] Mary Maloney: Yeah, absolutely. And we’re always open to hearing from you, um, folks that are listening to us. If you have any topics that you want us to touch on, please let us know.
[00:00:38] Mary Maloney: And if you’d like to get in touch with the semore law firm, you can call the firm at (817) 336-4444. Or visit lawyer DFW. Dot com and of course, please follow our fo podcast and share it with friends who might find it helpful. Thanks again for listening and have a great day.
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