Behaving with Respect and Compassion During Divorce (Ep. 23)

Divorce proceedings are more than just legal transactions.

During a divorce, how you interact with those around you could impact the result of your divorce proceedings. From first impressions with your potential attorney to how you communicate with your former partner, everything is connected to the final decision.

In this episode, Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones explore the interactions between attorneys and their clients when it comes to divorce proceedings, focusing on the importance of having a good first impression and what Justin considers when deciding if he will work with the client or not.

Justin and Andrea discuss:

  • The importance of maintaining a positive and cooperative attitude during the divorce process
  • How your interaction with the support team impacts your relationship with the divorce attorney
  • The benefit of speaking with a third party outside of the divorce team
  • What to consider when finding the right attorney for you
  • And more!

Connect with Justin Sisemore

Connect with Andrea Jones:

Read the Show Transcript

Announcer – [00:00:00] 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 Justin Sisemore 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, the changing landscape of family law, and living the entrepreneur’s life.[00:00:36] Now, onto the show. 

Announcer – You’re getting a divorce. You’re battling over custody. You need to find a family law firm to help you win your case. Okay, you’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re probably on edge. But it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Because if you don’t, your behavior could have a negative impact on the outcome of your case. [00:00:59] In today’s [00:01:00] episode of In Your Best Interest, the panel discusses what to expect and how to interact with the people involved on your journey through divorce. 

Mary – Thanks for joining us for this episode of In Your Best Interest, I’m Mary Maloney, and today, attorney Justin Sisemore, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, and I will discuss what to expect during the divorce process and how a person’s behavior can impact the outcome of divorce and child custody cases. [00:01:26] So Justin, this is a topic that you’ve wanted to discuss for a long time, and it may surprise some listeners, but it’s an important reality check, really, for people who need a good lawyer, right? Today we’re really talking about the benefits of being nice and cooperative, and that all starts with the first interaction between a client and their attorney. [00:01:45] Can you kind of talk about that introductory process during the consult? 

Justin – Well, the main reason I wanted to touch on this point is and this doesn’t just exist with attorney client relationship this is professional relationships in general. Um, and really [00:02:00] just across the board in customer service. Um, I think we all know any business owner or anybody that’s interacted with the customer before, um, that is at least somewhat respectful and you don’t owe any business anything. [00:02:11] It’s not like, I understand the concept of you’re paying somebody you need to be served. That’s our mentality. That’s our heart and mindset, but, but it’s really important to create and establish the relationship um, with the attorney, uh, you know, I think a lot of times people just kind of have this mindset, which is I hired you, you work for me kind of mentality and the problem in family law is you’re going to have a long standing relationship. [00:02:37] Um, and I, as the attorney, um, need to be passionate about your side of the case. Um, that’s pretty that’s pretty obvious, but what’s a little bit less obvious is how the client sometimes interacts with the support staff and team around the attorney. Um, I’ve, I’ve heard many times, well, when you get on the phone, they act differently when they talk to me. [00:02:57] And I don’t like to hear that because I like to [00:03:00] know that our clients are, are taking the advice that we’re giving them, um, and, and receiving it. And, and that’s hopefully creating some form of change internally and how they interact. Um, and it starts with the attorney client relationship. That first initial consult and the hiring process, you know, when you have somebody that is really wide eyed and, uh, they demand that their three cousins get on the phone and they’re going to tell you how this should go and all this stuff. [00:03:28] And they start stepping on kind of the process that’s a good tell for me to know that, hey, we might not be able to get through to this person. And I don’t like making preliminary judgments on people, especially when they are in a situation, uh, where emotions run high. So I try to take charge of that consult and let them know that they are in hands that, that will help them through this and you need to feel that sense of guidance, um, and that level of respect starts at that first phone call. [00:03:58] I can’t emphasize enough if [00:04:00] you are in a, in a state of you know, high, high emotion or, you know, I get calls with people that are highly intoxicated or whatever the case may be. Just remember that that first impression is how the attorney is gauging a) the level of you know, what the, what the case is going to take, um, that impacts the financial obligations, um, on the client’s behalf. [00:04:22] Um, they also are looking at, well, which, which support staff people need to be teamed up with this person. Um, what is the level of interaction that I specifically am going to have through the process? And so, for example, if I’ve got a high caseload, and somebody calls and they’re like, it must be you, Justin. [00:04:40] I must talk to you the entire time. I don’t, I don’t need any support staff. I don’t want any support staff. I’ve had people call me and tell me they’re not going to speak to women. Um, you know, that’s just a really, really bad look. You know, 9 times out of 10, we won’t take the case, um, which, you know, can be frustrating when you pay a consult fee and you think, okay, well, this is going to be my [00:05:00] person. [00:05:00] We’re like, no, we’re not. Um, and a lot of that’s dictated by that first interaction. So it’s just really important to, you know, take a step back for a minute remember that we’re all humans remember that the support staff and team that are working with you to try to help provide for your needs are also [00:05:17] um, you know, in very, very stressful situations to beat deadlines and timelines, and, you know, we hear it all, all the time about airline stewardess and all this stuff and interactions but, but it really is important to internalize that and think about that because that is the way that this case starts and if you start communicating with somebody who’s[00:05:37] on your side in a way that’s very adversarial. It’s a pretty good, clear indicator that you’re going to speak to, uh, the, the father or mother of your child that way and you’re not going to make a good witness um, you’re not going to present well in court and it’s really hard for lawyers to argue dumb emotion, as I call it, right? [00:05:55] Just, just screaming or going off the flying off the handle for no reason. [00:06:00] So I think it’s really important if you’re in that situation where you can’t really get a check on the emotions to get some help and, and, and try to do that before you start paying somebody an hourly rate, that’s much higher to get you through that situation.

Mary – [00:06:16] So now once you and the client decide to work together, what does the process look like post consult then and who does the client end up working with along the way? You kind of touched on that briefly, but if you could elaborate a bit 

Justin – when we when we file a petition for divorce or we first get hired after we do the consult, I do a 48-hour call with with the team members that are going to be helping and assisting through the situation. [00:06:43] It doesn’t make any sense unless you are a one man or woman solo shop um, and you’re going to handle every single thing from the faxes and emails and faxes I guess there’s not those anymore, but the emails and everything else and communications First of all, they have to [00:07:00] have a very very small caseload and my from my experience if you have a small caseload um, and you’re dealing with one client individually and maybe you’ve got 15 or 20 clients and those are the only people that you’re dealing with [00:07:13] there’s usually a reason for that. Um, and it’s no disrespect to people that, you know, run a small shop. It’s just the idea that an attorney can run their business answer all their phone calls and emails in a timely fashion, go to court, try cases, get together the exhibits, uh, and witness lists and all the summaries, um, and speak to the clients the way that they need to gather the experts and all that information, do that themselves. [00:07:39] If, if. If someone thinks that they’re that good, I’d love to meet him because I can assure you, you know, I get to charge a lot more per hour if I did all the work. So the client should be, I think, somewhat receptive to the idea that a) we’re trying to charge them less by having support team. I have to pay them out of my pocket. [00:07:59] [00:08:00] Um, they do help. Uh, with revenue of the business, but it would be much more financially beneficial for me to have a solo shop and, you know, just respond to an email that says enclosed, please find your decree $300 or whatever the case may be. So I really try to develop value for the client in gathering the support team and staff around them. [00:08:20] And then from an efficiency standpoint, you know, you’re going to have cancellations of hearings. You’re going to have resets. These are on judges times and judges schedules. They sometimes will reset hearings when, you know, I’m in another hearing shocker. You can’t, you know, saw one person in half. Um, and the other thing that people need to remember is [00:08:39] I’m not, I’m not the end all be all when it comes to being the best in every situation. Um, I know my name’s on the sign and that gets confusing for people, especially when they’re referred, they’re like, well, you need to make sure you get Justin. Let me be very clear. You always get our team. [00:08:54] You always get me and involved in that process. I tell people in the consults, uh, you know, pick up the [00:09:00] phone, call me, set an appointment. We, it takes. Literally minutes to get in, uh, with our firm. And I usually get back in, in with somebody inside of a week. So it’s not like you’re going to be waiting to talk, but the strategic direction of the case is set at the outset, right after they hire, like I said, there’s a 48 hour call, uh, where the attorney, the associate attorney who works with me on the case, the paralegals kind of get. [00:09:23] Everything in check. They let you know, all right, this is what we’re going to need. Andrea knows we’ve got backups upon backups, giving descriptions of what we need, how we need it, when we need it. Uh, we’ve broken that out so that it’s not one big document that goes by the wayside. We’ve broken it out into individual processes and, and even then you’re going to need more handholding. [00:09:44] I tell people in the consults, don’t memorize everything I’m saying. Uh, this is just kind of to walk you through the 50,000 foot view of the temporary orders, the discovery, the mediation, the trial phase, and what that looks like. And, and really I like to compartmentalize that case. And so when you look at that [00:10:00] second follow up, that is kind of a recap of what.[00:10:04] The client and I have spoken about, uh, because things change from the first initial phone call, things change from the time they actually fill out the information sheet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had somebody forget or omit things in the consult sheet. We’ve shortened it therefore, so we can gather that information, the notes. [00:10:22] And then you have a follow up consult, uh, with our team kind of going through the issues again. And sometimes when you wake up after that call, you’re like, well, I don’t. Really think we need to push forward on this issue or I’ve slept since then. So I do find that to be very helpful. I also think that first touch after the communication is critical. [00:10:40] I think people sit around, um, you know, if I’ve heard horror stories of people waiting months and months and know what’s going on in their case, when you pony up a retainer, I think you should know exactly a, that something’s happening and what that looks like. And so that’s really the first piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, that gets, gets the ball rolling.[00:10:58] And then from there, once that [00:11:00] consult happens, they’re telling you when the filing is going to happen. Our process servers are getting with you, looking at scheduling, figuring out whether You know, the kids are going to be around to make it an appropriate time to serve somebody or whether there needs to be a waiver of service. [00:11:13] Um, and then, you know, if we obviously, you know, I like to have temporary hearings, I talk about temporary orders being your roadmap a lot that happens really inside of about 21 days in, in most situations and the TRO, the temporary restraining order is good for 14 days. So, really about four to five days after they hire, we’ve got pleadings on file after they do that initial meeting. [00:11:33] And sometimes it takes another week or so, depending on scheduling. Um, but, but usually inside of a month, you’re inside of a courtroom. Um, and so the information gathering piece is really critical. And that’s where the team members really come into play. And, you know, I will also say that the, with respect to the team members the attorneys that, that we have hired here are, are hand chosen. [00:11:57] Not just because, well, we have an [00:12:00] attorney, they have a resume, let’s go, let’s go get them in the seat. I mean, we’re very particular on who comes into our firm. We have a, we have a limited number of attorneys that have very specific personalities for different types of, uh, results, um, and different types of personalities in the courtroom. [00:12:17] And so I, I’m very careful, uh, with how we team that group up. And so that, that piece really sets the tone and pace for the entire case, the leverage points for the mediation. And I can’t stress how important it is to a) prepare and b) Really trust the people that you’re dealing with on a professional level. [00:12:37] If you’re not getting responsiveness or you’re not getting calls back, and I’m not saying your responsiveness is going to be what you want to hear, as we’ve said many times, but if you’re not getting that, um, back and that feedback back, that’s when it’s, that’s when it’s a problem. And I tell people all the time, I say, look, even people at our level of professionalism, balls get dropped sometimes. [00:12:54] People make mistakes. And, if it’s a mistake that is a true accident, I mean, I’ve had, [00:13:00] I’ve had situations where, you know, the court of appeals, for example, has sent emails to, to junk emails as of a couple of weeks ago, and we’re not appellate attorneys and the client’s going, well, what is this? [00:13:10] I haven’t even seen the appeal. Uh, it didn’t go to my email at all. It went to one of the associates junk email. She goes to pull it up, um, after another notice letter comes in. And there’s no attachment to it. So the clerk didn’t even attach the petition, uh, for the appeal. We don’t do appeals, which we tell the clients in our contract and then follow up communications. [00:13:31] But, but, you know, those things happen and we take ownership because that’s what professional businesses do. So we, we’re still driving past that. It’s kind of like the contractor, you know, that, that the flooring doesn’t work out right. And he comes back and fixes it. We’re going to fix it. It’s going to take a little bit of time. [00:13:48] It costs a little bit of money and we just need to be patient through this process. And I know it feels like everything needs to happen immediately and yesterday because it’s stressful and frustrating, but really take a breath for a [00:14:00] second. Um, and, and try to work through those timelines in a realistic fashion.

Mary – [00:14:05] You know, Andrea, this might be a good spot for you to jump into because you’ve really been in on both sides of this because you work from an operational perspective with the firm. And then you’ve also been a client of Justin’s. Can you kind of weigh in from your perspective with some thoughts there?

Andrea – [00:14:21] Yeah, I think that the most important thing at the beginning is to, to really surround yourself with people that have an understanding of the process. I mean, the attorney is going to explain it, the paralegal is going to explain it, but, but if you have friends or people that have been through the process, it helps to kind of calm you down because like Justin said, you want everything happened yesterday, especially as a mother, you want everything fixed yesterday and it’s not going to get fixed yesterday. [00:14:44] And we actually implement it now at the, at the law firm. Kind of like a support group from former clients. So to help them guide current clients through the process and help them understand what this means and how overwhelmed you are, might be. And, and I think we talk about this in a minute. [00:15:00] Counseling is also a good, a good space for, for clients to go. [00:15:04] Have a counselor help you through the emotional piece, calm you down. So when so many people have the stigma, if I go to a counselor, is something wrong with me? No, a counselor is a third person that is neutral, that’s going to give you a different perspective, and is going to help you. And looking back, I should have gone into counseling for, I said this before, for step parenting, that’s a good… [00:15:23] place to start to have a counselor help you through the step parenting process, but even through the divorce or whatever modification case that you might have, it’s good to have somebody that is neutral, that has, has, has experience to help your emotions down that Justin was talking about earlier and also give you the. [00:15:41] the piece to, to wait this out and not want everything done yesterday. 

Justin – Yeah. One thing on that made you, I want to touch on you know, I hear a lot, well, my friend’s case was like this, or my pastor told me this, or the police officer told me this I want people to be careful to remember that. [00:15:57] It’s okay to get opinions and it’s okay to [00:16:00] get, you know, emotional and guidance regarding outside third party help. Uh, we’ve talked about before when the, when you have to get your new spouse on the phone to tell, to tell me about the case or, you know, your sister or your cousin needs to chime in, um, or your family members. [00:16:18] Remember that, you know, you’re paying the professional and, and they’re not necessarily the professional and some of the advice they give you maybe because there’s some biased and some of the advice is just flat wrong. And you know, I, I, it gets a little touchy when you’re dealing with. You know, parents getting on the phone or spouses getting on the phone I, I’m always pretty hesitant to, to really want them involved in that conversation. [00:16:42] But I also like to have a second set of eyes and ears. I, you know, I know there’s confidentiality, confidentiality issues when you start engaging third parties in the communications. But a lot of times when people are emotional, their, their ears get a little foggy, uh, with what was said and what was not said.[00:17:00]  [00:17:00] So I don’t really mind having, um, third parties inside of communications. I’m pretty careful about the conflict of interest or, um, the situations where, uh, there can be, um, discoverable information from that conversation. Because again, the attorney client relationship only exists between the attorney client. [00:17:18] But especially when I have somebody telling a client that this is the way it is, and this is the way it’s supposed to be, I hear sometimes, well, I talked to this lawyer and they said, I said, well, get them on the phone. Let’s go. Um, because if they’re gonna, if they’re going to tell you that everything we’re doing is wrong and they know the way, then they should probably be the guy in the driver’s seat or girl in the driver’s seat. [00:17:37] So I love getting those parties involved, um, because usually what happens is they’re keyboard warriors, um, if they’re the ones that are adversarial, um, or they just. are very, very, um, one sided because they, you know, they’re obviously close to you in a familial relationship. And so when I can kind of straighten that line of thinking out, I love to do that because, you know, [00:18:00] also when you’re not talking to your attorney, you’re talking to those people, right? [00:18:03] And so they need to understand how we’re going through the process. I had a very, very difficult client, um, that he’s, he’s very kind, but he wasn’t so kind to his, Uh, significant other and his father was paying the bill and still is. And when we had the hearing and his father sat in the courtroom, his dad was like, I am so sorry. [00:18:23] I had no idea. He told me something totally different. And I came at you and your staff and all this stuff. And, and we’ve got thick skin. Like we’re, we’re designed to, to help you through tough situations, but. That being said, you know, when you just jump to judgment in any area of life with any level of professionalism with professionals, a true professional is going to bark back. [00:18:45] They’re going to say a good employee is going to say, Hey, I don’t like the way this company is going. I don’t like what’s happening with the business. And here’s the solution. A true professional will be professional in that A that process with you. But, you know, after two or three times of you just coming off the handle and you’re. [00:19:00] Your aunt or uncle calling and screaming at everybody, you know, we’re just going to go, Hey, look, we have hundreds and thousands of very, very happy clients and we can’t win them all. [00:19:10] And, you know, I give people that rope and try to try to get them off that, that mindset and if it’s something we did wrong, we’ll own it. But if, if it’s just this emotion and it just continues to be just this uphill battle and everything we do is wrong and lawyers suck. And my lawyer’s terrible. And so and so is not so and so and all that stuff I hear, you know, every once in a while, it’s just like, all right, you need to go find whoever it is. [00:19:33] That’s going to toot your own horn because that’s what you. apparently need. And, and, and that’s where I just really want to focus on people understanding like we truly, truly do care about helping our clients through this process. And if you, if you fundamentally believe that and you are getting help and you listen and just take a step back and listen to the level of respect we’re giving you when you’re screaming bloody murder and crying and going through the process, you know, and think about. [00:19:59] [00:20:00] Those guys, they have families, they have heartbeats, they have pulses, they’ve got to live life too. And they get to choose when you get to my level, right? And our level, you get to go, uh, this ain’t worth it. And so if you truly, truly want to be that passive aggressive person and get after somebody and scream at the staff and all that stuff. [00:20:18] Just remember, we have the ability to request a withdrawal and you, you’re going to spend money and you’re going to think the lawyer’s terrible and we’re going to write bad reviews and all that stuff people do. but I don’t care. My, my, my team’s mental health is far more, is far more important to be able to get somebody through the process than a one off person 95 percent of our clients or 99 percent of our clients that really do respect what we do and how we do it.

Mary – [00:20:47] So, and that’s really why those initial consultations, I hate to go backwards, but those initial consultations are so important, Justin, because you really do find out not just from the attorney’s perspective, but also from the client’s perspective, if that [00:21:00] attorney is a good fit for you. And that’s, you recommend speaking with. [00:21:03] several attorneys before picking one.

Justin – Yeah. And I, you know, I, again, I, I’ve obviously a human, I’ve been wrong and pairing up people before we’ve always used the analogy. We’re like Baskin Robbins. You don’t like vanilla. We’ll switch you over to chocolate if we need to. Uh, but if, if a client is trying to dictate. [00:21:20] the process and change and move us off course. Um, you know, if it’s a, if it’s a personality fit and we just kind of missed, um, that personality fit in the beginning, that’s no big deal. And what, what clients need to understand is a lot of what we do is not extremely complex. Okay. And I want, I want to be clear about that. [00:21:39] A lot of what, a lot of the information gathering and putting the pieces together, that’s not, that’s not where the fundamental strategic direction of the case comes from. That’s just. Everybody’s going to need that, right? Your tax returns, your bank statements, your credit card statements, getting your summary timelines together, your inventory. [00:21:57] That’s, that’s the handholding that goes on with the support [00:22:00] staff. It’s absolutely necessary and it’s critical to go through what needs to be involved in those, in those, in those documents. But actually getting that information together is not rocket science. So, you know, going back to that personality and fit, we can make changes. [00:22:15] We do make changes. We don’t do it a whole lot because again, you know, it’s very important that we have professionalism and we have a strategic direction. If a client calls and says, Hey, I want you to go right when you really should go left and you just go whatever direction the boat’s taking you. And that boat does not be driven by somebody who really understands it. [00:22:35] The client’s not getting value. Right. So that’s where we get into those, those tougher conversations, but that’s our job, right? It’s our job to guide you. And it’s our job to say, no, you know, I, I understand what that communication was. I’m not just defending this lawyer at my firm because they work with me. [00:22:50] Um, but I, but I will say that, you know, I’ve read the communications, I’ve read the emails, the responses were appropriate. The timing was appropriate. Um, and if it wasn’t, [00:23:00] we’ll fix it. But if it’s appropriate, we’re not going to just make a change, um, out of the blue because that, that really is a disservice to the client through the process.

Mary – [00:23:09] So taking a slight turn here, you know, a person’s behavior during interactions with their ex, um, and that opposing parties counsel can also have an impact on their case as well. And as can their behavior in front of their kids. Can you talk about that a little bit and share some recommendations? 

Justin – Well, and I think Mary, that’s why when we talk about the initial interaction you know, I, you’ve got to have this mindset of do the do right rule, right?[00:23:39] I, I, I always say, act like Jesus. If you can, I know they can’t or they wouldn’t be here and you know, all that, but, but at the end of the day, if you are doing the right thing and you are following, um, you know, the, the measures that we, that we are requesting, which a lot of it is just simple stuff, like You know, I get, I get the call. [00:23:57] Well, how should I talk to my ex when we don’t speak? [00:24:00] Just ask him the who, what, when, where, why questions. Well, you know, Hey, I’m thinking about switching schools, um, over here. I know, uh, you know, the order says that I’ve got this, uh, this right, but I wanted your input and I wanted to know what schools you thought would be beneficial and can we talk through that? [00:24:15] Well, no, you idiot. We’re not talking about anything. I, you know, blah, blah, blah. That is absolutely exhibit number one. I mean, I’m going to take that into court. I’m going to say, Hey, the client reached out. She thinks she’s co parenting well, and you know, she’s. Doing what I asked her to do, which is, Hey, what’s your input on this? [00:24:32] And you either don’t respond or you respond in a negative light. I mean, that’s one o one stuff, right? And it doesn’t take rocket science to do that. What, what it does is it takes you to bury the emotion. And when we start with the consult. A lot of what I do in the consult is kind of rehash what direct examination looks like. [00:24:49] So for example, uh, you know, what do you do for a living? How long have you been married? Have y’all separated? Those kinds of questions. And what I gauge in that process is when you start to go off script [00:25:00] immediately and want to tell me about, you know, something that happened six years ago, when I asked you, do you have a house? [00:25:05] I’m learning from you that you’re not going to be responsive in a courtroom and it’s going to take more work to get you there. Right. And so I may have to put a tougher personality with you to get you just really in check for where you need to be when you get into a courtroom. Well, if you don’t like that, or that feels uncomfortable to you because we’re telling you something you don’t want to hear, and we do it in a respectful manner, but you may not want to hear it. [00:25:30] If you’re that kind of person that can’t receive constructive criticism, you really probably should represent yourself. So going back to kind of that, that idea of the interaction with the clients and, and how they interact with each other. When you start out with a lawyer that way, it usually is amplified a tenfold on how you interact with the other side. [00:25:53] And I can do move mountains in cases when clients even have terrible, terrible facts, but really are [00:26:00] trying to make honest effort to get better. That’s all we can do in life is try to get a little bit better each day, 24 hours at a time, sometimes two hours at a time. And if I have the client that is really making those efforts, I mean, I’ve switched custody on a situation where a guy couldn’t even speak and he came into the office, just slurring his words. [00:26:17] Every time I talked to him, he was a total alcoholic. And he literally, I, I see his, I still Facebook friends with him. And I see the posts of him with his child now. And he’s the primary. And, you know, She’s getting, she got close to supervised access, right? And, and that was because she didn’t heed the advice he did. [00:26:35] And I honestly did not think that client would ever have that turnaround. Um, and those are the wins, right? When we talk about winning, uh, in our profession, those are the wins when you flip somebody, uh, or make somebody become, you know, a good human, and at least. Uh, engage in interaction in a respectful manner with their family members. [00:26:52] That’s a win in my book, right? Because that then turns into kids and cousins and family members and grandparents and [00:27:00] all of these people that are around them getting to see a decent human. And with social media and all this stuff that’s going on and the thousand ways you can interact you see this stuff and you immediately want to react. [00:27:12] We all know, take that email, write it, delete it, wake up in the morning and see if you want to rewrite it. Same kind of communications that we have through this process. Don’t fire off, take a breath. Remember that nothing needs to be done in a day or two, right? Just take a breath in a moment to, to get through how you’re going to communicate. [00:27:30] And in the beginning, if you’re, if you’re all full of venom, um, that’s where these counselors come in to kind of help you. Uh, get more task driven and more to the who, what, when, where, why the fact driven, not the gaslighting, not the conclusions, not the speculation. Well, they’re going to not show up and they’re going to take off to Mexico with my kids and they’re going to, you know, bring so and so around and he’s a drunk or she’s a drug addict. [00:27:52] They’re crazy. They’re, they’re narcissists. I hear those things literally 50 times a day. And it’s not that they’re, they’re wrong necessarily. They [00:28:00] may be a thousand percent right, but we still have to deal with those people. Right? So we still got to communicate with them in a way that we present well and show the court that it’s in the child’s best interest, or that the division of property makes sense because someone’s trustworthy, uh, they communicate and present well, they’re respectful to their lawyers, their staff, their team, the judges, um, the support staff, all the people that are involved in these cases. [00:28:26] And so we just try to train them from step one. 

Andrea – I want to jump in here too. I think there’s what Justin said, keep your side of the street clean. That’s, that’s important. And I learned this through the process myself. And the other thing you gotta remember, if you’re going through divorce, there’s a reason you go through divorce in most cases, and you didn’t get along with that person, and that’s why you’re getting divorced right now. [00:28:47] So that person will push your buttons all day long if they can, and you just have to learn to not, to let them not push your button. You just have to breathe and say, okay, he’s doing that because he’s attacking, or he, she, it doesn’t matter, she or he’s doing that. To attack me, [00:29:00] they know how to get to me through my kids. [00:29:01] So they’re going to say and do all those crazy things. And you just got to breathe. That’s why I said a counselor is a good help because you can learn about yourself. Why that potentially pushes your buttons so hard to you just need to breathe and don’t like Justin said, don’t respond. And oftentimes there’s an app even where you have to communicate through an app. [00:29:17] So you’ve got to be very careful what you put into that app. And if, if the other side does it, then it’s a, it’s a exhibit that the attorney can use, but just. Breathe, you guys, no need to respond to a text message when you receive it. Think about it, breathe, like Justin said, sleep on it and do it the next day. [00:29:32] And that’s going to help a lot because the next day it’s not even that urgent or that bad anymore. Cause again, when you realize he or she is pushing your buttons, you just got to roll it off your back. Like he told you, tell your teenagers when they’re in high school. Yeah. When we were in teenagers in high school, everything was a big drama. [00:29:47] And then later on in life, it’s like, why did I even react like that? And it’s the same thing when you go through divorce and modification cases, I think. 

Justin – Yeah. And on that point, Mary, like the, the way they communicate. So I have a lot of clients say, well, you know, they’re sending me these [00:30:00] harassing emails and I blocked them from, you know, blah, blah, blah. [00:30:02] Because I just can’t look at this and, and bury that emotion. You know, I, I, I look at this kind of like the, I don’t know how many people out there have seen the, the Billy Madison kind of movie or where, where he was, you know, kind of pictured not Billy Madison, but the football and where he pictured the other side is kind of that little puppy dog, uh, you know, in the helmet and, you know, you kind of got to, whatever you got to do to get yourself out of letting that person have that level of influence over you. [00:30:26] I mean, nine times out of 10, the reason I do divorces is to get people strong again. If, if somebody has that level of impact on you, anybody, you’ve got to figure out a way to minimize or mitigate that impact. Right. Take the, take the text and just kind of look at it and be like, this is crazy. [00:30:44] I can’t tell you how many clients that just said what Andrea said, like two years from now, they go back and read this stuff. And they’re like, what is, why did I let this person do this to me? And so if you can take the wind out of the sail and just kind of go, all right, I’m going to pretend I don’t care how you do. [00:30:58] I want to pretend you’re a Chihuahua, this [00:31:00] barking dog that tells me I’m not going to have any time with my kids. And I’m going to take all your money and you’re going to be left on the street and destitute. And your lawyer’s an idiot. And my lawyer is going to do this and that. I love those kind of people. [00:31:11] I love cross examining them. They are so fun to play with. It’s probably, I guess if I have joy in my business, it’s really, really exposing a human that just can’t get out of their own way. And especially when I have the client that’s going, Hey, you know, I’m sorry you feel that way, but the pickup and drop off is here at six o’clock. [00:31:28] Would you like me to bring any of the, uh, uh, you know, the PlayStation games, screw you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s great bullet for the gun bullet for the gun. And then we get into cross examination and, you know, sometimes I get to have a little fun at this job too. And, you know, you feed me a steak and I’ll eat it.

Mary – [00:31:47] So as, as we close here, um, you guys let’s, let’s circle back to the be nice topic, be kind, right? So that doesn’t end after the case is resolved. So in brief, can you, Justin weigh in [00:32:00] on just, you know, giving some thought to that behavior as the case has resolved and how people should behave moving forward?

Justin – [00:32:09] I think this doesn’t just exist. And I love this question because I think this doesn’t just exist when the case is over, when you finish a temporary orders hearing and we do everything you you’ve paid us to do, and we get the result that we want, you’ve got to act like you’ve been there, right? You don’t go and do a touchdown dance, uh, you know, and, and bounce around and get a penalty flag. [00:32:29] Same thing in custody cases. Same thing when you’re done with a divorce case, I see so many people that. You know, they, they get that, they get that big win, right? I’ve seen that a lot. They get the big win and then they do the touchdown dance. Right. And then they get the penalty flag. Um, same thing here. Uh, you know, a couple of things when the case wraps up one, release it. [00:32:50] Okay. Just because you didn’t get a hundred percent of what you wanted. Doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment of your existence, thinking about how you can get back that [00:33:00] little extra Monday or, or the extra 10 grand that you didn’t get at your, in your settlement. Um, you know, that really happens a lot with mediation. [00:33:07] I had a really tough, uh, client that we dealt with. It was very complimentary all through the process. Uh, loved us. And then all of a sudden, you know, at the end of it, he, he, he woke back up and decided, well, because his spouse said, well, I told you, you know, that was going to be the result. And he literally got the same result. [00:33:24] We tell him, we told him it was going to be in the beginning. I mean, I, and I, I was just like, I was baffled to hear the communications post. Um, you know, and all of a sudden everybody’s an idiot. The system’s broken and all that. And she was able to get back and push one more button of his. Um, and, you know, that, that then turns him back into the person that we started with. [00:33:44] And, you know, if you can’t move on from, from an individual or, or the person, you know, I feel like we’ve failed. Um, I don’t like to fail. So, I, I feel like if you can’t move forward in a positive light where you let the case go. You don’t [00:34:00] try to spend every waking moment getting back into litigation. [00:34:04] Nobody should like that, by the way, if you like litigation, you need to find a different hobby because this stuff ain’t cheap. It ain’t quick and it’s never, never, never super fun. Uh, unless you just have this real passive aggressive attitude that you just need somebody to beat up on somebody, uh, you know, go take a boxing class or something else, go to the gym or. [00:34:22] Whatever. Uh, but, but at the end of the day, when it comes to the post behavior, um, especially in custody cases, modifications are always just around the corner. If you live a life where you don’t let it go and you’re still going to behave now that, you know, you don’t have the firm to talk to and all our great staff to work with you. [00:34:42] Now you’re going to go back to where you were. You will probably be back here. The problem is, is when you come back here, I’m going to see a bunch of different evidence than we had. I can’t tell you how many clients like started out awesome. I have two cases with them. I represented multiple kids, separate wives, different [00:35:00] divorces. [00:35:01] And then all of a sudden they get that one. Right. And they come in guns ablaze and it’s a different human. It’s a different expectation. Um, it’s a different relationship, attorney client relationship altogether. So I just think it’s really important to, um, don’t just release this stuff, like play it back in your head. [00:35:19] Look at the emails, go back through, um, and play back kind of what got you there. Um, do some internal reflection, go back to the counselor, um, and bury the animosity. Cause I’m going to keep telling you the same thing. I’m just charging you money to tell you that stuff. So I’d prefer you not spend that money, especially in the, in the rebound effect. [00:35:39] And the other thing I would say is. On a property division. Um, you know, when you’ve got somebody that feels slighted, um, and a property division happens and there are things that they don’t have to do like college and cars and all this other stuff. If you, if you continue to kick that or poke that bear, kick that dog, whatever you say there, [00:36:00] you’re going to find that you don’t get help. [00:36:02] Right. All of us need help. We need financial help. We need help with timing and scheduling. And so, you know, coordinating and working with the other party is a big thing. And then we fast forward to weddings and stuff we’ve talked about before. It ain’t a fun sight when you’ve got, and I was just at a wedding a couple of months ago and the two parents, you could feel the tension. [00:36:23] They were on opposite sides of the room. They stood up to talk. You could tell the little jabs that they were still making at their daughter’s wedding. I’m sitting here going. How do you do that in a, in a moment like this? Right? So I’m going to keep pushing forward. I’m going to keep. You know, I say kicking people in the teeth sometime until they get the reality check they need And i’ll get a negative review here and there and i’ll i’ll get well My lawyer’s not fighting for me. [00:36:48] He doesn’t know what he’s talking about And i’m okay with that because I have thousands of people that disagree with that person 

Mary – So, hey, I think that’s a great place to wrap up today. You guys, um, if you’d like to [00:37:00] contact the Sisemore law firm, you can call 817 336 4444 or visit lawyer DFW. com. We also invite you to follow the podcast and share it with friends who might find it helpful. [00:37:13] Thanks so much for listening and have a great day. 

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