The Truth About “Divorce Month” (Ep. 24)

The media calls January “divorce month” because more divorces get filed in the new year. Before it reaches a courtroom, what steps can you take?

In this episode, Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones explore the steps before divorce court, touching on the signs of a failing marriage and the importance of seeking professional advice. They discuss what can lead up to a divorce and the importance of communication before and during a divorce.

Justin and Andrea focus on:

  • Why January sees more divorce court proceedings than December  
  • What are some signs that a marriage may be heading towards divorce
  • The benefits of having consultations before resorting to a court battle
  • What are some post-litigation scenarios, particularly those involving substance abuse
  • And more!

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Read the Show Transcript

ANNOUNCER 1[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 2 – The topic, divorce month, always hits the airwaves in January because divorce filings allegedly spike in the first month of the year. If your marriage has been rocky lately and you don’t want to become a divorce month statistic, you won’t want to miss this episode of In Your Best Interest.

[00:00:57] Today the panel will discuss steps to take to [00:01:00] get your marriage back on track and What to do if you do get served with divorce papers.

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 tackle a topic topic     [00:01:16] The media loves to dwell on after the first of the year and it’s divorce month. And of course, we also want to talk about how to right      the marital ship. If you think your marriage is headed toward divorce. So Justin, let’s start by discussing the concept of divorce month and how that came about in the first place.

[00:01:32] How did January earn this esteemed honor?

Justin – I don’t love to call anything divorce month. Um, I think that is, uh, probably the media’s play on kind of trying to have a tagline. Uh, but it will address why I believe that a lot of divorces are filed in the month of January. And we’ve also seen some of the research, um, that, you know, from our statistics, Where it’s moved.

[00:01:58] So it’s gone from [00:02:00] January to maybe August to other months of the year. Um, and the reason that I think that you see, um, some changes or transitions specifically with January, um, is, you know, a lot of attorneys and judges are traveling, clients are traveling, um, they’re trying to make it through the holidays.

[00:02:17] And so, and, or they just didn’t get it filed in December. Uh, they were waiting for whatever reason and obviously trying to push through the Christmas holiday season. So I think it’s kind of cliche to call something divorce month. It would be like murder month in a criminal setting. Uh, but I do believe that you see a spike traditionally because, uh, of, of people’s just    

[00:02:39] situational circumstances regarding travel and whatnot and holidays and judges and setting hearings. Keep in mind, you know, when we talk about in our other podcasts, about the strategic timing to file, one of the things we’re considering is when to notify the other party of the actual lawsuit. Uh, when to file it and also with respect to injunctions [00:03:00] and restraining orders and temporary orders that need to happen, you know, you’ve got timelines that these things, when you file a temporary restraining order, for example, you have generally 14 days from that to get it set.

[00:03:10] So if you file something as of December 16th, and you’ve got the first and the holidays and all that stuff, oftentimes what you’re going to find is      You’re going back and getting a continuance anyway, you’re trying to locate the other party that’s traveling with a process server and it adds to the expenses.

[00:03:27] Um, in addition to the fact you can’t even get into the court. So, uh, you know, we’ll oftentimes tell people to hold off on that. Um, and the other thing I see a lot of is when I get the 38 phone calls, Christmas Eve or the day before Thanksgiving, those are      , those tend to be kind of the highest conflict of cases.

[00:03:46] Um, so just remember like, you know, if you’ve, if you’ve gone through three or four months of separation and three or four years of, of pain in the divorce case, It may not behoove you to try to just jump into 38 phone calls to an attorney the day before a [00:04:00] major holiday, because generally that means that, um, you know, it’s, it’s something that’s extremely urgent.

[00:04:05] And if it is, you know, certainly make that call, but if it’s not something that’s truly urgent, just take, take a little bit of moment of breath and remember that you’re not going to get into court      Anyway, I get calls on Saturdays and Sundays, all the time from clients. And I’m like, You know, the courts aren’t open today.

[00:04:18] There’s nothing that can be done today. Put it in your timeline, document it and, and let’s have a sit down conversation strategically where we’re not just being reactive to an emotional decision that happened over the weekend or over the holidays.

Andrea – If I can jump in here, when looking at the statistics that we have for the Sisemore Law Firm, January is actually not at all the month where we have the most clients hire us, not not even close.

[00:04:42] So in 2023, it was low on the list out of, out of nine months, number five. In 2022, out of 12 months, position number eight in February actually was even position number 11. So we have other months in the year, like Justin said earlier, where a lot more people come and file for divorce or hire us, [00:05:00] which is oftentimes now this year, September and August were the highest months and other years, May, June.

[00:05:05] So it has totally changed. I think it’s more the media putting that spin on it that January is divorce month. And ever since COVID, I think it’s changed anyway. Because people had to spend more time with each other. And no matter what, realized that maybe that’s not the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Mary – [00:05:22] Very true. So for listeners who are worried their marriage is headed toward divorce, what are the common signs that their suspicions may be true the     n Justin?

Justin – Yeah, I think that’s one of my concerns about calling something divorce month right or these, these things that you see online because what it does when we read social media and we read any kind of media outlets, and you’re kind of thinking something’s going south.

[00:05:48] My concern is when you say, Oh, it’s divorce month. It means, Oh, it’s okay. Let’s ratify my feelings with filing for divorce in the month of January. So, um, that’s, that’s [00:06:00] again, why I wanted to touch on that. But when you talk about the idea about worried, uh, your marriage is headed towards divorce. And what are the common signs of the suspicions may be true.

[00:06:10] Um, when we look at that, we’re seeing a lot more, um, sense of people really shelling up their, their finances, um, hiding their passwords, turning locational services off, not wanting to be a part of a family plan when it comes to Um, your social media apps you know, when it, when it, when you’re dealing with, um, one of the questions I ask people is, you know, I, I, if your spouse won’t share their bank account information with you, the question is why?

[00:06:38] And just ask ’em, Hey, why, why won’t you share this? Why is this not something that you think I need to know if something happens to you? And if their answer, beca, beca begins to become more obscure, or they begin, begin to fight more with you. Um, about seeing that information. And I don’t encourage, by the way, to go in the MacGyver approach.

[00:06:56] If you’ve never seen any bank accounts or any of the [00:07:00] finances, don’t just roll up in there on a, on a Monday morning when your husband or wife is eating cereal and just say, I need to see everything right now, right? That’s, that’s not really the tactical approach you want to take, but you certainly are starting to see more of the situation where    

[00:07:15] One spouse is you know, becoming less communicative, uh, they’re not, um, at all, um, integrating the other spouse and decision making, um, obviously if they’re past that point that you get to the screaming and yelling, the substance abuse, the coming home at random hours, never telling you where they are, um, you know, and, and that’s where you’re starting to see a lot more of    

[00:07:36] Well, let’s see what the bank statements look like. Let’s see what the computers say. I can’t tell you how many times, uh, in the last year. Um, and really the last four years with technology and improvements in technology and social media. Um, I had a, I had a client come in the other day with regard to, uh, his Instagram.

[00:07:55] And I said, well, what, what happened? And he said, well, you know, I’ve never actually cheated on my [00:08:00] wife ever. But when I go on these business trips, you know, I, I. I’ve kind of cheated a little bit in my mind and I’ve gone down these search paths of individuals and their search history logs on their Instagram are there.

[00:08:15] There’s also websites now that are tracking multiple dating services. So you remember the Ashley Madison’s of the world. You know, and that was a big ordeal. We actually had about 14 phone calls, uh, from clients. And you’re like, wait a minute. I thought, I thought you were the good guy or the good girl, you know, and you get 14 phone calls.

[00:08:33] Like, what is this? How can they use this? And that’s their way of telling you that they’re on the site. So there’s just so many mediums out there. Um, you know, I always tell people, if you’re going to, if you’re going to get caught in these sins, you’re going to get caught because there’s a thousand ways to, uh, nowadays to get caught.

[00:08:50] And, and so, um, I think the signs are pretty telling and it’s pretty easy to take the ostrich approach. If you’re      Going through that and you love your spouse and you want to turn a blind [00:09:00] eye, or you’re living a life that, you know, you can’t necessarily, uh, live yourself because you haven’t gone and done anything.

[00:09:06] So you’re used to this wealthy lifestyle or the country club situation or the embarrassment of that. And so, you know, I think the signs are important to recognize because you need independence and you need to understand when it’s going to get worse. Um, because if you wait till the 11th hour, just like anything else    

[00:09:23] When it gets really, really bad, everything gets shut down, you get shut out of accounts. It’s very difficult for an attorney, um, to come in there and fix that situation on a short term basis.

Mary – So Justin, that would be a great time. If somebody does have those suspicions, they would definitely want to get in touch with a divorce attorney just to see maybe if they’re overreacting or maybe what their options are at that point.

[00:09:45] Right.

Justin – Yeah, I, I think the, I think the misconception with consults is that when a, when clients call me, they say, Oh, I’m not ready to file yet. What if there’s this, there’s this inclination that you have to do something. You know, I, I, I’ve said many [00:10:00] times on our podcast before, a lot of our, a lot of our consults are a strategic focus on a strategic, strategically focused on fixing    

[00:10:08] The problem or identifying, you know, Hey, look, this is, this kind of feels a little bit whiny baby ish for lack of a better legal word, right there. There’s not some major problems. And sometimes just hearing that from a third party that literally you have no relationship with whatsoever, exposes what people who are much closer to them have been saying, right?

[00:10:27] And when we, when you hear that from a third party and your aunt and your cousin and your mom      Or your family members have been saying these things, it kind of resonates sometimes a little better. And I hear people all the time say, I feel so much better after talking through this. And I know I’m not the best professional counselor in the world.

[00:10:42] I don’t pretend to be, but, but, but I’m very blunt and very real. Um, and when we go through those consults, I think that      a      lot of that exposes, you know, what, what is actually going on. I think another piece to that is when you talk to counselors and I love counselors and they have purpose, um, I don’t [00:11:00] love all counselors    

[00:11:00] I love some counselors, um, and they do have purpose, but I will say that there’s a, there’s a big sense to diagnose. The difference in what I do is I do not conclude. I tell clients in the very beginning, my biggest pet peeves are conclusions and speculations. And what I mean by that are just tell me the facts.

[00:11:17] Don’t tell me if someone’s crazy, uh, or they’re an alcoholic without knowing how many times they go to the bar and drink or how many drinks they have. Give me the facts. Let’s do the same thing in a courtroom. And I get clients practicing that way early on, because if you’re going to tell me that a father is an alienator    

[00:11:34] or crazy or abusive mentally or physically, you better have the big three smoking guns and you better be able to spit that out early on because you’re going to have to do that in a courtroom. And that’s part of what we go through in a consult is really kind of letting the clients know. A, you know, we’ve got evidentiary requirements.

[00:11:52] You can’t just roll into a courtroom and come up with information that he says, she said, and expect to get the results. So it takes time to [00:12:00] materialize. It takes energy. It takes organization effort, um, and also a strategic plan. So I’m very much keen on the idea of consults. I think they’re not a waste of time.

[00:12:10] I think that they are nominal in fees. We’ve talked about that before in our podcast, and I just keep going back to it because I’m always so surprised. I love t     he multiple, the followup, the followup, I have people that do seven or eight of them and, and, you know, they’re 200 bucks a piece and that’s not chump change to people.

[00:12:26] We’ve talked about that before, but at the end of the day, if you’re spending, 800 bucks, as opposed to 25, 000 on a divorce case, and you just talking through some issues that you may have some problem with of discovery of information or communication or what signs we’re seeing, it’s worth it.

Mary – So a great follow up to that then is, you know, we all know marriage, marriage isn’t easy.

[00:12:46] Everybody goes through tough times. So, can you just give listeners, you know, they believe that they can fight for their marriage and save it. So what steps do you recommend as an attorney that they could potentially take to help save their marriage? [00:13:00]

Justin – I think that You know, the, the big, the big challenge is there’s a division in our society about religion, church you know, the physical, the spiritual, the emotional, there’s all these vehicles out there.

[00:13:15] Um, the simplest things that, that I think that are really important is to identify and go back to, um, and Andrea and I’ve talked about this before, Andrea, you know, going back to the things that make you remember why you fell in love with somebody. Okay. And I know people change over time. We all know that.

[00:13:32] But the reality in that scenario is if you, if you, if your foundation of your marriage was because you had a bond and commonality of a friend group, a church group, y’all love to ride bikes together, you love to exercise together. And now all of a sudden      You know, you’re going to the bar and you’re doing totally different things and you’re going on work trips and you’ve become an international traveler and now your wife is working when she wasn’t before and she’s taking an international job and you’re having to merge roles [00:14:00] and split roles and insecurities are coming out.

[00:14:02] I mean, you got to really go back to what started you in the beginning a     nd where you are now, and that, that kind of follows the timeline approach. And if you do that, I think what, you know, from a totally neutral point, you will identify along the way, some big trigger points. Well, we moved from my, my family, uh, from North Carolina to Texas.

[00:14:23] And when we did that, we lost our support system of the family. And now I’m having to work and take the kids to school. And, you know, when I come home, I’m exhausted and my husband’s not nearly as supportive anymore. Cause he just watches TV or drinks beer when he gets home on the couch. And he’s a narcissist because he doesn’t listen to me and my friend, my new friend, Julie, who knows everything about me, um, she’s going to tell me and him and all of our other friends exactly what’s going on.

[00:14:48] And she’s all knowing. And then by the way, she’s told me about her friend. That’s a counselor. That’s going to diagnose him as a narcissist. So that’s an extreme example, but that’s exactly what we hear a lot of times. Right. I hear [00:15:00] narcissism and things like that thrown around and it’s, it’s not just men, it’s men and women.

[00:15:04] But so when you get back to, I guess, going through and identifying those points, how do you get back to fixing that? Well, you first have to identify that. And I think that’s, that goes back to looking in yourself, uh, making sure that, you know, you you’ve got your best fitness. Uh, in place, you’ve got your best spiritual in place.

[00:15:23] You’ve, you’re trying to do everything to better yourself in every way possible. And there are people out there who legitimately are just incorrigible. Their victim mentality, everything that ever is ever goes on as the other person’s fault, and you can do everything spot on. You know, I’m guilty that sometimes my wife and I, I try to practice all these things.

[00:15:42] Like she’s, absolutely doing everything she can to make sure I feel supported and comforted. And sometimes I get insecure as her husband and I, I spout off at the mouth about nothing, right? That’s humanity. But if you can, if you can start to communicate those issues, identify them and go through that process and figure [00:16:00] out, okay, well, this is where this is a major change.

[00:16:01] And now we’re going to get to this next spot. Of, this is like kind of the impasse where I’ve, I feel like there was no way to get around this. So now we’re going to get to this next spot of compromise and, and, and let’s talk through that. And if you do that before you jump to the conclusion of they’re a narcissist or whatever else the case may be, or whatever diagnosis that the counselor or Julie, your friend may have told you, I think you issue spot and you can solve problems with issue spotting and fact and data points a lot better than you can with, you know, arbitrary.

[00:16:31] Um, objective or subjective points of view.

Andrea – Yeah, I think you have to be happy yourself. That’s one thing a lot of people forget. They want their partner to make them happy. You have to be happy and content in the way you, how you are. And if that’s not the case, then start right there. Justin said, start with yourself.

[00:16:47] Are you exercising? Are you mentally in a good space? Are you educating yourself? Continue educating. And whatever it is, and then look at your partner, your partner will never make you happy. You have to be happy by yourself. And this is the icing on the top or [00:17:00] whatever they say in the States. The partner should be adding to your happiness, right?

[00:17:04] That’s, that’s, I think the biggest thing. A lot of people forget. He needs to make me happy and he needs to give, or she needs to give me this. And she needs to make me more confident and she needs to support it. He needs to support. No, you buy yourself. Can you do it by yourself? Cause that’s where you’re going to go to, by the way, when you divorce, you’re going to be by yourself.

Mary – [00:17:22] Exactly. Exactly. So I was thinking when I was writing these questions, Justin, about the, the, it’s a newspaper column or Reader’s Digest or something that’s, can this marriage be saved? So in your years as a divorce      attorney, you have helped many clients actually save their marriages instead of getting divorced.

[00:17:39] Do you have any stories that come to mind that you’d like to share?

Justin – Yeah, I also a couple things. First, there’s a difference between saving the marriage in the course of litigation. Um, and I, and I don’t believe that I saved the marriage or my firm saves the marriage. I think we give them an arm people with tools and help them have some self reflection and internal understanding.

[00:17:59] Um, it would [00:18:00] be very arrogant to say that I saved the marriage, but I will say that In the process of communications, I have a very close friend and he’s been married a long time and, and they have a beautiful family and you can, you can see a lot of the differences, right? He’s the, he’s the kid at heart and she’s very serious.

[00:18:17] Um, I don’t want to tell too many more details because if they listen to this podcast, I’ll know I’m talking about them, but you know, I did get a, a conference call from one of them just saying, I can’t do this. I said, get over here to my house right now. And I knew what he was going through. I knew what she was going through because it wasn’t one sided, but we started really identifying the things that, um, you know, for him, he needed to see that the grass is not greener on the other side and the examples of what they would go through and what their kids would go through.

[00:18:47] Um, in the event of a divorce and whether this was really an intolerable situation or whether this was just a blip on the radar, uh, that you kind of might be going through what some call a midlife crisis or whatever else. And for him, I think that [00:19:00] was just that, you know, he felt like he hadn’t solved his purpose in life.

[00:19:04] Um, he’s not been challenged enough in business. And he’s very successful by the way. And you just get, you keep getting insecure cause you see all these things on Facebook and all this stuff. So he kind of had this like mini rockstar mentality where he’s going out and doing all these crazy fun events.

[00:19:19] And he’s very fun to hang out with by the way. Um, and I’ve never seen him ever jeopardize the sanctity of his marriage or I wouldn’t hang out with him. But, but what I did see is a difference of not wanting to have his wife there or her not really wanting to be there and be involved in the same things he was involved in.

[00:19:37] And I totally understand that because, you know, I’m a kid at heart too. So my wife doesn’t always like to stay out later and go do those things. And she knows though that I’m very respective of boundaries, um, in our marriage and I’m Also very respectful of, you know, phone calls and checking in and always answering the phone and she’ll FaceTime me sometimes.

[00:19:56] And there’s never a time, you know, if we travel or whatever that I don’t pick up [00:20:00] that phone. And that’s hard for some people when they’re in a business meeting, but I have never, I’ve never, ever. You know, and I’ll say never, ever. I hope, I hope this is always the case. I’ve never, ever not picked up the phone.

[00:20:10] I don’t care whether I’m in the biggest meeting of my life or a biggest dinner. I will say, hold on, this is my wife and I’ll step out for a second. I’ve never had someone feel disrespected by that. And I know I’m going off a tangent on a tangent here, but, but it’s important to remember that if you put your wife first or your family first, and you think through those things, if you talk to a good, uh, attorney, that’s a, just a simple example.

[00:20:34] I also talked to her, right? She’s this reclusive type, very opposite from me and very opposite from my buddy. She’s a reclusive type. She’s a homebody. She likes to do her things at the house. Very, very beautiful person inside and out. Very in, you know, in touch with, uh, the spiritual side and her kids and just making sure she’s very present at all moments.

[00:20:55] And you know, for her, it was like, well, maybe you need to just kind of get a little bit of a [00:21:00] spark, you know, in a situation y’all probably both need to have a little bit of each other in yourselves just to show a sense of appreciation. You may hate going to some, you know, concert or whatever the case may be that he drags you to.

[00:21:12] But, but seeing that unified front and seeing that. You want to be there and you’re enjoying it and you’re not complaining about it every time, right? That, that then makes him feel like, okay, I’m important. I’m validated, but this is just, isn’t my wife’s thing. And my wife and I talk about that all the time.

[00:21:26] It’s just isn’t my thing. And so that’s just an example of pre litigation and then post litigation. Scenarios are ones where, you know, someone starts with a really, really bad behavioral situation. I, it may be substance abuse as those are the ones that come to mind the most. Um, and so when we get them into treatment on the substance side, and then we start talking them through, you know, how to fix that, uh, oftentimes, you know, the other spouse didn’t want the divorce.

[00:21:52] They didn’t want this to come about. They just wanted to get their, their husband or wife fixed. And so we really try to do that. I know that. [00:22:00] People can’t understand or fathom that divorce attorneys or attorneys in general, uh, good ones want humanity to be better, but that’s exactly why I do this. And we’ve talked about that a million times.

[00:22:10] And so in this course of litigation, the biggest one that comes to mind, you know, my client was a total drunk. Um, he was absolutely would come into consults, uh, would come into meetings, uh, totally intoxicated. He really flipped his life around. I’ve had the ones we’ve talked about before where we’ve, we’ve actually flipped custody because the person.

[00:22:29] That was the bad actor actually fixed themselves. And the other party wanted to usurp that power and authority. But in situations where you have two parties that just legitimately want the problem to go away, they don’t want the embarrassment of divorce. They don’t want their kids to suffer through this stuff.

[00:22:43] So if you’re, if you’re, if your lawyer is not communicating with you on how to save the marriage or better yourself. In the process and, or you’re not willing to try to take those approaches. You really, you’re going to, you’re going to be miserable. Both directions in the marriage, outside [00:23:00] of the marriage, post divorce and all that.

[00:23:01] So I love hearing stories when client calls and says, I don’t want this divorce. I also love when a client says he’s a really good dad, despite this issue. When he’s on, he’s great. I had that call yesterday. Client said, Hey, you know, he’s. He, he, he does substance problems and all this stuff, but he’s a really good dad.

[00:23:18] He really loves our kids. He’s just got a problem. And unless you’ve ever really been educated on that and really taking the time to educate yourself, I think that you automatically conclude that they’re inadequate, that they’re abusive, they’re mental, they’re dah, dah, dah, dah. Go take some time to look at that.

[00:23:33] There’s a lot of resources out there and see how you can better equip yourself. Cause you’re going to be dealing with that problem in the future anyway.

Mary – So with just a couple minutes left here, Justin, you know, if the inevitable happens that you do get served with divorce papers, um, what are some general steps that you recommend to clients just to kind of get to clear their head, um, to cope and then move forward?

Justin – [00:23:59] And this is [00:24:00] not just based on divorce papers. This is based on divorce papers, pleadings, letters you receive, emails you receive from opposing counsel, and all the way through the course of the case. First of all, remember that in a civil litigation setting, family law is probably the fastest Of all civil litigation settings because you have temporary orders in several weeks, you have protective orders in 21 days, you have discovery that gets served and you have 30 days to respond.

[00:24:27] Uh, you have depositions and notices that come out three to four days in advance of hearings or depositions, 10 days in enforcements. Those are really quick response times and think about that for a minute. You’ve got. You know, 14 days and you get served six or seven days prior to a hearing, you go hire an attorney and they’re supposed to get ready in four or five days, right for, for a hearing.

[00:24:48] So when I say it’s an expeditious manner, as far as civil litigation is concerned, it’s on steroids compared to a summary judgment hearing and a civil litigation case where you’ve got a month and a half to [00:25:00] brief and prepare and. You know, there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars on research and all this stuff.

[00:25:05] We don’t get that luxury, right? We are a trial by fire oftentimes in a situation. So we’ve talked about keeping organized, keeping your, your summary documents together, uh, and no matter how many times Andrea or myself send letters to clients, send emails, keep this organized, put it in your portal, put it in your timeline, just relax and breathe.

[00:25:27] Nothing’s going to happen today. The clients. That are by nature, uh, very anxious. They end up worrying themselves into a frenzy. So you’ll get the 14 phone calls, uh, clients. And that makes family law. I think for most lawyers say, I don’t want to do this. Or how do you deal with this? And don’t kid yourself, folks.

[00:25:46] There’s days where I go, I don’t know if I want to do this. Well, all my people have those days too. So the short answer is let’s look at the strategic plan. Let’s go through the days of when we’re going to meet. Let’s talk about when there’s downtime [00:26:00] because there is downtime in a divorce case.

[00:26:02] Let’s remember those downtimes. Let’s read the emails. Let’s read the communications. Let’s read all the stuff that we push out. If we have some questions and your attorney says, Hey, go read this blog that I’ve spent a lot of time on, or go listen to this podcast, go do that before you’re spending several hundred bucks an hour, 500 bucks an hour in situations, having conversations and, and you’re sending emails over and over and you’re blowing through money.

[00:26:27] What it does is it really gets in the way of the lawyer’s ability to do their job, and it also adds to your frustration because of cost. So the first recommendation is, like I said, stay organized. Stay calm and have a plan. Now, on the other side of that, I hear clients come in all the time where we’re a second lawyer.

[00:26:44] I’ve called my attorney 15 times, no response. I’ve emailed my attorney 15 times, no response. If you are in that scenario, run, right? If they get paid to communicate with you, if they’re not communicating with you, it means that they’re overworked or they’re lazy, or [00:27:00] they just are not doing their job. That, that is a absolute no, no, and go away.

[00:27:04] Now I had a client that called in this morning. We’ve talked to him twice. This week, uh, both the paralegals talked to him twice and the lawyers talked to him three times. We’ve sent two other follow up emails and there are action items that we need as the lawyer and the client is not doing anything about it.

[00:27:20] And then obviously they’re not paying their bill there. They got action items that need to happen and that are actually physical, tangible documents we need. And then they go, well, my lawyer’s not calling me back. Well. When you called back five times in a week and email, let’s again, when I go back to that whiny baby, and the reason I go to, I heard that on a sermon this morning and he’s like, don’t be whiny baby.

[00:27:40] It’s like, have a moment where you just do some internal reflection and go, Hey, does this sound like I’m being. a whiny baby. And if so, take a minute, take a breath and go, all right, no, I’m tougher than this. I’ve got thicker skin than this. I’ve got a stronger willpower than this. Justin is not going to save my life.

[00:27:57] Andrea is not going to save my life. [00:28:00] Uh, it’s going to be me that, that, that pushes through this and we help them do that. And so I think that’s the biggest piece is do some internal reflection, look inside, stay organized, stay calm, have good communication and, and go meet with your lawyer. If you can’t, if you’re not getting a response that you need, I don’t love all email communication because I feel like it’s, Absolutely takes the tone out of it and then you have follow up and follow up and follow up because it doesn’t really give the clear explanation.

[00:28:28] If you, if you’re not getting clear answers, schedule a quick phone call with me or, or come in and have a meeting with your lawyer. There’s, we don’t bite, right? You may have spent 80 bucks or a couple hundred bucks. So what, if that makes you get back on the right page, that’s absolutely what you need to do.

[00:28:43] Pick up the phone. They are a service. They’re here to serve you.

Mary – Excellent.

Andrea – And, and we also, I’ve always said like, if you have emotional distress because being served or being in a situation, then a counselor, we said this over and over too, is a good idea or can be a good idea because you don’t want to [00:29:00] use your attorney as your counselor because you’re, you’re burning through money and the counselor is not.

[00:29:04] The counselor is better educated and trained in helping you through emotional issues. So having a counselor, when you go through anything with your child custody or divorce is not a bad idea. Don’t feel like you’re crazy because you’re now hiring a counselor to talk to.

Justin – Yeah, but make sure on that point to make sure you communicate with your attorney about the council.

[00:29:22] I had a, I had a counselor tell a client the other day to take detailed notes of all of their issues, uh, and journal all of their issues and what their negative thoughts and feelings were. And that is discoverable, right? So the counselor, the counselors don’t always. They don’t always know what the ramifications are in a custody or a trial setting.

[00:29:42] So you gotta be really careful to, um, and Andrea and I’ve gone back and forth of whether we should supply the counselor, um, you know, what they should talk about. It’s hard because I want people helped. Um, I want them to be. Consoled, uh, and counseled if they have, you know, serious emotional issues, but we got to [00:30:00] be, we got to be careful too, because a lot of that information is discoverable if you don’t have diagnosis for mental health issues or you’re journaling specifically for the counselor.

[00:30:10] All of that information was discoverable and my client put some stuff on that journal that I mean, I’ve never seen before and I’ve seen almost everything and I’ve never seen these impure dark thoughts and he wrote them all out in painstaking detail and you can’t hide that in discovery. I mean, if they have a forensic on that computer and they go back and see that it was deleted, we all know what happened, you know, with the emails and all the stuff we’re seeing now in today’s little news world.

[00:30:37] So, you know, it doesn’t go well when you’re dealing with deleted emails, um, because you have spoilation issues. So just be careful, have communications, be careful what you journal and talk to your lawyer about what your counselor is telling you to do and see if that’s the right move. And we’re not saying hide stuff, but maybe there are some things that you.

[00:30:55] Think in a deep dark room that you probably don’t need to write out in a journal somewhere. [00:31:00]

Mary – Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up. I’m going to go do some journaling. If you’d like to contact the Sisemore Law Firm, you can call the firm at 817 336 4444 or visit lawyerdfw.     com. We also invite you to follow the podcast and share it with friends who might find it helpful.

[00:31:21] Thanks so much for listening in and have a great day.

Announcer – Thank you for listening to in your best interest with Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, Justin Sisemore, the content presented here is provided for information only, and should not be construed as legal tax or financial advice, click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available.