As I’m writing this, I’m at approximately 37,000 feet in the air, looking down on Iowa and its neatly segmented farmlands, crop circles, and tiny little houses. From that height, it’s beautiful to see how it all fits together like a neat and tidy jigsaw puzzle.
I often think about this when discussing legal problems with someone who insists that they “don’t need a lawyer.” I have the friend who downloaded all the divorce forms online, filled them out, and filed them pro-se. They left maintenance (spousal support) modifiable. Now, two years later, they’re back in Court litigating 1) maintenance; 2) assets that were undisclosed; and 3) parenting time, because the schedule they developed for their infant son is no longer working and now there are significant others involved. He insists he can handle this himself, but based on the fact that I can see his heart on his sleeve, I know he can’t see the bigger picture. He’s too emotional.
Or there’s the colleague who finds herself in the midst of a landlord tenant dispute. The family friend facing foreclosure on their beloved family home. The neighbor who regrettably got pulled over last night and ended up with a DUI. “I’ll figure it out, I’m not wasting money on a lawyer,” they say.
(Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson)
They say that she who represents herself has a fool for a client. It’s absolutely true, and even lawyers have a hard time being objective when it comes to personal matters. Those of us smart enough to realize it are the ones who ask for help when we realize we’re in over our heads. Those of us who don’t – well, we suffer and struggle along.
Sometimes it’s impossible to see the bigger picture when the weight of your problems have you so tied down to the details. That’s why although you may be able to figure out the legalese and the necessary forms for your situation, you might not know all the options, and you might not be able to think past the next few months. The wisdom in hiring a good lawyer is that, figuratively speaking, s/he is able to look at the situation from 30,000 feet and see your whole life – past, present, and future – for exactly what it is. The attorney can see how it all fits together, can see the end in sight, and can help guide you there. It’s your life – it matters, and it’s worth the money.
If you’ve thought to yourself recently, “Ugh, I should probably consult with a lawyer…” then you probably should. Even paying for an hour’s consult is usually worth the peace of mind. Call today and see how I can help relieve the stress and anxiety you’re feeling, and let me show you how the pieces really do all fit together into a bigger plan.
So very true! We talk to members of our association all the time who really need to consult a lawyer because there are too many moving parts to their issue (which they are usually way too emotionally involved with). Having someone who can look at the situation objectively and at least discuss all the options is worth every penny.
I COMPLETELY AGREE! This is SOO true..and as much as I hate to admit it..I am the EPITOME of the quote,”she who represents herself has a fool for a client.” I was..I AM that fool..and I have paid for it in ways you can’t even imagine. In the past 10 YEARS, 95% of the time, I have attempted to represent myself in my very contentious divorce, including all of the many different faucets after 14yrs of marriage & 2 children..parenting time..child support..property division..contempt..etc..and in ALL of the times I represented myself plus, all of the pro se motions that I filed..there HAS NOT BEEN ONE INSTANCE that I EVER “won” the motion or EVEN received a fair compromise from the court. In fact, I NEVER even felt like my voice was heard and I felt completely “invisible” & definitely “outmatched” by the presence of the opposing attorney. If only I could do it over..my BIGGEST REGRET IS THAT I DIDN’T HAVE AN ATTORNEY WHO WAS DEDICATED & ONLY INTERESTED IN MY & MY CHILDREN’S LIVES. I NEVER would have stepped foot into the courtroom without having representation had I known how much I would lose. However, my problem has ALWAYS been a money issue..and my ex had it & I was barely surviving on my disability income..and I simply couldn’t find anyone to help me. But now..10 yrs later..as I look back on our case..my ENTIRE LIFE, as well as my children’s resulting difficult childhood,& ALL of our issues could have been settled quickly, & fairly if only I had PROPER REPRESENTATION. Having an attorney would have truthfully been LIFE CHANGING..not only for me but MOST importantly for my children as well. I wouldn’t be where I am today..lost, broken & all alone..with kids who are no longer “children” who barely speak to me and whom I haven’t seen for over 4YEARS now..not bc of a court order..but bc of the actions of my ex, his attorney,and his intention of “destroying” me & my life. And the MANY things that happened, & EVERYTHING that was done to me and my children..happened simply bc of they KNEW THAT I DIDN’T HAVE AN ATTORNEY..I didn’t have anyone..so the court orders didn’t even matter bc I didn’t have the knowledge nor the ability to successfully fight them. THEY KNEW IT..I KNEW IT..EVERYONE INVOLVED KNEW IT..I WAS A FOOL..and as a result, they did whatever they wanted..including, not only keeping my children from me..but my ex used intimidation, abuse, threats,& coercion to turn my children against me..and I lost EVERYTHING. Before this..I was a woman who had it all & EVERYTHING THAT I WANTED IN LIFE..with what I believed was a stable, strong, loving marriage, and I was the stay at home mother of two beautiful, absolutely INCREDIBLE children who I devoted my life to. My family was EVERYTHING to me..and although I went to college, my true goal in life was just to be a great wife & the “best” mom, & to provide a completely different life for my kids than the one I had growing up. That’s all..but to me, it was EVERYTHING I wanted. But in a flash, everything you have and the life you built can change. And while I tried desperately to save my marriage & my children’s happy childhood, there’s nothing you can do when a 3rd person is involved..so my goal then changed to protecting my children from the DV,neglect,abuse,and EXTREME PARENTAL ALIENATION from my ex. But I didn’t even have a chance against them on my own. So now I’m still fighting for my rights and for my ex to follow even the original orders..but it feels hopeless. But I’ve worked hard to save some money to hopefully find me the right attorney to help me settle this once & for all. So..(if you have read it this far..=)), take it from me..NEVER go to court without having representation..EVEN if you believe that your partner will be fair and treat you with respect and will be amicable..people change or they show their true colors..and ESPECIALLY if you have children..YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED AN ATTORNEY..not just for you, but for your children’s future. There is NOTHING more IMPORTANT than to have someone who has your back..who understands the law and litigation..who will fight for your rights..who you can trust with your & your children’s life and future. YOU SIMPLY CANNOT FIGHT THE SYSTEM ALONE! YOU CANNOT EFFECTIVELY REPRESENT YOURSELF IN COURT! YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY! I really didn’t plan on sharing all of this..but if you made it through my story..I hope & pray that I can convince at least ONE PERSON to NOT GO PRO SE,and save them from the heartache, stress & loss that I have gone through for the past DECADE..simply bc I NEVER had the support, knowledge, & help from a great attorney. Please don’t make the same mistake that I did..and thanks for reading my story..=) I hope it makes a difference for someone…