To the Practice of Family Law

Divorce and related issues — The dissolution of a marriage occurs when a marriage is legally terminated, and the court divides your assets, debts, provides for minor children and deals with any maintenance issues. Included are legal separations (your marriage is not ended but you wish to live separate and apart, and the Court will end your community and distribute assets and debts, arrange for custody and deal with support issues) and annulments (your marriage is found void or voidable, the court will divide your property and may divide your debt, and it will establish rights and obligations regarding minor children). Dissolution actions can be uncontested or contested.

In the simplest of terms, an attorney is a problem solver. Specifically, a client comes to the attorney with a problem and seeks the attorneys assistance in fashioning an outcome that will, from the clients perspective, solve the problem.

Generally, an attorneys assistance is required for one of two main reasons. First, the problem might require a solution that is too complex for the client to solve without the professional and/or legal experience of the attorney.

The second, and far more common reason to seek the assistance of an attorney, is that often times there is an opposing party with the same problem as the client, but with a vastly different idea of what an appropriate outcome should be. When this occurs, I must then persuade the opposing party or a judge that the outcome my client seeks is the most just. This requires a good sense of pragmatism, as well as legal knowledge and ability.

While many people say that want an attorney that is “tough” or “aggressive”, and that will “fight” for them, they often do not think about what that means. To me, being tough means finding out what my client wants, and not settling for less.

This does not necessarily involve attacking or destroying the opposite party. Often times, such an approach merely results in the parties hating each other, and lawyers making a lot of money. If I can get what my clients want by being nice, then I will be nice. If I must take a case to trial, I will be prepared and put on the best case possible – even if it involves presenting facts that the opposite party finds offensive – so long as they are relevant and have a bearing on the case.

I never lose sight of the fact that in Custody cases, the parties will still be dealing with each other, and their children will still love BOTH of their parents, long after I have moved on to other cases.

Robert Carpenter

G. Robert Carpenter