Sullivan, Taylor, Gumina & Palmer September 2018


SEPT 2018



Success for One Person Is Not Mirrored in Another

The definition of success varies from person to person. It depends on the point of view of the person who is experiencing success or failure. It doesn’t solely rely on winning or losing, or even the overall outcome, to determine how successful someone feels about a situation, case, decision, or conflict. Sometimes, there’s a case that goes really well, and the results are the best anyone could have hoped for. The outcome of the case is something you know that, as an attorney who does this every day, you wouldn’t usually get. But despite that success, the client is outraged. Conversely, something can go wrong in a case — maybe the judge misinterprets the law — and it turns into bitter work. However, even in that situation, the client might be happy and thankful that it’s finally over, and thankful for your efforts. When you define success from the divorce attorney perspective, it has a lot in common with the divorce client perspective. In my experience, it’s good practice for someone who is a divorce client to approach a case with careful expectations. If you base your happiness or sadness entirely on the outcome of this particular case, you could carry that on your shoulders for the rest of your life. Many people can never get past their divorce. They’ll go back to court year after year to tweak or change something in their paperwork. And then there are others who never look back after the case is over and continue with their lives.

If you’re a divorce client and are experiencing a loss, you can turn it into a success. As long as you know you did the best you could and did what you were supposed to do, you’ll experience a good win. If you act honorably and in good faith throughout the divorce process (even if you don’t receive exactly what you want) you can view it as successful. It can be dangerous to tie all your emotions, hopes, dreams, and state of mind to what some stranger sitting behind a bench and wearing a black robe says. It can really help if divorce clients focus on what’s going on in their lives right at that moment, rather than thinking too far ahead or behind. Control what you can control, and don’t allow things beyond that intervene with your mental state or pursuit of happiness. Give yourself the opportunity to fight for your success and for what you want to achieve. Sometimes it’s the fight itself, and not necessarily the outcome, that tells you if you’ve succeeded. Making sure that you’re the best parent you can be for them goes a long way. A spouse trying to use their kids as a weapon in the divorce as a way get what they want is selfish and appalling. Children should be kept out of the process. If you’re a client who has faced something like this, or if you’ve done your best in keeping your children out of the process, the important thing to keep in mind is that you were a good parent. As a divorce attorney, I have a lot of tools in my lawyer toolbox that I can use to fight for a great outcome for any of my clients. How I define success is whether or not, at the end of the day, I can look back and see if I helped people out in the best way that I could, regardless of the outcome. –Joseph Emmerth Especially when there are children involved, clients who focus only on getting the best outcome for themselves can be dangerous.



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