Wikipedia defines reverse psychology as “a technique involving the advocacy of a belief or behavior that is opposite to the one desired, with the expectation that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what actually is desired: the opposite of what is suggested.”
Though I have written in the past about how to minimize attorneys’ fees, I thought this week I would use reverse psychology and instead advocate for how to have an expensive divorce [of course, in the hope of encouraging actions to reduce those fees]. Now, some may ask why a lawyer would advocate for reduced fees, when we rely on those fees for our livelihood. My answer is simple. If clients feel their lawyer achieved a good result without drowning them in debt, then those clients will be satisfied with the services they received and will be that lawyer’s ambassador in providing future referrals to friends and family. Most law practices are referral based, so satisfied clients are critical to practice success and longevity.
With that said, here are the top five things clients do, or can do, to increase the cost of their divorce and make it more expensive than necessary:
Fight for your principles. Principles are typically not aligned with the law. Therefore, fighting for principles – to prove a point – will usually not achieve what is needed, generally proves nothing to the other side, and costs you – the advocate for the principle – a lot of money.
Hire a “scorched earth” lawyer. A lawyer who uses the “scorched earth” military strategy, which involves needlessly destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while pursuing the task at hand, is expensive.
Insist on having your day in court. Rather the compromise or settle a matter, insist on telling your story to the judge. The results may be worse than if you had compromised and settled the issue, but after spending hours, days or weeks in court and hiring expert witnesses to help you tell your story, you will have had your day in court.
Ignore your lawyer’s advice. Despite your lawyer’s years of experience and education, insist that you know better. The damage you create may be irreversible, or at the very least, very expensive to repair.
Do not settle. Employ a strategy to not compromise on or settle anything. Let the judge decide every issue – which takes time, costs money and may mean an unfavorable result.
For those of you who wish to create further damage to your children and family, and for those who wish to spend their savings and children’s college education paying for their divorce, then I hope you have found these tips helpful.
For those who prefer to move through their divorce productively and with the least expense and damage possible, do the opposite of what I have suggested above and hire a lawyer who will guide you through a better divorce process.