Can You "Win" A Divorce Or Family Law Case?

Stange Law Firm, PC
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When many are looking for representation in a divorce or family law matter, many are looking for a lawyer who can “win” their case. The term “win” is commonly used and very important to many.

In some instances, a potential client may even ask their attorney to give their record. In other words, like a boxer, they want to know how many cases they’ve won versus how many they’ve lost.

While the question might make sense to those who do not have a legal background, the question is really problematic on a lot of levels.

First and foremost, how does a client even define a “win” or a “loss” for their divorce or family law matter? In other words, if the client wants a divorce and the attorney gets them divorced, is that a win? Or, are they defining a win as getting everything that they wanted?

For many clients, they might get divorced and they get a lot (or even most) of what they want. Is that a win or is it a loss — because the client didn’t get everything they wanted (which almost nobody does in a divorce)?

In the end, most divorce or family law matters have a number of issues at stake, like the divorce itself, property and debt division, custody, support, spousal support and attorney’s fees. This means that a client might like the outcome in several areas, but may have wanted something different in one, two or several areas.

This is remarkably different from a criminal matter where after a trial, the defendant is either found guilty or innocent. And it’s remarkably different from a personal injury case where the defendant is either found liable or not liable for whatever negligence was alleged.

In the end, a “win” or a “loss” is complicated in a divorce or family law matter. The issues are often many in number and the lines blurry in terms of what is a “win” or a “loss.”

A lawyer also cannot change the facts of a case. Sometimes, in other words, a lawyer gets a case with good facts. Other times, they get a case with bad facts. This is not necessarily a reflection on the skills of the lawyer.

Further, does anybody really win in a divorce? Or is it more an issue of who loses less?

What most clients will want to find in an attorney is somehow who is competent, communicative and diligent versus seeking out a win-loss record. A win-loss record is rarely a good measure in divorce and family law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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