My divorce lawyer was joking and friendly with my ex’s lawyer at family court. Should I be worried?
NO! You are probably going to benefit from this positive relationship and communication. Family law involves incredibly emotional and difficult personal issues. High conflict cases are the norm in family court, where people fear financial loss, challenges to their parenting abilities and relationships, and more. The parties often can’t communicate well with each other. Everything gets worse, and more costly, when their lawyers can’t communicate well either.
The reality is that the lawyers in family court are simply advocates for their clients, translators between the person struggling with family law issues and the Judge who has to make the difficult decisions. To the lawyer it should never be personal. They should be fearless advocates within their ethical guidelines, but on behalf of the client, with no personal involvement. A lawyer should never submit to a court words such as “in my opinion…”
When the lawyers on opposing sides of a case can communicate comfortably, putting aside the emotions that their clients are naturally feeling, and bringing objectivity to the case, they will be far more effective in both advocating and negotiating on behalf of their clients. Two lawyers with a friendly relationship will almost always serve their clients better and save them money by negotiating or advocating objectively without emotion. They will search for resolution in their clients’ interest, not conflict for its own sake.
On the other hand, when there is clear animus between counsel, clients are far more likely to see their legal bills grow as they pay for the inability of their lawyers to communicate. The clients may be paying to fight someone else’s battle.
So find a lawyer who can “get along” while they advocate for you. He or she will always be your fearless advocate; it’s what we do. But how we do it can be the difference between a huge legal bill and a reasonable one.