What you SHOULD be doing
No matter the type of case or if you think it’s “uncontested.”
Get a journal. Write down Dates, times, texts, emails, pictures, whatever happened, who said what and when.
Do not email your attorney and/or paralegal the facts, incidents, or journal until we ask for the information. You should bring it to your preparation appointment.
Your job as a client is to provide the facts and ammunition, the evidence, that our attorneys need to win your case.
Matters routinely take months to get to court. Your memory will fail you. I promise. You’ll be frustrated at yourself and at us! Take the little bit of time to document contemporaneously with events and you’ll be ever so grateful if we need it for a contested hearing.
It is a far better situation to be in to have a detailed journal and settle your case, than it is to be preparing for a hotly contested final trial and you can’t remember specific details of the incidents that support your position.
Keep it organized and in chronological order. Document who came on what days. When did you have the kids? When did you agree to accommodate the other parent’s schedule when you didn’t legally have to do that?
These things matter. It is often impossible to know what we will need to prepare at the beginning of your case, because cases develop and change over time, so write down and document everything and the attorneys will decide what is most important and what should be used and what shouldn’t be used.
You should make every decision based on what the judge or jury is going to think when they hear your explanation of why you did this or that. If custody is at issue, you should make every decision based on the true best interest of your children, not revenge or tit for tat with the other parent.
Is it good for little Johnny to see dad cheering him on at his tball game? YES. Is it good for little Johnny to see dad at his tball game even though dad has not paid child support in months and is working under the table, so he doesn’t have to in the future? YES.
Parenting decisions are not legal decisions. Even in a custody battle, your attorney cannot determine your parenting strategies. Simply make the best decision you can, from the perspective of what’s best for your children only – and be prepared to defend every decision you make to a judge.
What you should NOT be doing
You should not post on social media at all.
If you must post on social media, then you should post nothing about the case. Ever. No exceptions.
You should consider all posts in the light least favorable to you – what would someone who doesn’t know you think about your post? Your meme share? Is it funny? Probably. Could it be construed as homophobic? Racist? Sexist? In poor taste or in bad judgment? Probably. Don’t post it.
Is it alcohol related? Don’t post. Is it school yard drama? Don’t post.
You are under a microscope. Everything you do or say or post can be taken out of context and used against you.
Do not talk to anyone about your case.
Do not engage in romantic relationships if you are in a custody battle. Do not have overnight guests.
Do not party, drink or ingest any drugs that are not specifically prescribed to you.
Do not get arrested.
Be the most boring homebody possible.