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Aggressive Isn't Always Best

Is it best to choose the most aggressive divorce attorney?

Choosing an attorney is often the first and the most important decision individuals make during the Georgia divorce process. Many believe selecting the most aggressive divorce attorney will be beneficial because aggressive attorneys are thought to fight harder on their clients behalf, and thus be more successful litigating the divorce matter. The truth is, the role of an effective and successful divorce attorney not only includes being a zealous advocate on behalf of his or her clients, but also involves being a reasonable and responsible counselor and providing clients the best advice based on research and experience. Below is a list of several reasons why selecting the most aggressive divorce attorney is not always the best choice, and may ultimately cause more harm than good.

  • Overly aggressive divorce attorneys do not always have the best relationship with their fellow attorneys. Initially this may not seem unimportant, but divorce attorneys are the agents litigants use to prosecute and ultimately resolve the case. If one divorce attorney has a reputation in the legal community of being difficult to work with, other attorneys may take legal tactics to make the case more difficult and contentious or may be hesitant to make a settlement offer due to the attorneys reputation.  
  • Overly aggressive divorce attorneys may be negatively thought of by judges and court staff. Judges are people too. If an attorney has a reputation of being unnecessarily aggressive or frivolously litigious, judges and court staff may respond more adversely to requests made by that attorney.
  • Aggressive divorce attorneys are less likely to compromise. Compromise is key during divorce proceedings, because it is impossible for both parties to walk away with full custody, child support, alimony, the marital residence and all the marital property. If an attorney is not willing to compromise, even when it is the best outcome for his or her client, it will ultimately be harder to settle the case.
  • Overly aggressive attorneys tend to take outrageous or unwinnable positions on cases. When a divorce attorney takes an unwinnable position on a case, that attorney loses credibility with the court and alienates the other party and his or her attorney. This negatively effects the client by reducing the chances for settlement, and ultimately disappoints the client when the outcome at trial is not as expected.
  • Overly aggressive divorce attorneys do not provide clients with realistic case assessments. One primary role of divorce attorneys is, after reviewing the facts and circumstances of a case, to provide his or her client with a realistic case assessment. This way the client has a general idea of what to expect going forward. When aggressive attorneys fail to provide their clients with realistic case assessments, the client is ultimately disappointed when the matter does not proceed as the attorney has predicted.
  • Aggressive attorneys often inflate client expectations and promise results that are not feasible or realistic. Similar to the two reasons listed immediately above, when an aggressive divorce attorney promises a client an unrealistic result, the client may rebuff reasonable settlement offers with the expectation that he or she is entitled to a better offer only to be disappointed at trial.
  • Aggressive attorneys makes it harder for parties to communicate and compromise post-divorce. Overly aggressive divorce attorneys often add the tension already present during divorce litigation. This added tension or hostility often irreparably damages the relationship between the two parties causing them to have difficulty communicating or co-parenting post-divorce.
  • Unnecessarily aggressive attorneys cause overall divorce costs to increase. Divorce costs increase exponentially when litigation is unnecessarily extended or expanded. It is not uncommon for overly aggressive divorce attorneys to take legal positions or have legal tactics that increase the scope of litigation and increase the time it takes to either settle the divorce matter to proceed to a final hearing in the matter. When a divorce matter is expanded in this way, attorney’s fees increase, and they may be compounded by fees associated with other divorce experts as well.