Litigation Support for Attorneys
Developing and Implementing Custody Litigation Strategies
Custody cases are challenging. Issues such as substance abuse, psychological disorders, special needs and domestic abuse can complicate things and be difficult to overcome. Damage control may be necessary, especially if the Guardian ad Litem seems biased, or is otherwise performing an inadequate job. Then, there’s the nagging and unsettling feeling of uncertainty due to the discretionary nature of custody cases, and the never ending “what-ifs” that keep family law attorneys awake at night. Add to the mix emotionally charged, manipulative and out-of-control clients or opposing parties, and overly litigious and argumentative opposing counsel. The day-to-day developments in custody cases, especially high conflict ones, inevitably distract from your other cases, and from time with the family, or at the gym.
My mission is to help attorneys through these challenges. The saying “two heads are better than one” has real merit when it comes to developing and implementing a custody trial strategy. By combining forces, ideas hatch and develop, and case theories are enhanced and broadened. The end result is a roadmap that will enable you to effectively and efficiently present a case that will be understood and appreciated by the Guardian ad Litem and the Judge.
Having served as a Guardian ad Litem representing the best interests of children for almost 30 years, and having testified in court close to 100 times, I know what the Guardian ad Litem and the Judge are looking for in custody cases. I also know where to look for the custody puzzle pieces, and the best way to put them together. I use my years of experience and resources to provide the highest quality support and assistance to attorneys to build and present strong custody cases.
- Independent Custody Assessments. Read More
- Identify key issues and assist with developing strategic angles to optimally present and/or defend those issues.
- Identify and interview key witnesses, and draft direct and cross-examinations of the Guardian ad Litem, the parties and other expert and lay witnesses.
- Damage control. For example, minimizing/reversing the effects of a bad Guardian ad Litem report and recommendation, or turning other negatives into positives.
- Sift through discovery, e-mails, etc. to find the golden nuggets.
- Address cultural, language, special needs and other unique issues that may impact the custody case.
- Work with court-appointed Guardians ad Litem and custody evaluators.
- Gather evidence and prepare exhibits in preparation for depositions or trial.
- Suggest settlement options that best serve the circumstances.
- Second chair at hearings and trials.
As a Custody Litigation Consultant, I am an added tool to your litigation toolbox that enhances your client’s custody case. An independent custody assessment consult with you and your client may reassure a fearful or doubting client, and validate your approach to the case. Strategic planning sessions, especially in damage control situations, may spark a new angle that has not yet occurred to you. Think about it. We get second opinions from specialists when the doctor tells us something that rocks us to the core. And, then we build the best team of doctors possible to bring us back to health. Your client’s custody case is no different.
Your time is valuable. And, the sensitive issues involved in custody cases are stressful for everybody, especially in high-conflict cases with unruly parties and unreasonable opposing counsel. We’ve all been there! You make the best of your time, and you create a healthy balance in your life, by building a good litigation team to support you and your clients.
The American Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia have long recognized the benefits of outsourcing. See, for example, Advisory Opinion 22 and Formal Advisory Opinion 05-09. Of course, the buck stops with the outsourcing attorney. Thus, as a member of your litigation team, I work closely with you, under your direction and with your approval, to further the client’s litigation goals in the most effective and cost efficient manner possible. Communications and work are protected by attorney-client confidentiality, and the work-product doctrine.
Outsourcing to a 29 year veteran of custody litigation assures that your client gets the individualized service that he/she deserves, while you focus on other aspects of the case, and on other cases and opportunities, including time off with the family. This is true whether you are a solo practitioner, or a member of a law firm with other attorneys who work on your cases. And, custody litigation services are cost effective for both you, and your client.
- Independent and objective reality checks, fresh perspectives and validation on difficult issues.
- Creative, yet sensible, practical and strategic insight and solutions.
- All work is done under the attorney’s authority to further the client’s litigation goals in the most effective and cost efficient manner possible. Communications and work are protected by attorney-client confidentiality, and the work-product doctrine.
- Always child focused, with a comprehensive awareness of children’s needs and developmental milestones relative to custody and visitation.
- Years of knowledge and understanding of the factors affecting judges’ determinations, and how they have handled various issues in the past.
- Attention to the smaller, but emotionally-fraught details that are important to the client.
- Divide and conquer. Allows the attorney to focus on those aspects of the case that they do best and enjoy the most. Relieves the attorney of stress resultant from difficult custody cases, busy schedules and juggling heavy caseloads.