Before I became a grandma, I’d still tell people when they were divorcing to please think about their kids. I will not take cases where either parent is saying, “No, I don’t want the other parent to have any custody,” unless there is some reason, like alcoholism, violence, or a drug addiction. But, if either party is just being spiteful, I will absolutely not take their case just for the money. I’m not the right attorney for you because even California law believes that both parents are important in the child’s life. I definitely feel that way. I love seeing a father that wants to be a father. There is something magical about being in your child’s life, and I have a lot of clients that are thankful because I help them get custody.
Now that I am a grandmother, I realize how important it is to create a relationship with your grandkids. I have clients who come to me wanting to know what their rights are as grandparents after their child get a divorce. The courts look at the relationship forms between the grandparents and the child.
I get a lot of clients that want to talk to me about grandparent rights. There is influx in the law, but the biggest thing is as far as getting grandparent rights, you must have an established relationship with that child. It becomes so critical and important to shape that relationship from birth. It makes me more cognizant of it because I now have my own grandchild. I want to make sure that I have a relationship with this grandchild even during a pandemic! I’ve already talked to my daughter about weekly video chats and she agrees. I’m going to be reading books over the internet to this little girl when she’s capable of understanding and listening.
For me, the other part of it is, I tell clients all the time that children are the innocent victims in a divorce. Now that I have a grandchild, that means that everybody is part of this family. His parents and my daughter’s parents are all focused on wanting time with this grandchild. If something happened, and my daughter got divorced, I would always know I’d be able to see that child. But, if a dad doesn’t want to be a dad, then the other grandparents can have a difficult time seeing their grandchild. Now, if a couple split custody fifty-fifty, hopefully they would always be responsible adults about their divorce. That way, the child isn’t harmed, and the grandparents, aunts, and uncles aren’t harmed as well. That’s always the difficult part, as an attorney, I must think about all the things that most people don’t think about.
Compare Yourself, Your Personality, All Of The Crazy Hard Experiences, Roadblocks And Detours – Not Necessarily Bad Or Good – How All Of That Has Shaped You And Changed The Way You Practice Law? How Do You Relate To Your Clients? And What Experience Do You Provide Them?
As far as comparing my personality, I am not trying to pat myself on the back whatsoever. I have had many people tell me, “You don’t act like a normal attorney.” I’m like, “What does that mean?” But, I actually take that as a compliment because I think a lot of attorneys can be very arrogant. It’s almost like attorneys have their own language with how they talk above people.
I’ve never wanted to do that. That really annoys me when people do it to me. I always tell people, “I’m not smarter than you, I was able to get a four-year degree. I was lucky. Part of what I want to do is give you that knowledge and information that I learned because I want to help you.” My daughters call me a blue-collar attorney because I try to speak like a normal person. Let me explain. There are two different languages you can speak. I can talk to lawyers in what I call $10 words, but I can also talk to regular folks in $2 words. It is just like when we use different words to say the same thing. For example, you can be called a housewife or domestic engineer, there are different words for the same thing. That’s similar to the language in the law.
Lawyers talk in legal jargon. I want to break it down so that people understand what it means.
I think part of what also sets me apart is that I have all of these experiences. Many attorneys graduate college, go to law school, and graduate law school when they are between 28 and 31. They really haven’t lived. I don’t blame them. I think that’s a wonderful life not having all the roadblocks. But then, when you face the roadblocks and challenges, you don’t want to share that with your clients because you’re going through it yourself in “real time”. My experiences are all in the past and so that makes it easier to discuss with clients because I am on the “other side” of the experience. I have had time to evaluate and analyze what I learned from the experience.
I actually did a bankruptcy for an attorney who was going through some mental challenges and a divorce. She was having a tough time. She had never experienced this type of challenge before. She didn’t know which way to turn, and so, part of what I like to do is help. I say, “Here is an idea. I’m not telling you what to do. You’re making your own choice. I’m giving you a way out. I’m giving you a way up. You could do this or this. It’s not my choice, it’s yours. But I’m giving you the information so that you can make a decision.” So, I think it makes a difference because I can tell people what happened to me and how I dealt with it. It doesn’t mean you have to deal with it in the same way.