What Do You Want?

If you want to save time, money, and heartache, there is one simple thing you can do before ever talking to a lawyer. All you have to do is answer this one question: What do you want? 

This one thing, while simple, is probably the hardest part for most people who approach me for legal help. You are so caught up in what is going on that you may not have had a chance to actually think about what you want. Or, you may be so dizzy with legal terms that you don’t even understand what’s what anymore. 

You would not be the first one to sit down with a lawyer thinking, “Isn’t my goal pretty obvious?” Many lawyers will take your problems, assume they know how to solve them, and tell you what to do. And their plans are usually legally sound and make perfect professional sense. 

But here’s the problem: How does that lawyer know how to coach you if they do not know what you want? It would be like someone sitting in the passenger seat, giving you turn-by-turn directions, without actually knowing where you want to go. When you arrive at the lawyer’s final destination, you may be nowhere near where you actually want to be. 

Filing several motions with the court and setting immediate hearings is great if you need formal court orders, but it is not a great strategy if you want a quick and peaceful resolution. 

If your goal is to save money, why would I recommend a course of action that will cost you more than you could possibly win? 

When your goal is to achieve safety and stability for yourself and your kids, I cannot in good faith recommend you do anything to potentially jeopardize your parenting time. 

Most importantly, when there is a hard decision to make, I will not make that decision for you. You and I will have the detailed conversations, we’ll work through all the options, and we’ll talk about potential consequences. In the end, however, your life is yours, and you are your own best advocate

The truth is, no two people have ever come into my office with the same goal. Every step of your case should be tailored uniquely to you. So, in my office, I always start off with this simple but hard question: What do you want? 

I’ll rephrase it for you in case one of these questions resonates better: 

What is your goal? 

What do you want to accomplish?

What dream do you want to achieve?

What huge problem are you carting around right now that you want to resolve? 

When you are on the other side of this legal situation, what do you want your life to look like? 

Before starting any legal process, take some time and really think about your goals. Then, share those goals with your lawyer. Make sure they know your goals for your conversation and for your life overall. When you talk, ask them if they can guide you towards success on your terms. 

As your lawyer friend, I’ll tell you right now – if you cannot answer this question, then I cannot help you. But if you need help taking your head full of thoughts and really figuring it out, then by all means, give me a call. 

Here’s a hint: Do not think in legal terms.  

When determining your goal, think in terms of what you want your life to be. For example, your goal should not be “to get sole custody of my kids” or “to get alimony.” Instead, focus on the real larger desires behind those ideas, like “to keep my kids safe from neglect” or “to have enough money to support my lifestyle.”  

You focus on the dream, then we’ll work together to figure out how you can make it happen. 


Need to talk with a lawyer friend about your legal situation and your long-term goals? Click here to schedule a no-cost phone chat with me so we can hash it all out.