A document signed by a judge is something that must be obeyed.
Don’t Panic Just Because You Received a Letter From a Custody Lawyer
Shakespeare coined the phrase: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Yet, even William Shakespeare would stand in awe at the effect upon the written word when its signed by a lawyer. You will note that I described it as signed by a lawyer, not by a judge.
Certainly anyone can agree that a document signed by a judge is something that must be obeyed. That is because something signed by a judge is often an “Order.”
Whenever a person violates a court order they can be found in contempt and might get locked up
What might surprise you is how many people receive a letter or a document from a lawyer and turn into the proverbial Chicken Little. It is almost always a letter, that carries no more weight than a document signed by a grocery clerk.
People who are confident, intelligent, mature and self-assured individuals come into my office everyday with the demeanor of a snared rabbit. They are more often than not responding to what a lawyer has characterized as a “deadline” or dictate. Not a true order of a court .
As often as not, these people are nervous, or concerned, or even beside themselves over almost nothing. Now that deserves an explanation because obviously custody of your children is not “almost nothing.”
Custody and access with your children is for most of my clients the single most important thing in their life. Second only to their child’s safety or well being, which often in their minds goes hand in hand with custody issues.
What’s “almost nothing” is what they often holding their hand. A letter a proposed agreement or a lawyer Lee firm commitment to negotiate I’m talking about paperwork. More specifically I’m talking about quote agreements on quote.
Agreement letters from lawyers, letters regarding access and other correspondence are often legally without significance except to inform you of a starting point. It could be close to something you’d agree to , it could be what you already agree upon, except semantically different, or it could fall into the “oh hell no” category. In either event it’s not an order. It’s a proposal.
There are of course exceptions to the foregoing rule and I am by no means telling you to ignore correspondence from anyone, including a lawyer, when it is about your children. Also, please note I am talking about PROPOSED agreements, not ones you may have already signed.
I am saying that if you get a proposed agreement and the lawyer says “respond” within a prescribed period of time, don’t go bonkers until you have spoken to a lawyer about the significance of the correspondence.
The foregoing is ESPECIALLY true if what you have received is just a proposed version of an agreement. Trying to make someone agree to something is like pushing the rope it won’t get you anywhere and if you’re not careful it may get you tangled up or even hung.
Take the proposed agreement and proceed expeditiously, yet calmly, to a consultation with a qualified lawyer. If he/she tells you to panic you can do so:)
Tim Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place
OUR PHONES ARE ANSWERED 24/7
CALL US NOW AT 301-865-1101
The Custody Place
322 West Patrick Street, #201 FREDERICK MARYLAND 21701