So who among us doesn't like a cold, refreshing glass of Kool-Aide? Right? It's the best.
The problem is it isn't good for you!
So what does Kool-Aide have to do with family law?
When I say “Don't Drink the Kool-Aide” I really mean: “Don't try to convince your lawyer that you are Mother Teresa or Gandhi.” Mother Teresa and Gandhi were one of a kind.
You will do your case more harm than good if you start believing that you are perfect or holier than thou. You aren't. Admit your faults; own up to them in every sense of the word and vow to do better. That's what us humans do when we try to do good. We recognize our flaws and faults and work on improving ourselves because we understand and appreciate we are not perfect. That's what you should do too.
Recognize your mistakes—no matter how big or small—and work on doing better next time. Be prepared to acknowledge the error of your ways in court. Denying them or pretending they don't exist will only frustrate and upset your judge (and we never want to do that).
After you hire a lawyer and begin preparing your case, it's easy to start looking at the facts through rose-colored glasses. Naturally, you want to focus on all of the good things you have done to show that you are the more deserving party in the case. After awhile you may even start thinking that you will get 100% of what you want at trial.
The problem is, in the real world, there are always two or more versions of the facts. If you drink the Kool-Aide and your lawyer does the same, you will be wasting precious time in your case preparations when you could be focused on addressing the concerns about your behavior that your spouse is going to raise at trial.
Remember that the best offense is often a good defense. You should exhaustively recall any and all “secrets,” “vulnerabilities,” “prior misconduct,” and anything else that is likely to come back to haunt you when the spouse you confided in while married is now sitting across the aisle form you at trial. Trust me, there wont be any “secrets” left once the case begins. Everything you have ever said and done will be front and center in your case.
So make sure you share everything with your lawyer—from the little white lies to your most embarrassing and offensive conduct that could surface at trial. Don't hold anything back. If you don't tell your lawyer, you won't be able to address how Tell it all so your lawyer can help you put your conduct in the proper context.
And above all, be honest with yourself, your lawyer and the judge. Don't pretend that you are father or mother of the year or spent the better part of twenty years selflessly slaving away for your spouse. Take full account of who you are and the mistakes you've made and be prepared to articulate those self-reflective lessons to the court.
In the end, your credibility with the court depends on you presenting yourself in an honest light. So set aside the Kool-Aide and be real. Your case depends upon it.