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Golden Rules when representing yourself. Part 8B

Part 8B on…

THE GOLDEN RULES OF LITIGATION

Remember, success in litigation depends on three things: the facts, the law and the presentation; that is:

  1. how strong and reliable your evidence is to establish the facts;
  2. whether the law can be used in your favour;
  3. how clearly and coherently you present your case.

So with that in mind, here’s number 8B…

THE DOs

8. GET RID OF YOUR EMOTION

B. Dealing with it.

When you’re getting the claim, lawyer letters, applications, and affidavits…

The first rule is don’t panic.

The next rule is the same as the first. Calm down.

If you’ve started taking care of yourself as outlined in the previous post, then this will be easier to do.

In all things, there’s cause and effect.
Drop a pebble in a pond — CAUSE and you get ripples — EFFECT. Simple.

This has everything to do with you, because deep down, automatically or not, you choose to be cause or effect. When you feel: anger, under attack, guilt, grief, or apathy, you’re being affected by your ex’s cause. She is causing these in you, and again automatically or not, you are agreeing with it.

You don’t have to.

You really don’t.

Everything she writes, everything she says is done to manipulate you into reacting in ways that work for her in court and for her status among your family and friends. She is always the victim and you are always the evil one.

Here’s the lawyers point of view about all of this:

“There’s no point taking this claim personally. Really, it is just business. Whether it’s family law, an insurance claim, neighbourhood dispute or some other civil matter, it is just the business of people adjusting their legal entitlements against one another.”

“Being angry or upset about it isn’t productive. It will damage your ability to fight the claim systematically.”

So what to do?

First GO BACK AND DO THE STEPS IN “GETTING YOURSELF IN ORDER”. This really is that important. You will get your emotions under control by doing these steps.

Second if you’re feeling bad about things you’ve done, find a priest or a friendly neighbourhood bartender and ‘fess up. Priest is better legally; priest – penitent confidentiality. Hell write it all out in an email and send it to me and I’ll forgive you, your sins. Just get it off your chest in a way that can’t be dragged into court.

This means, by the way, DO NOT TALK TO PSYCHOLOGISTS, PSYCHIATRISTS OR YOUR GP ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. They can only help you if they give you a “diagnosis” as in mental illness diagnosis which will be recorded, which can and WILL be subpoenaed by your ex to prove you’re bat-shit crazy and dangerous and she needs sole parental responsibility, etc.

Join Dads in Distress or other group where they get together. Call Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978 (24 hours a day). Just make sure it’s all informal and no professional records are being kept.

Then decide that whatever is in the affidavits or whatever shaming language she uses to you or about you, is really just manipulative BS and don’t engage.

Simply disagree.

When you disagree, you become the cause side of things again. eg. Ex: “You’re a lousy husband and father. Your children hate you. You’re no good in bed. etc. etc. etc.” You: “I disagree.”

Indifference to all of it allows you to examine it for the lies, misdirections, half-truths and (legally) objectionable comments and tear them apart line by line, sentence by sentence and find the evidence to do so.

This is what will help you win in court. Positive emotions when discussing your children and their future, NO emotion when dealing with your ex, her lawyers or anyone else connected to her party.

So, this means:

At all times conduct yourself with civility to all and consideration to the non-combatants.

Lawyers like to think this helps maintain an environment of respect between the parties and also respect for the legal system that you’re using to resolve your dispute. It doesn’t, because they don’t. Sticking pins in you when nobody is looking is their favourite pastime.

Treat your opponent and their lawyer professionally and politely. Again indifference is key. High stakes poker face.

Very little is ever gained using hostility, and much can be achieved using tact. So don’t interrupt them while they’re speaking, don’t be provoked if they’re nasty, refer to them pleasantly, and consider their ideas carefully while at the same time pursuing your competing goal.

This professional approach can help your case in several ways.

It short-circuits attempts to get you off-guard and then anger, intimidate, manipulate or bulldoze you into a position you aren’t prepared for. And by not buying into trouble you avoid being sidetracked. It gets rid of unproductive emotion and keeps the hearing on track towards a workable outcome. It saves valuable hearing time.

Behaving well helps keep you focused. Why? Because being professional is being cause and that will have a big effect on your ex, and her lawyer and can sway the judge to listen to your arguments.

Rule two of our Fight Club, the McKenzie Friends Club: Be cause, not effect.

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