This Moment

by | Apr 7, 2016 | Legal Process

One of the worst things we can do is focus forward or look to the past. And what I mean by that is that all we have is the present moment, right now, what’s happening in front of us, and any glance askance in another direction will not only diffuse our focus, but create anxiety.

I see this all the times with clients.

It’s important for a client to be in the moment when they’re settling their case.

I was with a client recently, defending him in trial, post-divorce, to revisit the topics of spousal support and parenting time. He felt that he didn’t have great representation when he initially went through his divorce, so he came to me for post-judgment matters and we set about trying to see if we could change the details.

A lot of things came up. There’s a girlfriend, and he wanted to protect her privacy. There are children from the marriage, who see a therapist, and there are custody issues, and issues of privacy with what happens in the children’s therapy.

My client was so out of the moment – he didn’t want to involve the girlfriend, he didn’t want to call the therapist as a witness, he couldn’t focus on what was happening in the court room, at the table where we sat, with the issues facing him at that moment. His focus was elsewhere, all the time.

I understand the desire to protect, protect, protect. Be vigilant. Look out for the other person.

travel work
But what about the importance of looking out for yourself, too?

We so often get sucked into a mess involving other people that we can’t see what is right in front of us. We can’t identify what is best for us.

And when the parents are cared for, the children will ultimately be fine.

My client, in his initial divorce, agreed to less than a 50-50 split on the marital estate because he was protecting his girlfriend.

He didn’t want her presence to be a factor in the discussion, so he signed on the dotted line, and then regretted it for years. Which is why he came to me.

We were in and out of court since last April on a settlement agreement. What kept stopping us? Looking forward, and looking back.

Yes, we have to think about the long-term impact of our decisions today. But we can’t make decisions today about what might happen in the future. When you are clear and present in today, tomorrow looks pretty good.

Whether it’s property division, parenting time, custody, or spousal or child support, today is all we have. The details may change tomorrow and we can cross that bridge when we get there. But let’s focus on today. After all, it’s all we really have anyway.

Read more Legal Process posts

Women Leading in the Law

Women Leading in the Law

As we watch or listen to the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, I want to finish off Women’s History Month by paying homage to the powerful women who have led our nation’s legal thinking – and broken through previously thick ceilings to get there.