Saturday, April 7, 2012
Why You Shouldn't Be a Jerk!
Some people just can't help it. They are jerks. I prefer to think that anyone and everyone can behave well if they choose to. For some, it takes a lot of concentration, and then some occasional backtracking to undo an initially rude or inappropriate reaction. I believe that almost everyone can act right, if encouraged and reminded, and if they understand it is in their own best interest.
In general, everyone will need a favor, such as getting a hearing reset, an agreement to allow more time to respond to something, leniency or the benefit of the doubt. Jerks don't often get the favors.
Here are some specific ways being a jerk can affect you in the legal system.
1. You may face stronger opposition from the other side. They are less understanding or forgiving. If you (figuratively) slap them in the face, they probably won't turn the other cheek in litigation. Mad people fight back!
2. The Judge won't like you. The Judge is bound to follow the law, but he/she is not a robot. There will always be matters, especially in Family Law, where the Judge is allowed a wide range of discretion to decide outcomes. You need the Judge to like you when he/she is deciding property division, allocation of bills, support, visitation and other issues. Like it or not, most legal decisions are not precise applications of the law which produce mechanical results. Most decisions are discretionary. You don't need to fight the Judge.
3. Other important officials who don't wear robes may not like you. Humans fill the roles of court clerks, court coordinators, bailiffs, child support office workers, employees of the Domestic Relations Office and employees of the Texas Attorney General's Office. You may not ever think about some of them, but they see, know and talk about you (that's not just paranoia) and they can influence how easy or how difficult your life is in the future. You are better off if they don't remember you, because they normally just remember the "problems".
4. Your own attorney may not stick around. Most attorneys are busy. Very few want to waste time and put up with aggravation from a difficult client.
5. It will be harder to find witnesses and allies willing to help you out. Forcing someone to come to court and testify is usually a bad idea. Yous want voluntary witnesses. You want people coming forward and wanting to help you out. An ungrateful, vindictive, mean person usually has a hard time getting help from others.