Strategy from the Captain

December 24, 2008

Captain JohnStrategy before a divorce filing and the days, weeks and months following that filing is beyond critical. It should be the foundation of the case, along with having the right lawyer, whether a sole practitioner, a small firm or one of the major mega firms. Oh please, I can hear it all now, “hes no lawyer,” “what does he know”…you know what, I am convinced that I know more than many lawyers when it comes to strategizing. Nazarian and Associates has been in the trenches for 18 years and I know the players in the LA area, including most of the judges. No Law Degree some will say, very true, but I do have a masters in bullshit detection and a doctorate in survival, and I promise I will guide you through all the steps. Remember an old Nazarianism: playing fair will get your ass handed to you! Hmm, picture that over a glass of nice wine.

Nazarian and Associates will begin officially to offer services in strategizing your divorce in 2009. It has become painfully obvious to me and my team that many people — including some of my own clients — are getting beat up by this process. Getting beaten up is something that I am very sensitive to when I see it coming. However, when I have been retained by a firm to assist with security or investigations, it is not my place to give advice as to what should happen or what is happening in terms of the family law process and court system. I have to be careful what I say as to seeing and knowing what is coming. The solution is for the client to retain us for providing strategy, so that we can give advice to the client as well as to the lawyers. This will actually go hand in hand with the entire program of a divorce.

It is not easy for anyone about to go through this gauntlet, with their life hanging in the balance, and not sure what is about to happen. Let me help you: it is all going to be bad, terrible…this is going to be worse than losing a loved one. Please believe me that being nice and fair will not work out well for you. This is a war! And you need a captain at the helm of the S.S. Divorce who can see the rocks and the icebergs and pirates and cannon-fire ahead and steer you clear of them.

Why would any lawyer allow the other side in a divorce to get an upper hand? It is tough for me to understand how any lawyer can just go forward without knowing the weak points of the other side, otherwise known as the Achilles heel. For instance knowing things about the personalities of people who don’t want to talk about their personal lives. One very good example was Oscar De La Hoya — he did not care what it cost him, he was not going to be testifying in any court, and in the end he did not. He did the honorable thing and paid a fat sum to the mother of his daughter and pays for his child support of his daughter. I can imagine people like judicial officers, politicians and celebrities as well as other high profile people who don’t want to publicly air their private lives…think about it! Then you find the debauched rock star who “reinvents” his life, and through some clever lawyering sells it hook line and sinker to the court. This guy and his lawyers have done a great job but it’s a con…who can change the direction of this ship when it has no rudder and is sailing into the rocks? Me! That is who is going to gain control and go full steam in reverse.

Knowing when to attack and when to back off is a talent often missed. If things are going reasonably well why be a jerk?! Hey, fast quarters are better than slow dollars. When the other side is being difficult, you too should be even more so. The bottom line is that a divorce is like fighting a war, you have generals, and captains and soldiers. You will win some battles and you may also lose a few. As long as you understand why you lost, that is very critical. And taking the appropriate position to not make the same mistake over and over again. Not all the time is it the fault of your lawyer, sometimes the judge may just not like you. Maybe you dress like a hooker or you just don’t have the proper speaking tone or courtroom behavior. We can even fix this! First impressions are lasting in court and how you dress and address the judge is important. The initial stages in court in front of the judge are critically important…you had better get a read on the situation real fast or you will be fighting an uphill battle of trying to regain credibility, and that can be tough. Again, do some research on the judge, go to court and spend some time watching how other people in similar positions are either hanging themselves in his or her courtroom or are making headway. Also, watch and see what pleases the judge and what their positions are on certain subjects. You might learn to rethink your position or change in a way that will give you more credibility with this judge. I have spent many hours in these very courtrooms and have learned the nuances of certain judges — priceless knowledge.

My point here is this, too many people don’t plan a strategy and do not pay attention to fees piling up, and then are pissed when suddenly they have spent $50,000 or more in legal fees and still have nothing much to show for it. If you are feeling beat up…chances are you are. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating being cheap or looking for free services. All I am saying is planning a strategy is money and time well spent.

Nazarian and Associates will be marketing this service in the months to come…I have to say it, it is a brilliant idea. This service is not for everyone; it is for high net value clients who want to come through the other end of the gauntlet with that high net value intact, and more. But you can be sure I will continue to share many ideas here at that will be helpful to ANYONE on the stormy seas of divorce.

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