Observations of a Divorce Lawyer after 38 Years of Practice

04.17.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

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I did not plan to be a family law attorney. Now, after 38 years of focusing my practice in family law, I am not sure I could have done anything else. I started my legal career at a small firm in Anoka. No one at the time wanted to do family law. Being the newest attorney, I was given all the divorce work.

As family law attorneys, we work with clients who may be at the lowest point in their life. Our clients can be afraid, angry, stressed, concerned, frustrated, overwhelmed, vengeful, happy and relieved; and, their outlook may change daily. We are impacted and sensitive to the emotional circumstances of our clients and their children. However, most family law attorneys are not therapists, and our job as attorneys is to represent the client. It is the attorney’s responsibility to tell the client what they need to hear, not what they want to hear – it is to counsel, share the law and use our experience.

It is critical to listen and hear the client. Listening means giving the client the time to tell their story, ask and answer questions and share the details. Hearing what your client has to say is even more important and, takes practice and patience. What do you say to a client that has just opened their heart and soul to you, shared their concerns and fears, and now needs a family law attorney? You say: “I hear you and with 38 years of experience I can help you.” The most important case I have is the file I am working on at that moment, and the client should know it.

The client has a significant role in the attorney-client relationship. For the attorney to be effective and efficient, the client must timely share the information and documents we need. I insist that my clients are honest, respectful and behave. I understand the client is the boss; however, the clients MUST listen to the attorney, and not the other party or, worse yet, partially informed friends and family.

Do not involve your kids. Sometimes our representation involves protecting children. These cases are difficult and important. However, if the case is really about the parents, including children in the process or making them the issue is unfortunate. Fighting over kids for a relatively short period of time before they become of legal age, can have a dramatic impact on them and can affect your relationship for the rest your lives. This applies to adult children as well. Adult children should not be your friend when getting divorced.

Be an advocate for your client. This means zealously representing them. It means being prepared and having your client prepared. It means, if possible, seeking an appropriate, timely and efficient resolution. It means not getting in the way of the parties coming to an agreement. It means, if necessary going to trial.

Sometimes nice guys finish last. When we litigate, there are winners and losers; sometimes there are two losers. The cost of a prolonged divorce involves more than a ridiculous amount of attorney’s fees and expert costs. A lengthy divorce takes a toll on your emotions and health. With no-fault divorce you are not going to get even or feel vindicated at the end of the process. The parties, attorneys and the courts should all be working toward an appropriate settlement. As a Judge recently told a colleague, “Good family law attorneys settle cases.”

I have said to my clients a million times “Nobody on this earth is going to take care of you like you can take care of yourself.” The best way to get a good result and timely end to your divorce or family court proceeding, is to pay attention, cooperate and be reasonable.

At Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., we have experienced and compassionate family law attorneys. Jeff Berg is a Shareholder, the Chair of the firm’s Family Law Department, has repeatedly been selected as a Super Lawyer® and is AV® rated.  If you have questions about divorce or any other family matter, please contact our office to set up a consultation.

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2018 Super Lawyers Press Release

07.13.2018 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce the firm’s 2018 Minnesota Super Lawyers and 2018 Rising Stars honorees. It is with great pride that select attorneys from the firm have been recognized by their peers for outstanding work in their primary practice area.

The Super Lawyers listing is an annual honor presented to outstanding lawyers from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., from over 70 practice areas. Lawyers are selected using a patented process that rates the lawyers based on peer nominations and evaluations, along with research that has been performed independently. The list of honorees is published in Super Lawyers Magazine.

The Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. Minnesota Super Lawyers Honorees:

Steven M. Graffunder a shareholder in the firm and is the chair of the firm’s Real Estate Department. Steve practices primarily in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, construction law, mechanic’s liens, and banking law. Primary Practice Area: Banking

Mark V. Steffenson, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., focuses his practice on representing clients in business and commercial litigation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

Jeffrey A. Berg, a shareholder and Chair of the Family Law practice group at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., concentrates on helping individuals and families overcome situations of divorce or legal separation with their best interests in mind. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Craig T. Dokken, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd, practices law in the areas of Construction Law and Litigation, Banking and Mediation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

Kristin Kingsbury has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts. She excels in implementing efficient dispute resolution techniques on behalf of her clients. As a former Rising Star Honoree, this is Kristin’s first time being selected as a Super Lawyer.
Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

2018 Rising Stars Honoree:

Tifanne Wolter has practiced law for more than 15 years, concentrating her practice in family law for the last decade assisting a wide array of clients with divorce, custody, paternity, child support, third party custody, parenting time, and domestic abuse matters. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Located in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. has served individuals and businesses throughout Minnesota for 36 years. The full-service law firm provides legal representation to clients throughout the Twin Cities and communities in the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey, Wright, Anoka and Sherburne.

For more information, visit www.hennsnoxlaw.com or call (763) 560-5700.

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Super Lawyers Press Release

07.07.2017 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce the firm’s 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers and 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars honorees. It is with great pride that select attorneys from the law firm have been recognized by their peers for outstanding work in their primary area of law.

The Super Lawyers listing is an annual honor presented to outstanding lawyers from all 50 states and Washington, D.C, from over 70 practice areas. Lawyers are selected using a patented process that rates lawyers based on peer nominations and evaluations, along with research that has been performed independently. The list of honorees is published in Super Lawyers Magazine and online at superlawyers.com.

The Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. Minnesota Super Lawyers honorees

Steve M. Graffunder, a shareholder in Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. and Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Department, practices primarily in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, construction law, mechanic’s liens, and banking law. Primary Practice Area: Banking

Mark V. Steffenson, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., focuses his practice on representing clients in business and commercial litigation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

Jeffrey A. Berg, a shareholder and Chair of the Family Law practice group at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., concentrates on helping individuals and families overcome situations of divorce or legal separation with their best interests in mind. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Craig T. Dokken, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd, practices law in the areas of Construction Law and Litigation, Banking and Mediation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

2017 Minnesota Rising Stars honoree

Tifanne Wolter has practiced law for more than 14 years, concentrating her practice in family law for the last decade assisting a wide array of clients with divorce, custody, paternity, child support, third party custody, parenting time, and domestic abuse matters. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Located in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. has served individuals and businesses throughout Minnesota for 36 years. The full-service law firm provides legal representation to clients throughout the Twin Cities and communities in the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey, Wright, Anoka and Sherburne.

For more information, visit www.hennsnoxlaw.com or call (763) 560-5700.

Read More