By Melissa Gautier
The dissolution of a marriage is an emotionally charged situation. Distress, worry, and panic can take over as you wonder how your life will look after a divorce. Former District Court Judge Vicki Pinak handles even the most difficult and high-profile cases with ease and professionalism. Her combined 30 years of experience as a family law litigator, mediator, arbitrator, and district judge provides her clients with advantageous insight into how a case may be perceived from the bench.
Considering Divorce – Can Your Marriage Be Saved?
Most potential clients don’t know where to start when considering divorce. A phone call to a reputable family law attorney is the first step. Unlike many lawyers, Vicki and her team offer a complimentary initial telephone consultation to potential clients. “It’s a service to our community and a chance to educate them on issues that are sometimes frightening and overwhelming,” she says.
Vicki carefully listens to potential clients while discerning their underlying emotions. “Many potential clients aren’t sure if they want to file for divorce,” she says. “My advice is never to file unless you are 100 percent certain you want a divorce because if you change your mind, the hurt and anger from your spouse may take years to repair. I would much rather save a marriage by encouraging a party to wait until they are absolutely sure.”
While it may be unusual for a family law attorney to discourage divorce, Vicki believes there is nothing wrong with providing direction to individuals who feel lost. “I remind any potential client that they never want to look back in two years and say, ‘What would have happened if I had waited or tried harder?’”
The Best Approach
Vicki provides assistance during a consultation by developing a step-by-step plan beginning with options relating to when and where a spouse is served the petition. “Quite often, it is how one handles the beginning of the proceeding that sets the direction of the entire case.” She cautions embarrassing a spouse by serving a petition at work. This leads to heightened emotional turmoil and an angry opposing spouse wanting to fight on every issue, or worse, leading to rage and revenge. This results in escalating attorney fees on both sides – wasted money for the time spent arguing and fighting that could have gone toward their estate’s total monetary value and eventual settlement.
“The best approach to a Fort Bend County divorce is a simple petition requesting a no-fault divorce,” Vicki explains. “Since the petition is a public document filed in the courts, we don’t want children or other family members seeing either party’s accusations of unfavorable behavior.” She encourages a “nice divorce,” striving to keep excess fees to a minimum while standing her ground and tenaciously defending specific matters. “However, if a spouse starts hiding assets, causing emotional turmoil, or a custody dispute arises, the pleading is amended, and we take control of each issue.”
Vicki believes each case should go to mediation as soon as possible. More than 90% of cases are settled during this process. Designed to be similar to a business negotiation, each party and their attorney are in separate conference rooms while the go-between mediator works toward a settlement to which both parties can agree.” The current pandemic has dictated mediations now be attended by Zoom for everyone’s health and safety.
Vicki earned her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, beginning her career with the legendary attorney, Tom Alexander. While working with Tom, she handled extremely complex litigation matters for local celebrities and major corporations. Before law school, Vicki was involved in developing and implementing the first infant stimulation program through the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority and worked with MD Anderson Hospital in cancer research protocols for chemotherapy drugs. She is a panel member for the American Arbitration Association, concentrating on commercial, construction, and employment arbitration.
Getting Control Back in Your Life
At The Pinak Law Firm, Vicki Pinak provides legal advice, legal services, and representation to residents throughout Fort Bend County in a wide range of family law matters, including:
- Divorce Planning and Procedure
- Support and Spousal Maintenance
- Discovery of Hidden Assets
- Child Custody and Child Support
- Moral Indiscretions
12440 Emily Court, Suite 604
Sugar Land, Texas 77478