Seasoned Trial Lawyers in Oklahoma and Arkansas

  1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Child Custody
  4.  | How We Start A Case
We are the only family law firm in our region that uses Litify and its next-generation, powerful document-generation component Docrio


Our mission is to educate and inform clients from the beginning of the intake process throughout our representation. We offer transparency about how we bill and about what you can do to enhance efficiency and reduce your costs. You will not receive information like this from another law firm in our region for several reasons:

  1. Most law firms are not willing to share information with clients and potential clients like we do, and
  2. Most lawyers have never even thought about their process or had adequate trial skills training to develop a strategy designed to optimize case resolution.

Our litigation strategy begins with 5 parts.

Virtually all attorneys know how to do part 1. It’s the only thing we all learned in law school:

⓵ Write the court documents (petition or motion) to begin your case 👩🏻‍💻

Anyone can do that. What most attorneys skip or delay (because they may not understand) are the remaining steps…

⓶ Put together a packet of your evidence 📑

This often includes text messages 📱 photos 🤳 income verification 📑and other information that supports your case. Our clients receive an Evidence List 📋  as a starting point to think about the information that may be accessible and useful for each case. Why do we do this? It is a show of strength: it shows that you have actual evidence supporting your case. It helps reduce your costs in discovery because many times, the other side will reduce their discovery requests to you — or not even issue discovery to you at all — since we already sent them your evidence for the case. We have a separate article for you about why we make disclosures and how to send us the information we need.

Ask around. No one other than us does step 2. They don’t even understand the value of gathering and disclosing evidence at the onset of a case. And they make a lot of money stirring up disputes about discovery and information exchange — disputes that add no value to your case.

⓷ Write discovery requests to the other side 🧑🏻‍💻

Discovery requests are formal questions to the opposing party that they must answer under oath as if they are answering from the witness stand in court. In most cases, your discovery requests will ask the other side to admit important, baseline facts about the case. The discovery requests may ask them to refer to the evidence packet from part 2 ⬆️ and admit that your evidence is legitimate, or genuine. Click here to read about the discovery process.

No one knows how to connect parts 2 and 3 like us. We have taught our techniques at advanced programs for lawyers. Most lawyers wait weeks or months to issue discovery, and when they finally send it, they use boilerplate forms that are not specifically written for the case at hand (your case)They miss valuable opportunities for you because they don’t fully understand the relationship between discovery tools and your evidence.

⓸ Write proposed orders in advance 👩🏼‍⚖️

Preparing the order containing your proposed outcome in advance, at the same time that your initiating documents are being written, helps us collectively think about the results we want, and it can save you fees in the long run (more on that below). We have a competitive advantage when preparing documents thanks to Docrio, our powerful document-generation system. We can create an entire packet of case-specific forms in mere seconds that would take other lawyers hours if not days.

When we go to mediation, we bring a laptop. We even have a portable printer 🖨️ that we can take with us to remote settings or the courthouse. That way, if an agreement is reached, we can write it (which generally means editing a draft we’ve already prepared), print it, and sign it right there.

No one else does this.

⓹ Draft a nice cover letter ✉️ directed to the other side that refers to parts 1 – 4

Your opposing party (or their attorney) will be served with all 5 parts. The letter will ask them to review the enclosed documents, parts 1 – 4. It will propose to them the option of signing off on the proposed order, which will completely resolve all the issues in the case. Alternatively, they will be required to respond to the discovery requests within 30 days of receiving them, and the litigation process will be started. In other words, they will have options, and one of the options is a settlement that saves everyone a bunch of money in attorney fees. The other option is for them to start reviewing your evidence and working on responding to some really pointed discovery requests. Many times, we will include proposed mediation dates in the cover letter to give them a third option — work on their discovery responses and meet us at a negotiation table with a qualified mediator.

Working up your legal claim this way will put you months ahead of the typical litigation timeline.

How Others Do It 

No one else does it the way we do it. Our competitors start the process by merely filing a petition or a motion and serving the other side.

Then they wait—nothing. After a few weeks—or months—they may send discovery requests to the other side.

Another month or two, three, or four, go by before the discovery responses are produced. Each side may perform some follow-up discovery, then there will be a “status conference” with the judge, where — months or even a year after we would have already completed mediation — mediation will be ordered by the judge. The lawyers will nod solemnly as if this is normal because they always wait until the last minute to schedule a mediation, and none of them will tell you that all of this could have been done already without the delay and expense of going to court to be ordered to do what they both know should have already been done.

It doesn’t end there. If the case settles at mediation, then, for the first time, one or both sides will start thinking about what the decree or final order will look like. This means even more delay, and it increases the likelihood that one or both sides will try to change the deal and even renege on the agreement because the mediation “agreement” they obtained for you is just a few notes scratched on a single sheet of paper.

If the case does not settle at mediation, they will then start thinking about trial for the first time, which means they will restart the process with more discovery and arguments about evidence 🟰 more delay and expense for you.

Their timeline triples or quadruples the duration of a case that could have taken 4 months or less.

And they will tell you that’s the only way to do it.

This is why some cases stall for years.

Our process is the product of experience and advanced training. Our process shrinks the litigation timeline and organizes each stage to prepare you to move progressively through the next stage of the case. At the very beginning of our process, you will have 1. filed and served your petition, 2. made a settlement offer, 3. disclosed your evidence, and 4. requested the other side’s evidence. You may be ready for mediation as quickly as six weeks after filing your petition. And when you get to mediation, you will already have a draft of your final order to work off of, so if you settle at mediation, you can edit the order right there and get everyone to sign it, reducing the ability of the other side to back out of the deal. Our clients leave successful mediations with signed orders. No one else does this.

Preparing your case in advance, before you even file your motion, reduces the overall length of the case and saves you substantial time and attorney fees. In many cases, our process can mitigate your exposure to paying the other side’s attorney fees and even enhance your possible claim for attorney fees from the other side after the case is over.

This is just one example of how we operate. For more information, please read How we handle cases