The Importance of Choices and Autonomy in Legal Decision Making

Nobody likes being forced into a corner and feeling like they have no options or way out. Likewise, nobody likes feeling powerless as others make important life decisions for them. In the field of law, it is essential that clients are empowered to make informed choices as failing to do so can significantly impact the outcome of their case. Indeed, giving clients the information and advice they need to make informed choices is a fundamental part of a family lawyer’s role.

How Do You Define “Informed Choices”?

A seminal aspect of legal representation is enabling clients to make informed choices. What are informed choices? Part of an attorney’s role is informing clients of potential legal consequences, explaining the law, explaining their options and giving a suggested course of action. Giving a client informed choices is the act of honoring a client’s right to make their own decisions without being subjected to coercion or undue influence.

It is essential that clients’ rights are respected in all matters and that they are actively involved in any decisions that may affect their lives or wellbeing. If individuals are mentally or physically unable to make informed decisions, adult guardians or conservators must act in their best interests and in accordance with The National Guardianship Association’s Ethical Principles [1], always advocating for their needs and preferences.

How To Make Sure Clients Make Informed Choices

In order to make an informed decision, clients must be presented with all of the facts that are relevant to their case. They must have access to all pertinent information, understand the potential consequences that may arise from the different courses of action they may choose, and be supported in weighing the pros and cons of their choices.

Accessing Pertinent Information For The Case

Pertinent information will vary by case, but it typically includes the full details of the case, the legal process that will ensue, the potential outcomes, case findings from similar historic matters, and any alternative options that are available to the client, such as mediation instead of litigation.

Understanding The Consequences Of Every Decision

Every decision has consequences. Some are positive, and some are negative. Some consequences will have a prolonged impact, while others will only impact the short term. Some will impact only the client, while others will have a ripple effect.

Clients must fully consider all of the potential consequences to ensure they are comfortable that the decisions they make will not violate their personal values or have an adverse impact on the lives of their loved ones.

Supporting Clients And Their Choices

Professional advice from an experienced attorney who practices family law in Albuquerque ( can be invaluable when navigating an unfamiliar legal situation. Having a depth of experience in all family law matters allows lawyers to provide their impartial advice and to act as a sounding board for clients who are unsure which way to turn.

Ultimately, the role of a family law attorney is to empower clients to make an informed choice. By helping their clients take control of their legal matters, not only are outcomes improved but also their long-term satisfaction with how the process played out.

Clarity For More Informed Decision Making

When an individual lacks the capacity to make informed decisions of their own accord, family law attorneys can help their families or a nominated individual create a supported decision making agreement [2] for them.

This, together with a financial power of attorney and a healthcare advance directive, provides the individual with some degree of personal autonomy along with the support and guidance of one or more trusted advisors who they can consult on legal and financial matters.

Autonomy In Decision Making Has Psychological Benefits

Research shows that people who are in control of decisions that impact their lives have lower stress levels and tend to be happier with the outcomes they achieve [3]. When dealing with family law matters, prioritizing autonomy in decision making can dramatically reduce a client’s stress levels and therefore improve their overall well being.

Many family law issues are deeply personal, and decisions made in haste can have lasting impacts. It is of critical importance that clients are empowered with the information and support they need to make effective decisions and compromises to benefit their whole family.

How Kuffer Law Can Help You

At the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer, we’ll work with you to achieve the best possible outcome in every legal endeavor. Our comprehensive consultations ensure that we tailor our strategy to align with your aims and preferences, and we will always respect your decisions. To find out how we can help you achieve clarity of decision making and overcome your legal challenges, contact us today.