With finger pointing, unsolvable problems, sad thoughts about the good times, and, most eloquently, “No I don’t fear no more, better yet respect ain’t quite sincere no more,” it is as if Taylor Swift’s latest hit was born for this blog. Does it always, though, have to be about “Bad Blood” or will it ever get to the point that you can just “Shake it Off” (forgive me Sir Paul)?
Readers of this blog know that I regularly discuss how the emotionally charged world of family law can only be made more so when two parties refuse to work with each other towards an amicable resolution, especially when represented by unreasonable attorneys furthering the charge. When the smoke clears, however, the parties may be left barely standing and wondering where it all went wrong – the exhausted emotions, the legal fees needlessly incurred/spent while trying to figure out how they will be paid, the years of lives lost to litigation, the children destroyed by the endless battleground.
Taking a step back, no one really wants to go through this process. The challenge comes when the wallet does ultimately have a bottom and decisions have to be made that not only can preserve the present, but also the future of all involved. It never ceases to amaze me how frequently parties and, as a result, the attorneys on their behalf lose sight of the long-term goal simply to procure the short-term “win”.
What, then, is a frustrated litigant to do? Being reasonable should be the right thing to do, but what happens when the other side has other ideas? What if the other side is pressuring you through the kids, or with money on their side? What if his family members are funneling money to pay for counsel fees while you are wondering how the next bill will be paid? You can always ask for counsel fees but they are by no means a guarantee no matter how strong your position may be and, ultimately, you are faced with the unenviable choice of capitulating to your spouse’s unreasonable position, or continue fighting the exhaustive good fight.
Effective mediation. Productive collaboration. A common goal to bring a case to a reasonable conclusion. Each is often effective, but oftentimes it is not until the end stages of a divorce litigation, with trial on the horizon, that parties finally realize that allowing a trial judge who knows little about their lives should not be the one to make decisions that will impact them for years, if not decades to come. These are all lofty, but sometimes unattainable goals. The only option may ultimately be that very trial, allowing the cards to fall where they may and seeking counsel fees as a component of any overall relief.
None of this is easy, no matter how simple the case. The very nature of what is happening defies ease. However, just because you may be “never ever (ever) getting back together” does not mean that the end cannot be done in a way that minimizes the long-term damage (emotional, financial and otherwise) for all involved.