“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”  I tried finding the movie that this saying came from but it is in many.  For better or worse, this saying has become a recent mantra of mine – and not just with my kids.  In practice, I often tell this to clients and

This week, I was told by an adversary that her client was taking what clearly is an unrealistic position as to custody and parenting time, "on principle."  I have another matter where a spouse is delaying the matter on principle, because he doesn’t want his spouse to move on with the new significant other.  I tried a case earlier this year, clearly over principle, because the wife wanted permanent alimony in a marriage that clearly warranted a term of years and over her demand for 50% of the value of his medical practice, when a lesser percentage was appropriate.  Another client wanted us to file a motion, on principle, over a minor violation of a parenting time agreement during the hurricane.  In another case, a party is seeking virtually all of the equity in the marital home, clearly on principle, though the law would not suggest she is entitled to anything more than 50% under the facts. 

All of these recent examples remind me of a blog post that I did in 2009 entitled "Musings on Principle vs. Litigation."  The examples, however, suggest at least two different classes of standing on principle.  In the first, someone has a meritorious claim or position, but the cost of litigation exceeds the amount at issue, and/or though right, they are fighting a fight that they don’t need to fight, just to win.  As I recently told a family member who was getting divorced, sometimes it is very expensive to be right. 

The second class of "principle" is the crazy principle where you think you are right, but you really aren’t right.  Not only that, you aren’t listening to your lawyers, mediators, settlement panelists, judges, friends, etc. who are telling you that your position isn’t right.  Rather, these people are embarking on a holy crusade, either to punish the other party or for some other improper reason.

Continue Reading

Previously we blogged on alternate dispute resolution methods ("ADR") such as mediation and arbitration. "Collaborative Divorce" is another ADR method.

"Collaborative Divorce" is defined as  a form of alternative dispute resolution for divorcing couples where a  team approach is used to reach a settlement. Both parties to the divorce are supported by their lawyers; however

Sometimes, despite all of the parties’ best efforts – or in other cases, where one or both parties have no desire to settle, a case has to be litigated.  Trials are costly, for reasons you would think of, and also, for reasons that most people don’t consider.  A good rule of thumb is that for