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February 2013 Archives

A Comparison Between Actual War and Family Law Litigation

It has long been said that the tongue is sharper than any sword. In fact, the Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Bible, Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)) Of course, in litigation, we place such words into correspondence, declarations and pleadings in an effort to coerce a "settlement" or otherwise persuade a judge. As they say, "the pen is mightier than the sword." This may be why litigation is often compared to war wherein the lawyers are the warriors. Since they are retained to "win" the war, they operate on a "take no prisoners" philosophy. Clients frequently manufacture or otherwise embellish facts. The attorney does anything in their power to assist their client in prevailing, including efforts to legally exclude evidence that would otherwise weaken or destroy their client's case. After all, who cares whether the result makes sense based upon all the facts, as long as our client prevails. It should be noted that in actual war, the warriors themselves may or may not support the underlying basis for the war itself and are not the ones making the policy decisions. However, a "take no prisoners" philosophy in war applies to the actual warriors. In litigation, that philosophy actually applies to the "policy holders," the parties themselves. Yet, we expect those same parties to effectively co-parent throughout the litigation and thereafter.

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