Some family law cases require what I’d consider to be extraordinary steps to protect the people involved, like filing a temporary restraining order with the divorce filing, or even a “kick-out” order requiring the respondent to leave the shared marital residence. If this is on behalf of a client who’s being abused, it’s absolutely the right way to go.
But it’s not the appropriate move to make in all cases. If a couple is arguing and one calls the other a nasty name, it’s not nearly on the same level than if violence or the explicit threat of violence occurs.
There are some level-headed lawyers in family law-and we count ourselves among those-who look at the big picture. If we see an opportunity to negotiate with the other side and get a favorable outcome for our client, we operate with our eyes on the prize, and don’t make any moves that might constitute “winning the battle but losing the war.”
But some family lawyers take a more aggressive approach to their practices, see their ability to file motions as weapons, and are happy to take their clients’ money to effectively punish the people divorcing their clients.
We’ve been on the end of those types of cases more than once, and we know what that’s like. Our clients appreciate that we have the experience and the temperament allowing us to take measured steps to keep those cases moving forward. We also know, from those experiences, that those aggressive tactics can be very counterproductive to the negotiation process.
In cases involving children, we always think-as judges tend to, and as everybody should-about what’s in the best interest in the child. If there is a situation where children are in danger, we’ll take whatever measures are necessary to protect them. But we’re also sensitive when filing a motion might be more of a provocation than an action that the situation calls for.
We’re also sensitive to the cost of a divorce. In complicated cases where a good deal of motion filing is required, we do what’s necessary and make our clients aware of why such measures are needed. But filing out of spite can be costly as well as toxic to a case, and can make the total price tag on a divorce that much more expensive.
I believe that to be a good family lawyer, you must exert judgement about when to fight and when to seek negotiation-especially when advancing the fight can cause more harm than good. At the Law Office of Lisa Vance, we strive for the balance most appropriate for each family law situation. When fighting is required, especially when safety hangs in the balance, we’re as tenacious as they come. But we recognize that each case is a marathon, not a sprint, and we think about the conclusion every step of the way.