We recently finished a big divorce trial, the kind with seven figure incomes
plus assets. Our opposition was one of the most expensive firms in town.
They had taken over the case mid-stream from one of the other most expensive firms.
After we vanquished the opposing party's spurious objections, our client
obtained excellent access to his children. From that point on, we tried
to resolve the case, to bring it to conclusion, to save the parties the
heartache and the financial bleed of protracted litigation.
But the opposing party, emboldened by her counsel, demanded more and more
and got farther and farther away from anything that was reasonable, rational
or likely to occur in court. So their obstinance pushed us right into a trial.
At the conclusion of the trial, the Trial Judge gave us what we thought
was reasonable from the beginning, or even better. We won everything but
the cat. We won far more visitation, far more of the assets and had to
pay far less of the other side's attorney fees than we ever offered.
(We represented the principle wage earner.)
And we were far less expensive than the other firm, 2/3 as expensive in
this case. I would have liked 1/2 which is more often the norm for us,
but the other side caused a lot of busy work, obviously for no good reason.
There are two morals to the story. One, as I have often written, an appropriate
settlement is often known within the first few weeks of working on a case,
if not from the very first interview. If both parties and both attorneys
would just cut to the chase and accept the norm, divorcing parties would
save hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars each year in Georgia
alone and court calendars would not be nearly so clogged.
Two, even if the other side wants to play nasty, wants to play hard ball,
wants to push their client past their financial limit, our Firm will still
be far less expensive and will still prevail in the end.
It's nice to go up against the silk-stocking crowd and go home with the gold.
Now that the
divorce case is over, I am hopeful that the parties can find a new equilibrium, a new
relationship from which to parent their children. Without the attorneys
interfering for financial gain (I'm looking at you, silk-stocking
guys), the parties can get their lives back in some semblance of order.
That is, if the opposing party can ever recover from the financial shellacking
that she received from her expensive high rise firm.
Maybe having the cat will make it all better.