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Family Law: Stand By Me

Most of our cases move through very quickly.  Most are over, said and done within three to six months. But some family law cases stretch on for a very long time. Some stretch on for years.

Some cases carry on because the other side is needlessly protracting the litigation. But some cases stay alive because time is a necessary element in gaining an accurate understanding of the family and family dynamics and preparing the ground for the battles that lie ahead. It is a very real time version of "truth will out."  It takes the implied "eventually" and incorporates it into a strategic imperative.

Truth will out. Time reveals all. And patience is a virtue.

We just concluded such a case.  I still remember well the initial contact with the client, the distress, the horrible circumstance in which they found themselves, the darkness of their situation, the bleakness of their future.

Over time, over such a protracted time, you get to know the client well; you get to know the family well.  In some sense, you become a part of the family, certainly a part of the landscape of the family.  And your role is central to the family's story, you are thrust into the core of their being because the issue, the circumstance that brought them to you is critical, central to their lives. Often, it feels as vital as their heartbeat.

So on that dark, bleak day, we began our work, struggling back from destitution, despair and the soul's destruction.  Together we mapped out a plan, an approach, a strategy to piece by piece improve the lay of the land, to better tell the client's story, to better present the reality, to lay bare the opposition's pyrrhic victory with their silk purse and expose it for the sow's ear it really was.

Recently, the years' long work came to fruition, a trial to call the question, to use the analytical scalpel to excise the rot that lay beneath.  The battle field set, the battle lines drawn, the armies met and met hard. 

A life was at stake, neigh, lives were at stake. The risks real, the dangers staggering. The possibility of loss an unthinkable horror.

But, with time passing, with the battle field well engaged when the time is ripe, even dragons are slain. Truth will out.  

And truth did on this day.

And our clients, our people, the people who had allowed us to become a part of their family, prevailed.  Lives were saved.  Good was done.

And there was much rejoicing.

If my tale sounds almost mythic, it is. Because in family law we deal daily with mythic issues that reveal deep truths. This matters. This matters deeply. This matters more than most else. The facts are true, the players real, the dangers deep and genuine.  But the land of the heart, the hope or despair of the future is both as real and as mythic as it gets.

"When the night has come and the land is dark...will you stand by me?"

We will.  We did.  And we are very proud and satisfied for it.

Congratulations, family.  Dragons were slain.  The future is now yours. May you long, long prosper.  I suspect you will.

Michael Manely

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