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Audibles in Family Law

| Sep 24, 2018 | Family Law

I’m a huge fan of football. College and pros. One of my favorite players to watch was Peyton Manning. I was never a particular fan of any of his teams, in fact, I was pretty neutral about all of them. But I really enjoyed watching him in action. His offensive coordinators must have had the easiest jobs in the world. In the summer they give Peyton the offensive playbook and by the first game, he had it memorized and was calling plays from the line. Not in the huddle, not getting them from the sideline (though both of those happened from time to time), but the vast majority of the time, Peyton was deciding the plays at the line of scrimmage based on his wealth of knowledge and understanding about famil…er…football. Even in the instances where a play was decided on the sidelines, by the time the ball had been snapped, “Omaha” had been yelled and a new play was chosen based on what the defense was showing when it lined up.

The problem in family law is that when done correctly, it is very strategic. Strategy is developed early on in the case, usually at the time of the initial consult. A wise friend of mine often says, “if you don’t know the strategy of your case, you don’t know your case.” Your family law attorney should be able to identify the right strategy immediately. And there are certainly times when strategy changes during a case, but it’s usually very deliberate. It’s rarely done on the fly.

Audibling to a new strategy can often be disastrous, especially if the person changing the strategy is not Peyton Manning. This problem often occurs in the heat of the moment. Maybe an angry text comes through or the opposing party takes a scorched-earth approach. Anger and frustration rears their heads and in an instant, an audible is called at the line of scrimmage, sometimes with the coach jumping up and down on the sideline not to change the play! Or even worse, the only person who knows the play got changed was the quarterback and the rest of the team runs the play that was called. What a disaster!

Before anyone calls “Omaha”, first ask, “what’s our strategy and how would calling this audible effect it?”

David Purvis 

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