Be Careful of What You Ask For

I was recently helping one of my clients with the text of her certification for her lawyer to put in court documents. The first draft of the document contained a brain dump of all the ills that had occurred over the past few months in her divorce.

While it may have been therapeutic to put it all out on paper and I had a sense that she felt that it was about time “someone” knew about all of this stuff, it was not going to serve her, would likely only cause her grief and had nothing to do with the reasons the motion was being done.

Although it is best to try to avoid the court process, when you have no other alternative be mindful of what you put in front of the court.   The court has seen all of your situations before so the fluff (i.e. non critical information) will not likely make a material difference in their decision.

What adding the fluff will do is to open a can of worms with the other side.  If you put a bunch of complaints in the documents the other side will obviously respond and you will end up with the court hearing about all the rubbish rather that focusing of the important issues. Do not give the other side anything to chew on.  There is a time and place to discuss these issues; it is not in a certification as a peripheral issue.

When you want the court to act on a couple of key issues, keep the discussion focused and build a compelling argument and rational as to why the court should award you what you want.  Provide hard facts and evidence when you can, build cash flow models to show the real expenses to run your home, show them receipts; try to avoid the ”he said she said” game and you will be much more effective in court.

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