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As A Divorce Lawyer, The Pettiest Thing For A Clients I Did?

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Originally Answered: As a divorce lawyer, what is the most petty thing one of your clients had you do?

I practiced family law for 5 years, and one of the things that drove me from the profession was precisely what you’ve identified—the petty and spiteful actions my clients and their spouses would engage in during and after the divorce process. This problem was especially horrific when children were involved, which most of my cases they were.

I once had a client who asked me to contact her husband’s employer and try to have the husband fired because we had evidence of his recreational use of marijuana. I refused, and she threatened to fire me. I calmly told her when she could pick up her file, and she thought better of it in a few days and we eventually resolved the case prior to trial, as with most divorces.

Nearly all divorce lawyers in my experience will refuse to engage in demeaning or petty conduct themselves, but not all. There are “a few bad apples,” as it were. But the vast majority of divorce lawyers, at least in my experience in South Carolina, will not be party to petty & spiteful personal tactics.

The biggest problem in my state at least was when divorce lawyers engage in what we call “abuse of discovery.” Discovery is the formal process of exchange of information, and it is usually the most expensive and time consuming component of the divorce litigation process. Discovery can be a cooperative process where both parties act in good faith and work together to resolve the issues in the case in a fair and equitable manner. Or, it can be a bitter, spiteful battle to the mat with endless motions and hearings that end up bleeding both parties dry because the parties (and their lawyers) can’t act like adults and make the process easy for themselves. Much of the case depends on the temperament of the parties and their respective attorneys.

The divorce process can be relatively easy and painless, or it can be an expensive and damaging nightmare, but in the end there are no “winners,” except perhaps the lawyers themselves.