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Wisely Choose you should, Family Court Battles.

Wisely Choose you should, Family Court Battles.

Wisely Choose you should, Family Court Battles.

“The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.” Sun Tzu, Art of War.

Family Court cases (divorce, equitable division, child custody, or visitation) have no shortage of battles. Picking fights that you cannot win, nor that really matter open the door for increased costs and delay.

A litigant who successfully defends a claim or demand has greater chance of receiving an award of attorney fees against the opposition. Most parties don’t like paying their own attorney, and no one enjoys paying the other side’s legal fees. This plays out most frequently for parties who argue for custody, when they (1) know that they will not receive custody, and (2) they really just want expanded visitation. A request for custody raises the level of anxiety from the other parent, their attorney, and level of scrutiny and time from the court, and guardians.

Recently, I successfully defended an argument by opposing counsel that her client, the father of a child, should be allowed to pay less that the child support guidelines for South Carolina. The result was concise victory on the issue for my client and an order from the court requiring the father to pay my client’s attorney fees and costs. The father’s attorney had no evidence to support her argument.

Lawyers and clients should spend time discussing the likelihood of success in causes of action, motions, and trial. Beyond the simple “win” / “lose”, zero-sum game approach, lawyers and their clients should consider the myriad of consequences that occur as as result of filings, and arguments.

“In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.” Sun Tzu, Art of War.