Tag: opposing party

Fair Treatment in Court by Braxton Mounteer, Legal Assistant.

The family law legal system likes to portray itself as a shining beacon of justice and equity, but I have seen first-hand that it is not. Whether it is opportunistic clients and their lawyers who will throw anything against the wall to see what sticks, or cowboy commissioners and judges who play fast and loose with the rules (and even make up their own), generally you will not get a fair shake (just a fair shake) unless you fight—and fight hard and extensively—for it.

Fight just to keep everyone honest? Really? Yes. Well, yes, in the sense that unless you don’t care about your own good character and subscribe to the “fight fire with fire” way of doing things.

If you have enough money, there is more than one lawyer out there that will take it and do and say basically whatever you want.

What about the commissioners and judges? Aren’t they motivated purely by upholding the law and the rules and dispensing justice impartially? Some are. Not all. It’s unpleasantly surprising to me how many domestic relations commissioners and judges indulge in pride, biases, apathy, and indolence.

If you know you’re innocent, if you know you’re a good person, that is rarely enough to ensure you’re treated fairly. What can you do if and when the deck is stacked against you because the opposing party is willing to lie, cheat, and steal his/her way to victory? You must fight with everything that you have. You must—if you can—produce overwhelming evidence that you are in the right (or the opposing side is in the wrong) if you are to have confidence that you will be treated fairly. That’s hard. That’s financially and emotionally exhausting. But there are no shortcuts.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Did you ever go to court and realize for the judges and attorneys it’s kind of all a big game?

Yes, in my experience, there are aspects of the legal system and the practice of law that some lawyers and judges see and treat as a game. You see lawyers and judges who observe, regularly that “that lawyer/that judge did this to cause delays/burden or inconvenience the opposing party and not for the stated pretextual reason offered for doing it.”

Many bad lawyers file frivolous lawsuits and motions for fun and profit. That’s no secret.

I was shocked as a young lawyer (I’m not shocked anymore) when a lawyer who represented the losing side of a case called me up and threatened to file a meritless appeal. When I got upset with him about it he responded with, “Hey, calm down. Even if I lose, we’ll both still get paid.”

And many lawyers and litigants have experienced a judge violating the law and/or rules knowing that he/she can get away with it because the victimized litigant can’t afford to appeal the judge’s decision or complain about his/her decision for fear of retaliation. Yes, it happens. Not with all attorneys and judges, but with many.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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