Before getting into what family law litigation means, it is helpful for readers to understand the general definition of litigation. Litigation is the process of addressing disputes by filing or answering a complaint through the court system. Consequently, a litigator is a trial lawyer who represents clients in a court of law.
So, family law litigation is simply the process of handling disputes between people going through divorce and the issues that come with divorce. Family law litigation also can include post-divorce disputes. And, it can include disputes between people who are not married but are in a relationship akin to marriage.
Every issue usually does not need to be litigated during a divorce, but there are matters that commonly have the need for aggressive and strategic litigation, such as:
- Custody and parenting time
- Relocation of children
- Business valuation as it related to equitable distribution
- Retirement as it impacts alimony
- Cohabitation as it impacts alimony
- College contribution
- Child support in excess income cases
Many divorce cases include some form of litigation. The exceptions are for those parties that decide to mediate their cases, or those who enter into a collaborative process. For the former, I aggressively advocate for all my clients, no exception. However, I do see similarities in cases that require extraordinarily aggressive litigation strategies. These cases tend to involve celebrities, high-profile clients, and high net-worth individuals. Additionally, and unfortunately, aggressive litigation is the only option when dealing an unreasonable spouse or adversary.
Complex Family Law Litigation
Lawyers will sometimes use the phrase “complex” litigation. This can mean different things to different people. With regards to family law, I simply define complex litigation as having the need to bring in an expert witness to opine and subsequently testify on an issue in dispute. In family law, I rely on different kinds of professionals and experts depending on the issue and the complexity of it.
Types of Complex Family Law Litigation Experts
- Child psychologists
- Forensic accountants
- Appraisers – real estate, personal property
- Employability experts
As a litigator, it is my philosophy to prepare every case as if it is going to trial. A clear message must be sent that if one side is unreasonable, unrealistic or defiant, you will be ready to present and prove your case to a judge. Since most cases, ultimately, do not go to trial, it is my goal to be most prepared to settle with terms most advantageous to my client. My preparation includes intimately knowing the details and facts of the case, applicable law, trial procedures, and rules of evidence.
When the gap between respective settlement positions justify the time and expense of a trial, I am fully prepared for direct and cross-examination of all witnesses as well as have a full understanding of expert reports, their methodology and conclusions.
For more information or if you have questions regarding family law divorce, please contact me.