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When Might It Be Beneficial to Go to Trial in a Divorce?

Interviewer: What would be some benefits of trial?

Wendy Doyle: When you’ve gotten to a point where you’re having to go to trial, it’s unfortunate. Trials can be ugly; they’re difficult for the parties. I am trial attorney and pretty litigation hearty. It is a protracted process. It can take about a year to get to a trial, to monitor the whole process, to obtain the entire discovery and to go back and forth with motions.

It can be better if you can come up with a settlement, however, I do not force my clients into any kind of settlement. I tell them it’s their life, it’s not my life. I don’t push people. Some attorneys aren’t trial attorneys and they push their clients to settle because trial is work and they don’t have skills. My partner and I are both trial attorneys and we both are in court all the time.

If Fair Offers Cannot Be Obtained through Mediation, the Parties Have a Right to Trial to Resolve the Divorce

If it’s not a fair offer and they want to go to trial, they have a right to go to trial. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to trial for them. The benefit of a trial is if your opponent, your spouse, father or mother of your child is not being fair or you don’t consider fair, you have a right to go before a judge and have a judge decide your case. I will tell my clients though its fair or not.

Almost Any Person May Need to Use a Family Law Attorney

Interviewer: Is there a typical client that you work with when it comes to family law?

Should the Family Law Attorney Be a Skilled Litigator?

Wendy Doyle: I have a diverse client base. I have millionaires with lots of assets. I have people that are working class people. They have some assets and some liabilities. My clients come from all walks of life. I do like complex litigation, I will say that.

Interviewer: What does that entail?

Alimony Issues Are Frequently Litigated

Wendy Doyle: Litigation factors into cases with complicated issues, such as alimony issues. I had a complicated case with a millionaire. It was a very complicated alimony case. I won at the trial level. They appealed it. I did the response to the appeal. I did the answer brief and all of that. I represented him in the appeal as well. I prevailed in the appeal.

I took over for another attorney in the middle of a hearing essentially, and I won that hearing. Some of the issues include imparting income and another example is when I represented a former police officer in a case where they were trying to refute allegations that he had a high income. The other party tried to say that he was making the money that he wasn’t. I won that one.

Complicated Custody Cases Can Also Require Litigation

I have a complicated custody case going on right now that involves addiction issues with high profile people. There are severe addiction issues in this case. It is still pending, but very complicated. We’re going to be going to trial with that case as well. Unfortunately, I took his deposition and he basically handed us the case.

Unethical Attorneys May Use Litigation as a Means of Enhancing Their Fees

Sometimes, working with opposing attorneys, I don’t know if they either are afraid to tell their clients that they’re going to lose or they don’t want to tell their clients they may lose. I think sometimes they don’t care and they’re just billing their clients. I dislike that so much. I find that that is reprehensible. We take an oath as attorneys to not take advantage of people when they’re vulnerable.

Attorneys That Promote Unnecessary Litigation Can Be Subject to Sanctions Initiated by the Attorney for the Other Party

I have gotten sanctions against other lawyers for that behavior as well. Under 57105, we are allowed to obtain sanctions for unnecessary litigation. If you can prove that opposing counsel could not prevail on a point, then the attorney is ordered to pay out of their own pocket. I’ve done that about 4 or 5 times now in my career, which is significant, unfortunately. It’s embarrassing as a lawyer.

As an attorney, I operate under this principle. I take an initial retainer and I try to get my clients’ cases settled. I want my client’s case to settle. I don’t want people to waste their hard earned money on monetary fees.

The Right Attorney to Handle a Divorce Promotes Equitable Resolution through Mediation and Settlement to Avoid the Expense and Emotional Strain of a Trial

I didn’t grow up rich. I put myself through law school as a single parent. I know what it’s like. I value money and live frugally. It’s ideal if people can settle a case early because it does avoid hard feelings. I think as the case goes along and it gets more litigious, much acrimony tends to develop. If there are children involved, you must be mindful that they can observe the ill effects of a bad relationship between their parents.

You’re divorcing your spouse but you both are going to be parenting partners for the rest of your lives. You’re a parent longer than 18 years. It doesn’t end i know I am a parent.

Unfortunately, if the other party hires a lawyer who doesn’t have that mindset and they want to bill people, especially if the parties have income or have assets then sometimes some lawyers don’t care. I can be alert for frivolous litigation. I’ll file a motion for sanctions if I have to and if we can prove it and we can win on it, I will do that, yes!

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