My book, The Constructive Divorce is dedicated to coaching lawyers to handle family law matters in positive and constructive ways, preferably without litigation. The book also discusses handling necessary litigation in civil and professional ways. This approach preserves as much of the family as possible, even though there may no longer be a marriage. This approach holds the key for a better chance at long term happiness and well being for all concerned.
The recent decision of J.K. v. R. K. No. 2008-CA-01026–SCT (Decided August 13, 2009) provides ample illustration of family law gone mad. J.K. caught R.K., her physician husband, having an affair. Part of the evidence of adultery was obtained through use of a voice activated recorder which obtained recordings which violated the physician patient privilege, the attorney client privilege and perhaps the Federal Wiretap Act. The parties settled their divorce and R.K. agreed to pay J.K., among other things, $280,000 over 56 months. The parties agreed to stop litigation and J.K. agreed not to use the tapes.
However, R.K. apparently had a nifty idea to get his former attorney and friend to file a federal suit against J.K. for damages for recording the conversations. J.K. counterclaimed. Suits were also filed again in the Chancery Court regarding those issues. J.K. prevailed on counterclaims in Federal Court. An appeal was taken to the Fifth Circuit which was affirmed. In the meantime, an appeal was taken in the Chancery Court matters and a decision there was reversed. The matter was remanded to Chancery Court where decisions were made and Motions for reconsideration were filed. An appeal was taken from those rulings.Remember, the total to be paid to J.K. was $280,000. Proof at the Federal trial reflected she spent in excess of $130,000 defending the Federal Claim. The Federal Jury awarded her $200,000. Heaven only knows what was spent on attorneys fees for appeals to the Fifth Circuit, Motions in the Chancery Court, two appeals, remand proceedings in the Chancery Court and various Motions to Reconsider. All tolled, the entire sage took from the granting of the original divorce in 2002 until seven years later in August 2009. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to calculate that everyone came out the loser, both financially and in loss of quality of life.