Our firm counsels people to put their anger aside and act with civility during family law problems. Some people reject that advice, thinking it means we are not willing to fight for them. There is no question that there are many ways to practice law, and that many mean and difficult lawyers succeed in their cases. However, our system calls for people to act fairly. One of the great principles of family law practice is “the clean hands doctrine” which requires litigants to “do equity” before they can ask for equity. In simple terms, “if you have mud on your hands from slinging it, you may not get any help from the court.”

In the recent decision of McCarty v. McCarty, No. 2009-CA-01062–COA, young mother, Lisa, lost custody of her two young children because the court considered her hateful attitude towards her ex husband’s new wife was detrimental to the children. The best evidence of this was that Lisa admitted she had drawn a picture of the new wife in her daughter’s journal, as if the daughter had drawn it, and captioned the picture, “spit on Karen every day.”

The mud on Lisa’s hands cost her her children.
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