My son is too cool to be in the chess club at middle school. He thinks it is too nerdy. What can I say? I was a nerd.  I joined the chess club when I was in middle school. Only it was called junior high back then.

I played a lot of chess in my youth. I thought I was pretty good. That is until I met Marc. I met Marc in the army. He was a chess master. While waiting for the Viet Nam war to wind down, we had a lot of time on our hands. So Marc taught me chess.

I already knew how the pieces moved and how to checkmate. I thought that was all there was to know about chess. Marc opened my eyes.

I learned about power, time and space. I learned that each piece had a value and some pieces changed value depending on what stage of the game you were in. I learned that there was an open, middle and end game. I learned tactics with names like pin, fork and x-ray attack. There was a whole new level of complexity to the game I had played for years unaware.

I think this is true in practicing law as well, and divorce law in particular. When I started practicing, I knew the law (how the pieces moved) and how to win a trial (checkmate). But over the years, I have learned that my cases and clients have many more levels of complexity than I had first supposed.

Guest post by Evelyn Crowther

It’s rare that the process of divorce doesn’t bring conflict. Even the most embittered among us can hardly fail to be impressed by those who manage to go their separate ways without resorting to arguments about property, children or finances; and have somehow managed their separation in a minimally destructive way. It’s all too easy to get caught up in angry exchanges, both verbal and legal as we fight for our rights. There’s often a desire to prove ourselves the victim of terrible injustices, and have our spouse seen as the perpetrator of all wrongs, but the way we go about the process can be extremely self-sabotaging.

Amid the haranguing about who did what to whom, who gets the house, the car and the blame, there’s one highly underrated trophy; worth more than money or property, or even the need to be right. It’s our dignity.

Coping with the process of divorce will likely be one of the most emotionally draining and stressful periods of a lifetime, with survivors are often left feeling as though we’ve been put through the hot wash cycle and hung out to dry. We can find that we’re left with a loss of self-respect and a great deal of embarrassment, when we realize that far too many aspects of our conflict have been made public and there is literally, nowhere to hide.

If we can resist the strong pull of self-disclosure we are more likely to maintain a sense of self-worth and come away with our heads held a little higher. We all need a trustworthy friend with whom to share our deepest worries, but do we really need ten and their hairdressers? Gossip can easily get out of hand, and before we know it, that comment we made in the heat of the moment, has resulted in previously supportive friends now taking the other side. It takes courage and integrity not to escalate a situation where we feel we are being wronged, but by engaging in public warfare we lose more than we bargain for. If we can resist the urge to bad mouth our partner, we maintain dignity and greater long term privacy, when we are starting to rebuild our lives. Don’t shout from the rooftops – leave the shouting to the lawyers.

A documentary, “Divorce Corp.”, narrated by Dr. Drew Pinksky, opens in 16 cities this month.

The movie exposes some unethical and corrupt practices in the $50 billion divorce industry.

Some women’s rights organizations have called for a boycott of the film because they say it dwells too heavily on father’s rights.

Justin Steen, a divorce lawyer, woke up without an alarm every morning at exactly 5:00 am.  After his workout routine, he arrived at his office at 7:00 am and start organizing his day.  The phone rang at 9:00 a.m.

“Mr. Steen, it’s Julie Palmer,” said the caller, “You’ll never believe what my husband did now.”

“What did he do, Julie?”

“He booked our twelve year old on a ski trip without even telling me!”

“That’s outrageous.  I’ll call his attorney right now and follow up with a strong letter.  Don’t worry.  This will work against him when we get to trial.”

As soon as Justin hung up with Julie, the phone rang again.

“Hello, Mr. Steen, this is Ken Stevens,” said the caller.  “My wife has our daughter stuck in a day care center which is boring and just a glorified baby sitter.  I want to enroll her in a horseback riding program for the summer and my wife is against it.

“Why that’s outrageous.  I’ll call her lawyer right now and follow up with a strong letter.  Don’t worry.  This will work against her when we get to trial.”

A Story of Balancing Mother’s Rights and Father’s Rights

“My client was shocked to learn that your client has enrolled their 5 year old son in the swim team at the community pool,” the letter from the mother’s divorce lawyer started.

The father’s lawyer scanned it to the father by email.  By the next day he had received three drafts of a four page letter from the father explaining all the benefits of swim team.  The father wanted the lawyer to send the letter to the mother’s attorney.

“Wait until I speak with her,” the lawyer told the father.

“Why?” asked the father.  “I want her to know, for the record, that I’m not the bad guy here.   And I didn’t do it just because my new girlfriend is the coach of the swim team.”

“First of all,” replied the father’s lawyer, “she won’t believe you.  Second, there is no record.  Third, I don’t try my case in letters.  And finally, I don’t know why, but my intuition and experience tell me to wait until I speak with opposing counsel.”

Five days later, the mother’s attorney called.  The mother was concerned that she had been left out of the decision making process.  She wanted to know how many lifeguards were on duty, their ages, and what training they had.  These were easy to provide and the problem was solved. The father’s letter was put in the file and never sent.

I just finished reading A Doll’s House, a play written in 1870 by Henrik Ibsen, available free from for Kindle.

The play is about a marriage and its breakup.  I’d like to tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t read or seen it.  It has been interpreted as a play about women’s rights or about finding your true self.

If you want to be a good lawyer, read literature.  The stories of your clients are all there.

Guest post by Camille Norest. (Editor’s Note:  Across the pond they use solicitors but the advice applies to choosing a divorce lawyer here as well.)

When going through a divorce, it is important to have a divorce solicitor that you are comfortable and confident with to take you through the process. To do this, you need to find the divorce solicitor with the right set of skills for your situation. This will help you save time, money and stress when you need it most. Here are 5 helpful tips to finding your perfect divorce solicitor.


Like everything in life, hiring a divorce solicitor has a price, so it is good to find one that you can afford. That is not to say you need to take on the cheapest divorce solicitor out there, but you should ensure that you are getting the best work for your money. Compare rates along with the other important features for your choice of divorce solicitor to see what price makes more sense to you. Most solicitors will charge by the hour instead of agreeing to a flat fee, although it is worth asking if your case can be covered with a flat fee for simplicity’s sake.


Every divorce is different, but some a more individual than others. Assess the aspects of your relationship breakdown to see what might complicate things with the proceeding divorce. This could include children, pre-nuptial agreements and your specific reasons for divorce. When you have done this, search for a divorce solicitor that specialises in those areas. They will have experience with any problems regarding your circumstances and will be able to clearly explain anything you will need to do to continue with the process.

Talk to Them

Being confident with your divorce solicitor is vital, and this reassurance can be as easy as picking up the phone to ask a couple questions. Inquiries are free more often than not, and any divorce solicitor worth your time should happily talk you through some of the procedures when asked. Don’t expect an hour long conversation spanning every detail, they are in high demand and very busy, but talking personally to a divorce solicitor is a great, quick way to see if they are right for you.


Look for a divorce solicitor that has a decent amount of experience. Though for some it may be enough for to read when the company was started, it is also important to find out what they have been doing all that time. If a divorce solicitor has been involved in any cases that well known within the industry, they will call attention to it on their website, so it is a good idea to research deeper than a homepage when picking who is best for you.

Friends and Family

While you may not want to bring your friends and family in to your relationship breakdown, in some cases it might be preferable to keep them separate, but asking them if they would recommend a divorce solicitor is sometimes very helpful. No one knows you like your friends and family, so they could be able and willing to give you good advice on choosing who to talk to for your situation. You don’t need to tell them all the details, but if they have been through a relationship breakdown and they liked who helped them with the proceedings, it is worth seeing if they would be right for you too.

After receiving a 143 paragraph petition, I had to check the rules again for Form of Pleadings. Maryland Rule 2-303(b) says:

Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleadings are required. A pleading shall contain only such statements of fact as may be necessary to show the pleader’s entitlement to relief or ground of defense. It shall not include argument, unnecessary recitals of law, evidence, or documents or any immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous material.

That’s what I thought it said.

Lawyers know that the Season of Joy is followed by the Season of Divorce.

There are more separations and divorce filings between January and March of each year.

“People somehow expect the joy of the season is going to correct a troubled marriage and it never does,” Ginita Wall, who runs a divorce workshop, told NBC.

by guest blogger, B. Lyttle, who has over five years experience in law and finance writing, and is a contributor for the Santa Barbara divorce attorney firm.

Getting a divorce is a tough situation for the married couple especially if issues like child custody and money matters are involved. Hiring a divorce lawyer is an important part of this process and requires good thought before you hire a lawyer for yourself.

A good divorce attorney will solve your case at a proper pace and by following proper procedure. On the other hand, an unnecessarily adversarial lawyer may make the things even harder and cause more conflicts to arise between you and your spouse.

Unfortunately, if you’ve picked the wrong divorce lawyer who is only increasing the rift between the two parties, here are five tips for you to handle an unnecessarily adversarial divorce lawyer:

1.  Be reasonable instead of being angry

Having a fight is not the solution to divorce. Some lawyers do think that indulging in the fight would end the entire conflict and successfully bring about a divorce. This is seldom correct. Follow your reasons instead of your anger.   Fights between the spouses are created sometimes because of adversarial lawyers.   Tell your attorney that you need a divorce and not a fight. Tell him or her to reach to the solution by following a proper path or it will only increase your stress and nothing else.

2.  Follow a collaborative approach

This is a good way to solve the problems in a bad marriage situation. Both you and your spouse decide to consult with collaborative lawyers to solve your disputes because of different point of views. This is known as the collaborative approach. Tell your lawyer that you want this type of divorce. He or she will work out the major issues on which the case rests. If at any point of time, he or she does not work according to your desires, you can hire another lawyer.

3.  Involve yourself proactively

This will ensure that the lawyer is not acting in an unnecessarily adversarial manner. Know about the position of your case in the court of law and inquire about the communications of lawyer to the court. If any kind of objectionable or conflict causing language is used at any time in the documents, you can get it removed. Follow the systematic steps to file the divorce petition and the process that follows. This will help in getting you the divorce as soon as possible and avoid any type of delay.

4.  Make your lawyer follow your instructions

You should make sure that you are giving instructions to your lawyer. Otherwise the divorce can not only be delayed but also you face the consequences in your divorce of the unnecessarily adversarial nature of the lawyer.  You want to get divorced but you do not need to destroy family relationships forever.   A divorce does not mean end of everything. You should opt for a peaceful separation and not participate in tactics that are misguided by an unnecessarily adversarial lawyer.

5.  Solve issues with minimum conflict

Try to solve all the major issues like property division, child custody etc without getting involved in excessive fights and conflicts. These are sensitive issues that must be handled with care.

In a nutshell, divorce can be painful situation for both the partners. Try to reduce this pain by being reasonable and get out of it without getting involved in the conflicts.