Why do some lawyers gotta write so bad and so much?
I just ask myself. Why?
Think about the judges and commissioners who are expected to read through piles and piles of repetitions, obfuscations, exaggerations, embellishments, overstatements, and gloss-overs. Not to mention outright misstatements of the law.
Here are just a few public record examples. I would love to see the judge’s face reading in the privacy of their chambers, where their facial expressions could have free play. Imagine a short film with the judge’s expressions close-up, and the voice-over reading what the judge’s eyes must traverse and try to comprehend. Just a fifteen minute film, obligatory for any lawyers working in family law. Any lawyer who has billed over $50,000 in a family law case would have to go to the unedited 8-hour version with no breaks, wearing an adult diaper.
Let us peruse, and imagine this is only one document in a pile several feet high for your daily reading:
In a document chock full of specific dates and numbers, they lived together “for a while” before marrying. Warning siren: someone is trying to cover up the length of this relationship, in order to limit maintenance or sweeten the property settlement.
“They gave birth to their child.” Really? That is a medical miracle. I am guessing it was the party with the womb and the vaginal passageway who carried out that task. Way to take credit, though.
“Evil Party contributes to three retirement systems.” (Note: the names have been changed). This merely means there is a work pension, an IRA, and hello, Social Security. This does not mean a Swiss bank account. Why try to demonize saving for retirement, especially in this economy?
“Due to financial struggles, Good Party’s company has not been able to pay them for the work they have done.” Sounds to this reader like the company is holding Good Party’s pay and bonuses to lower shown income until the case is finalized, so Good Party can keep a bigger piece of the pie.
Evil Party “kept over spending their budget” at the exact same time Good Party was able to stash away $50,000 into a retirement fund that Good Party now claims is personal property. Hmm.
I won’t bore you with more of this sadly typical finger-pointing and misstatement, But let’s insult the judge’s intelligence in a new way, by having this preface to the trial brief’s Authority and Analysis:
“The following is a summary of the law pertinent to this case. With apologies in advance and given the recent new appointments to the bench, if the court has not handled a family law matter recently, the following is offered as a guidepost.”
Among the gems of judicial wisdom offered from New Lawyer to Old Judge, is this misstatement of the purpose and scope of child support: “The transfer payment covers the roof over the child’s head, the food in her stomach, and the clothing on her back.”
Not quite, New Lawyer. Not quite enough.
Legislative intent states that “child support orders are [to be] adequate to meet a child’s basic needs and to provide additional child support commensurate with the parents’ income, resources, and standard of living.”
Underscoring this, child support is even allowed to exceed the usual maximum of 45% of the paying parent’s net income in situations including, “but is not limited to, possession of substantial wealth, children with day care expenses, special medical need, educational need, psychological need, and larger families.”
But who cares about the actual law or facts? Maybe the judge won’t read through the brief, or know the law, so let’s wrap up the brief by arguing that each party is so well off, there should be no child support paid at all, then stating twice within the same paragraph that Good Party’s proposed property settlement “will necessitate the sale of the family home” where the children have lived with the primary parent since birth.
Is a judge ever tempted to write a satirical fake ruling, such as:
“Children who will now be homeless are ordered to reside with the parent who took all the money and forced the sale of their family home. Hopefully that parent will get a nanny who will get paid more than child support would have been, but in no case shall the caregiver be the actual primary parent, because that would make too much sense and there is a risk it might be in the best interest of the children. Instead, the children are ordered to “follow the money” into the new home of their emotionally distant parent, while the primary parent is ordered to stay in a shelter and be sorry that they wanted out of this marriage. So ordered.”
Haha! Just kidding! In this case, the children are to remain in the family home with the parent who has been raising them since birth, assets shall be divided accordingly, and child support shall be paid. Because judges are not as gullible as some lawyers seem to think. Bless their hearts and their worn out eyes and patience.