Family Law

Family Law News Issue 3, 2020, Volume 42, No. 3

Message from the Editor

Nathan W. Gabbard, CFLS

"Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults but for having faults different from ours." This saying from an unknown source resonates with me on several levels. It reminds me how our individual perceptions play a masterful role in our lived experience. It also reminded me of an episode of a realty TV show about individuals who work together selling real estate, where a group of the show’s main characters were at an event (a wedding, if I correctly recall) and one of them was sharing some vivid details about recent challenges in her personal life involving a former romantic partner. Then, another character chimed in to say that there are always two sides to every story – something family law practitioners might reasonably accept as an accurate adage, and I have even heard it said that there are always three sides to every story: party A’s version of events, party B’s version, and then what really happened. At any rate, the group’s reaction to the suggestion that there could be two perceptions of how events transpired was pointed and unforgiving. Particularly, the point was made that the group supported their co-worker and that the co-worker’s recitation of events was the only side to the story—implying that it was the only version of events that mattered. Whether it’s criticizing others, supporting a companionate co-worker, or any of the millions of moments in our daily lives, the way we see things is unique to each of us. How we view reality is shaped by our past experiences, and our perception of the present will, in turn, mold our path forward.

As always, this issue provides an assortment of inspiring scholarly discourse. While we are living through a time of challenges and changes as a result of the global pandemic, it is becoming more common to think about planning for the unexpected. Melissa Wheeler Hoff takes this even further and shares suggestions on how to help parents plan for the unexpected by including force majeure provisions in child custody agreements.

If you are willing to work for free, there will always be plenty of work. A respected judicial officer once shared this bit of wisdom with me when I was first starting out in the practice of family law. Getting paid is an important part of continuing to practice and protecting clients’ rights to recover attorney fees and costs goes hand-in-hand with that. Robert R. Walmsley points out an often-overlooked aspect of attorney fee requests and helpful hints for protecting clients’ rights.

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