Are legal pleadings filed by the other side upsetting you?
When a divorce or family law case begins, it usually starts with the filing of the initial pleadings, including a petition or motion. After the petition or motion is served, the other party files with the court an answer or response to the initial pleadings. A counter-petition can often be submitted to the court as well. Certainly, the preciseness of the pleadings can vary by state and county.
Regardless, where pleadings are filed and served, the other party often reads all the language in the initial pleadings. For those who have not been in court before, or have never worked in the legal industry, it can be quite confusion. The legal jargon can leave them feeling confused, upset or even angry.
In some instances, one might get irritated by certain words, phrases and/or requests. It might be like pouring gasoline on a fire that was already burning.
Take a situation where one party asks that their lawyer’s fees be paid by the other party in a litigated divorce, which is something parties frequently at least ask for in their pleadings. This can make the other party angry even where this is quite ordinary (even if a party is willing to waive this request for purposes of settlement).
Let’s say a party requests relief in their pleadings that might seem unreasonable or at least somewhat unreasonable. This can really cause emotions to rise quickly.
To counter what they deem are unfair requests, they might want to reach out to other party by phone, text or email. They might want to have their lawyer draft a reactionary correspondence, motion or other pleading in response that asks for equally unreasonable relief.
Ultimately, it’s important that a party stay calm when they are reading court documents that have been submitted to the court. It’s better to take relax, take a moment to calm down and have a conversation with their legal counsel when they are more rational versus reaching out to the other party.
They can then decipher whether there is (a) a need to be irritated or angry; (2) whether what was filed is normal and/or simply legal jargon; or (3) nothing more than puffing. They can then, in a more relaxed place, determine with their lawyer the best course of action.