It is an unfortunate reality of our legal system that it can be very costly to oppose someone in court if that someone is able to spend large amounts of money fighting the case. This is just as true in the family law arena as it is elsewhere. Even if the facts are on your side, it can be extremely expensive to get your day in court. Still, no amount of money can change the facts, and with determination those facts can be brought to light.
In a recent divorce case, we represented a man whose wife had practically unlimited resources to fight the case because she had the backing of her wealthy family. This couple had moved to Texas within the last couple of years, only a few months after their first child was born. The wife wanted to move back to her home state so she could be closer to her family and friends, but the husband’s career and the child’s home were here in Texas. Our client always acknowledged that his wife was a good mother, but he had to work and his career was here in Austin. Most importantly, he could not imagine his daughter living across the country being moved away from him and the only home she had ever known.
Our client was a devoted father who wanted the best for his child. He was eager move past the conflict with his wife so his daughter could have a great relationship with both her parents.
Meanwhile, his wife was in full attack mode, and would not consider any option other than taking the child across the country. She went on the offensive, hiring a small army of elite lawyers and professional expert witnesses, and accusing our client of being an emotionally abusive husband and an unfit father. In the lead-up to trial, her lawyers buried us in paper with their avalanche of motions and objections. Just defending against the onslaught came at a high cost in terms of time, energy, and money, which meant we had less of those resources to use in actively preparing our client’s case. It was necessary for us to be very strategic in setting our priorities and picking our battles. Even so, the bills piled up and the client was stretched as thin as thin gets.
When we finally got to trial, it was almost two weeks of heated back-and-forth. When the smoke cleared, justice had won out. Not only would the mother not be moving away with the child, she would be responsible for all of our client’s legal bills. It was the largest award of attorneys’ fees the judge had ever given in over ten years on the bench. We believe that the judge saw it the way we did – the other side had done everything in their power to keep us on the defensive and burn through all of our client’s resources. When it became clear that their accusations were not supported by the facts, it was only fair that they pay back what our client had spent to clear his name and preserve his relationship with his daughter.