The Importance of Doing Right

James R. Becker, Jr.

April 10, 2019

Particularly in our divorce and family law practice, we often get the question from our client of why does the client have to do that.  This may come in the form of not wanting to give the other parent visitation time, not wanting to answer discovery or not wanting to go along with a court order.  The answer to all of these questions is the same, you do the thing not because it is fair or just, but because it is right.  Most people learned this lesson in kindergarten, but when they get into litigation it tends to fly right out the window.

In order to understand the importance of doing right in this situation, you have to understand the situation.  You are not just locked in a battle with the other side, you are in a battle with the other side where the outcome will be decided by a third party.  This is not like a basketball game where you put the ball in the basket the most times and you win.  In this game, if the judge or jury thinks you are more credible, more reasonable, then you are more likely to get a better outcome.  If you are viewed as being obstructionist or refusing to act in a way that the judge believes is reasonable, then you are less likely to get a favorable outcome.  As your lawyer, it is part of our job to make sure our clients appear in the best light possible.

This may mean that we tell you to go out to your bank and get all of your bank records for the last five years.  This may mean that we have to tell you to allow your spouse to have visitation time with your child.  This will mean that we tell you to very carefully observe every detail of a court order you feel is unfair.  In each instance, we are not telling you these things to be mean or to make more work or to run up the costs of the litigation.  We are telling you to do these things because in the judicial process, they are the "right" thing to do and will ultimately benefit you.