We can say that when divorce cases get to the point of litigation, the system is dysfunctional in the sense that an undue amount of resources, financial, emotional, and psychological, are spent.  In this regard, divorce litigation can be compared to the current state of politics in Washington, D.C.  John Danforth’s view is that our congress has become so divided and deadlocked, compromise is needed.[1]

Compromise is necessary in order to resolve family law conflict.  When family law matters cannot be settled by compromise, those of us that handle these matters see the great inefficiencies of family law trials.  We can look to the political arena to see that the system doesn’t work as intended when opposing views become polarized.

In his book, Danforth tells the story of his relationship with Senator Russell Long.   Senator Long was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee when Senator Danforth began his career.  Danforth tells of how Senator Long actually made him look good rather than disparage him when given the opportunity to do so.  According to Danforth, Long said the following “Never hold a grudge.  Your opponent today is someone you will need as an ally tomorrow.”

We can apply this advice to family law attorneys.  In family law, opposing lawyers don’t do their clients any favors by becoming enemies.  Lawyers can do their jobs and not compromise their professional relationships.  John Danforth would agree with this point of view.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

[1] (October 24, 2015).  After Words with John Danforth.  Retrieved from : http://www.c-span.org/series/?afterwords.