Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bless The Divorce Lawyers

"I could never do what you do."

I hear that weekly.

I have always said the same thing about divorce lawyers.

Some of the stuff you all argue over, not to mention the constant "he dropped the kid off 3 minutes late, I want to go to court" after hours phone calls, make me wonder if you have the most difficult job as a lawyer.

So yesterday I reaffirm this notion when I'm in court on a restraining order hearing that is traveling along with my clients arrest for battery.

We come to an agreement on a short-term injunction. We agree to stay away from her, her house, her parents house, her family, all the typical stuff. Then, comes the portion of the hearing where I try to keep from laughing, or crying, but the eye rolling is fast and furious.

Judge: "What about all these clubs and restaurants?"

Me: "Judge, they both frequent these places and she would like him to stay out of them, although when the initial temporary order was signed it said he must stay 25 feet away if he's there at the same time as her."

Her lawyer: "Judge, she would like him to stay out of those places."

Judge: (Starts naming each of the clubs and restaurants and asking who goes there on what night, this goes on for a minute or two).

My client is getting antsy because he goes to one of the clubs on both Thursday and Friday and doesn't want to limit his visits to one night. He also throws her a bone by agreeing to stay out of one of them. The Martini Bar comes up and he won't budge.

At this point I remind myself I have clients facing prison time and ask the Judge to keep the 25 feet rule in place for each of them.

The alleged victim objects, she wants 50 feet. The Judge says some of these places may be to small for 50 feet, while her lawyer mentions that 25 feet is "a little close." The Judge says 25 feet is the distance from her bench to the front door of the courtroom, and I'm starting to chuckle, loudly. the Judge looks at me, not chuckling, because she goes through this hourly. She's not finding me disrespectful, she just looks amused that I find all of this funny.

Finally, the alleged victim proposes a compromise - 40 feet. I ask, annoyed, to leave it at 25 feet, and the Judge has the last word by ordering "50 feet if possible, 25 feet otherwise."

Then I went back to being a lawyer.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com