If you are a parent and/or spouse who is using the family court process in order to impose your will upon the other person, one tried & true “dirty” trick is to throw up “roadblocks” at every opportunity.

The popular saying among lawyers (which at one time I thought was humorous and now think is disgusting) is “justice delayed is justice denied”. If you are the spouse who needs information, or the resolution of a key issue, or a change in custody, or some other matter that needs to be decided, you may find yourself suddenly facing a series of setbacks, because the one thing you can count on for any given family court to do is allow additional delay. Of course, these same courts act frustrated and mystified when cases continue to come back before the court, apparently unaware that the same dynamic of granting continuance after continuance makes it more difficult, rather than less, to get things resolved.

The most common type of roadblock is the “I am unavailable next month” roadblock. Sometimes it comes from attorneys, sometimes from the other party. Either way, it can buy at least one additional month.  If you combine this with the other roadblocks, you have a winning strategy in which you can wage a war of attrition and wear down the other side, financially and psychologically.

Another type of roadblock is the “discovery” roadblock. Usually one party has the information and the other party wants to see it. Although there are those who ask for discovery (information from the other side officially requested) for an improper purpose, I have never seen it in a family law case. Each and every time I see someone resisting the disclosure of information, it is because they have something to hide. Whether it is an unfavorable custody report from another state, or a previously undisclosed bank account, the lame excuses pile up, and the courts curiously buy it. I suspect that is usually not because the courts actually believe the information is going to be used improperly or is done to harass, but because discovery extends the life of the very same case the courts ostensibly wish to clear from the docket.

Thus, a party may face delay after delay, where the party with the info bleeds out tiny pieces of information over a year, mostly incomplete, and their attorney then goes before the court and states that “everything has been disclosed”. Because of the volume of these documents and cases, courts often make “credibility” determinations rather than examining the documents. This is exactly why you can get crazy decisions out of family courts. There are simply too many cases, too many attorneys who take advantage of it and too few judges.