Don’t Waste the Court’s Time
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa fathers’ rights attorney, and guys, today I want to talk about … I want to kind of have a discussion called … I like to call you’re not as slick as you think you are. Now what I mean by that is I’ve talked in the past about the idea that divorces, legal separations, paternity suits, any of those family law issues are what’s called suits inequity, and what that means is the court is sitting in its equitable authority and courts of equity are basically there to resolve problems in a manner that is reasonable and attempts to be fair to both sides.
When you’re dealing with suits in equity, one thing you have to be aware of is that you are also subject to equitable defenses. One of the big ones that can potentially jam you up if you’re not careful is behaving in bad faith. What does that mean? Well, you can think of it in lay person’s terms as behavior that’s sneaky, slimy, or underhanded. Things like pursuing a claim you know are crap. Not following a court order, not paying child support. Playing games with visitation. Any of those things can be seen as acting in bad faith.
Now if you violate a court order you are also subject to contempt of court proceedings which that’s a statutory proceeding to punish failure to observe a court order. But there are also circumstances where it may not necessarily be contempt of court but you can still get sanctioned for it in other ways. If for example, you raise a really stupid claim, for example, let’s say you file a contempt citation because your ex is like five minutes late to visitation a couple of times.
Or they call like 10 minutes later than their scheduled time. Technically that violates the court order. If you have a custody order for example that says pick up and drop off is to be at such and such a time and they’re 15 minutes late, technically they’re in contempt of court.
As a practical matter, if you try to prosecute that, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to piss a judge off and the judge is probably going to decide that that’s a crap claim and they can assess your ex’s attorney’s fees as a punishment for wasting the court’s time. That’s really what you’re talking about, and those types of claims can be pursued through what’s called an Owens motion and they can be pursued under the court’s equitable authority to punish bad faith litigation tactics.
Another example of where you could potentially run into a problem is let’s say that you reach an agreement to deviate from a court order for the benefit of the children or even just to accommodate one another, and then you later change your mind and renege on that agreement without a good reason.
That might be another example of where you could potentially be engaging in bad faith conduct that could get you sanctioned. So the long and short of it is, don’t agree to things you don’t want to agree to number one. Number two, if you do agree to things, keep your word and don’t waste the court’s time. Don’t use courtroom proceedings for petty reasons. Judges don’t like it and you can get sanctioned.
So again, as I say, don’t get the idea that you’re slick and you’re going to put one over because that’s how you get jacked up in court. If you are looking for a Men’s Child Custody Lawyer in Tulsa Ok visit dads.law.