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It’s Not What You Say But How You Say It

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

By Allison Schreiber Lee

There is so much communication we do each day in writing, that we sometimes forget to read what we are writing through the eyes of someone neutral; someone like a judge. In some family law cases, there are thousands of texts and emails that we have to present to the court to show what the other party or our client said. In reviewing these, it becomes clear to me that firing off an email or a text in the heat of the moment is not just bad for your relationship; it can be bad for your case.

You have to remember as you are going through litigation that anything you write down may be read by the court. So saying “I’m sorry” in writing when you have had a terrible row with your soon-to-be-ex can be thoughtful (you think) or manipulative (the soon-to-be-ex thinks) or damaging (your attorney may think). “You are a terrible parent” may be true (you think), harassing (your soon-to-be-ex thinks), shows you can’t get co-parenting (the judge may think.) Remember that while you may have the best intention, if you don’t say what you mean in a manner that accurately conveys your intent, you could find yourself in hot water.

When in doubt about whether to send something in writing, don’t send it. When in doubt but you still want to send it, ask your attorney first. Your family law attorney can help you to determine whether you need to say something and if you do, how you should say it. Words you say now may come back to haunt you later on if you are not careful about what you are saying and the tone and manner in which you are saying it. The attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. can assist you in wading through these murky communication waters.


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Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee is a seasoned trial attorney and has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. In 2011, Ms. Schreiber Lee was co-lead counsel in one of the longest jury trials in the history of the City of St. Louis. Ms. Lee has also tried more than 100 non-jury trials to verdict, including representation in divorce and modification hearings.

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