Dealing with an Ex Who Wastes Time on Frivolous Court Appearances

All too often in divorce and custody cases, the opposing party will purposely waste a client’s time and money on frivolous court appearances.  Such a situation can often be addressed in Illinois or Iowa through a Motion with the court, when such behavior rises to the level of violating various Rules of Civil Procedure.

Why an ex would waste time and money on needless court appearances

There are many reasons why an ex would choose to waste time and money by causing a case to take longer or require more court appearances.  Sometimes the ex’s objective is to cause the client to have to spend time around the ex, in the hope that the relationship could be “saved” if only the parties saw each other again.  In other situations, the ex has the goal of making the case cost too much for the client, in the hope that the client will give up or otherwise settle the case on terms the ex finds to be more favorable  In still other cases, the ex simply wishes to be difficult for the sake of being difficult.

Examples of wasting of time and money

Below are some examples that I have seen over the years where the opposing party has tried to waste a client’s time and money in divorce and custody cases:

1. Failing to provide documents as required, such as financial information needed in a divorce case or text messages that were demanded in discovery during a custody case.

2. Not showing up to a Settlement Conference or other court date, causing the court to reschedule the court date.

See also  Complying with Discovery in Divorce and Custody Cases

3. Scheduling court dates that are plainly pointless and only intended to cause hassle and expense.

The solution to such situations

Under both Illinois and Iowa law, the court has the authority to make a party pay some or all of the other party’s attorney fees.  The Circuit Court in Illinois and the District Court in Iowa will engage in such attorney fee shifting in divorce and custody cases quite readily, and will even do so when there is no misconduct on the part of a party but there is a large disparity in income.  That means that the court is even more likely to do so in cases where is misconduct.

Being reimbursed for unnecessary attorney fee expenditures is an obvious benefit from addressing the matter through a Motion for Sanctions or Motion for Attorney Fees.  Doing so can also go a long way to stopping the misconduct and getting the case resolved in an efficient manner.