A divorced California couple now living in Tennessee may well serve as the best living examples of the importance of getting the right sort of legal advice when embarking on a divorce, be it here in Orange County or elsewhere.
According to the Memphis Daily News, Shem and Danielle Malmquist were married for less than five months, but have now spent six years battling each other in court. The paper reports that the couple “met in California and had one child before moving to Memphis and getting married the same day Shem Malmquist got a divorce from his second wife.” A few months later Danielle gave birth to the couple’s second child. A month after that Shem filed for divorce.
That divorce has become a model of litigiousness and contention. According to the Daily News, a recent Tennessee appeals court ruling noted that “this is not a complicated divorce case,” yet it has resulted in “unnecessarily protracted litigation.” A lower court granted the couple’s divorce in 2007, awarding Shem custody of the children. Danielle received visitation rights, a portion of Shem’s retirement savings and “transitional alimony.” But, as the appellate court notes, “as we have seen in similar divorce cases, the entry of a final decree is often seen as nothing but an invitation to move for modification.”
That sentence may contain the key truth of this case, along with the fact that Danielle has been through nine – yes, nine – attorneys over the course of the case. When a divorce proceeding becomes overly contentious, the best attorneys are those who can cut through the emotion and help their clients find a settlement both sides can live with.
This is not to say that every divorce can, or ought to be, a smooth or pain-free process. It does, however, highlight the important role an Orange County divorce lawyer plays in serving as both advisor and advocate for his or her client. The best attorneys are strong advocates of their clients’ interests, but are also able to prevent Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County divorce and child custody proceedings from degenerating into never-ending days in court.
Memphis Daily News: Six-year divorce case picture of judicial ineptness