Business Owners and Family Law: A 3 Part Series

This is the first in a 3 part series on what business owners need to know about family law.

1. What employees are involved in can affect you.

In previous posts, we have discussed what the business owner should understand about the entanglements their employees suffer when criminally accused.

Similarly, as family law court battles (paternity/divorce/custody) have significant differences than criminal law processes and other civil cases, a business owner is well advised to understand at least something about what an employee must handle during a family law case.


Timing/Action: In our local jurisdiction, upon the filing of a family or domestic relations law case, the court immediately grabs the parties and “starts throwing them around.”

If minor children are involved, the court orders the people to attend a “parenting” class. This is a court order entered without a court hearing and without asking the people or their lawyers.

Similarly the court also immediately enters joint restraining orders that can impinge upon your employee’s freedoms and financial affairs.

(If you remember some of your constitutional studies in government class, you may be asking yourself, “what about advanced notice and ‘due process’”? In this age of numerous divorces and limited judges with limited time…… fuhgettaboutit.)

Also, local rules (rules that come from the Supreme Court) require people to almost immediately organize the basic information, documents, ideas, proof and so on that potentially may be involved. This requirement is time consuming, sometimes confusing, and seemingly harassing at a stressful time for your employee. Employees must spend significant time with his/her lawyer, even if they did not instigate case! Yes, this time to be spent with the lawyer (yuck) is usually spent during business hours.

In seemingly rapid fire succession, the court typically enters more orders:

  1. Scheduling and holding status conferences
  2. Discovery deadlines
  3. Motion hearings
  4. Pre-trials
  5. Depositions
  6. Trial

Since court hours are 8am to 5pm, these orders will take up your employees time.

Can you do anything about this loss of productivity you suffer because your employee is going through a litigation? Perhaps, but remember that each situation can be different. Before you take action that could be adverse to your employee, consult with your… hated lawyer!

NEXT - Part 2: Uncertainty and Stress