Divorce Corp: A Rebuttal

By Chelsea Knox
I recently came across a movie on Netflix, entitled Divorce Corp. I was excited to watch a documentary about the career that I cannot wait to embark upon. But just like so many people that I come across in everyday life, the folks in the documentary have no trouble openly hating lawyers, particularly divorce attorneys.
The 2014 documentary cherry picks stories from all over the country and makes some fairly outlandish claims. They attempt to paint all divorce attorneys as greedy and corrupt. This is a far cry from what I have witnessed in my year at Rice, Amundsen & Caperton. Divorce attorneys meet their clients when they are at one of the worst points in their lives. These attorneys must be strong for their client, be a comfort to them, and also give their client tough love when they need it. However, the movie claims that “lawyers tempt their clients with the prospect of getting more money through fighting…they throw gasoline on the fire.” This is the opposite of what I hear weekly, if not daily, from Memphis Family Law Attorneys Larry and Nick Rice. Just yesterday we discussed ways to streamline the process to “save both sides some time and money.” Believe it or not, attorneys do not want, nor do they encourage their clients to go to court over petty fights.
The interviewees and the narrator made numerous misleading comments, such as “Family Court is like the Wild West…the Constitution does not apply.” They also stated that divorce attorneys can just say whatever they want about the other side, regardless of if it is libel, slander, excessive litigation, and the like. As far as I know, Rule 11 and the U.S. Constitution still apply to divorce attorneys.
In the second half of the documentary, the filmmakers inexplicably begin comparing our family law system to Scandinavia. They cut back and forth from how the United States handles things to how Scandinavia handles them. It not-so-subtly hints that the US needs start behaving like Scandinavia, but never addresses the fact that attitudes toward marriage itself is different in these two countries and the public policies of each may be completely different.
The film doesn’t restrict itself to insulting family law attorneys. It insinuates that the family court judges are corrupt and in the pockets of the attorneys and that there are no real regulations on this. It goes further by attacking custody evaluators as wholly unqualified and guardian ad litems as unnecessary and self-interested.
I leave it to you to form your own opinions of the film, but from an insider’s perspective, I have witnessed no grand conspiracy to dupe clients out of their time and money. Divorce is a sensitive time in a person’s life, but from my experiences working for Larry Rice and Nick Rice, it is our practice and our duty to look out for our clients’ best interests and I believe that the entire profession will continue to do our best to preserve our own integrity and that of our clients.
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