Lawyers need to do a better job of accounting for family law litigants’ means when choosing how to proceed with a case, a Superior Court judge has ruled.
In Principato v. Principato, Justice Robbie Gordon was ruling on costs in a case involving acrimonious matrimonial proceedings between Leanne Principato and David Joseph Principato. On April 26, 2012, David brought a motion for various heads of relief, but another judge, Justice Francine Van Melle, determined there wasn’t sufficient urgency to hear the matter before a case conference and reserved the issue of costs. Gordon then heard motions by both parties with respect to custody, access, a proposed assessment, and child support after the case conference failed to produce an agreement. In his decision last week, he considered submissions on costs.
But in doing so, he diverged into the issue of proportionality in family litigation, which he said has grown in importance as concerns over the affordability of legal services mount.