My father-in-law tells a joke involving two landowners in Ireland having a dispute. Each hires his own lawyer and files against the other. The lawyers meet for lunch. One lawyer leans over to the other and says “What we have here are two birds in fine feathers. You pluck yours and I’ll pluck mine.”
Of course, there’s probably no end to jokes implying lawyers inflame disputes for their own gain. In truth, its a thought that often crosses many lawyers minds with respect to opposing counsel. The truth, however, is that the primary driver of cost in a divorce case relates to the level of litigiousness of the parties.
Unfortunately, in a divorce the client can only control himself or herself and can do little to staunch a flow of litigation for a jilted, angry or mentally ill spouse and there are few proactive tools the lawyer can use in advance to stop what may appear to be a ridiculous litigation.
While fee petitions after the case may serve this end to a certain degree, the concentration on economic circumstances usually to a much higher degree than the reasonableness of the litigation actions by each party make it a less than optimal choice for the purposes contemplated in this post.