As divorce and family law attorneys, our team at The Harris Law Firm has seen a range of disputes, and various means of dispute resolution – whether that’s out-of-court negotiation, mediation, or litigation. What we haven’t seen, however, is hand-to-hand swordsmanship.
According to the De Moines Register, that’s exactly what one Kansas man is asking for to resolve a dispute with his Iowa ex-wife.
As the Register notes, the Kansas man is asking the Shelby County, Iowa District Court to grant his motion for trial by combat so he can have an opportunity to meet his ex-wife and her attorney “on the field of battle where (he) will render their souls from their corporal bodies.” He also asked the Court for 12 weeks “lead time” in order to source or forge katanas and wakizashi swords.
In addition to alleging his ex-wife “destroyed him legally,” the man argues that “trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States,” and that the practice of mutual combat was used “as recently as 1818 in British Court.”
In an interview, the man said the unusual request was made in response to frustrations with his ex-wife’s attorney – whom the motion states is eligible to replace her as a “champion” or stand-in fighter in the battle by swords.
In a request for the Court to reject the man’s trial by combat request, the attorney states that because combat can result in death, its potential consequences likely outweigh those of property, tax, and custody issues. After correcting the man’s misspelling of “corporeal,” the attorney adds:
“Although the respondent and potential combatant do have souls to be rendered, they respectfully request that the court not order this done. It should be noted that just because the U.S. and Iowa constitutions do not specifically prohibit battling another person with a deadly katana sword, it does prohibit a court sitting in equity from ordering same."
The attorney also asked the Court to suspend the man’s visitation rights with his children, and order him to undergo a court-ordered psychological evaluation.
The Kansas man, who noted in court records that trial by combat need not end in death and admitted he has no experience with sword fighting, stated he doesn’t anticipate the Court granting his motion, but that he’d like an answer anyway. The motion is still currently pending.
While the motion in this Iowa case was surely (hopefully) made in jest, it serves as a reminder that divorce, child custody, property division, and other family law proceedings can make for incredibly turbulent and emotionally trying battles. These matters are rife with potential for dispute and disagreement; however, keeping a level head and working with attorneys who have the experience to help you accomplish your objectives through the legal system is important.
Although contention and frustration may not immediately lead to sword-fighting on a battle field, it can lead to statements, actions, and conduct that reflects poorly on parties in a case. Inappropriate conduct may be viewed unfavorably by the Court, hinder opportunities for positive outcomes, or result in adverse repercussions – including temporary injunctions, contempt of court, restraining orders, or referrals to law enforcement for criminal investigation.
Even if sword-fighting ups your street-cred with the samurai, it’s not a sensible approach to resolving your family law dispute.
At The Harris Law Firm, our legal team is comprised of talented attorneys who truly care about the work we do for our clients. We understand divorce and family law cases are among the most difficult of life experiences, and tailor our working relationships with clients accordingly – focusing on the issues at hand, and providing our clients with the personalized, experienced counsel they need to understand their rights and options, and make informed decisions.
If you have questions about a potential divorce or family law case anywhere in Colorado, The Harris Law Firm is here to help. Call (303) 622-5502 or contact us online – and stay safe out there.