Hi and welcome to DadsDivorce, the leader in divorce help for men, fathers rights and mens rights. We provide divorced dads with concrete, practical divorce resources to achieve the best results in the courtroom.
As I have posted before, my STBX has hired the local shark, nasty divorce guy. At that time, I certainly didn't know how bad things would get as I am a newbie to all of this or I would have went with the Nasty, stereotypical Divorce attorney, that I now wish I would have went with.
She is seeking Sole………..has given me "offers" of substantially less than 50/50…..since the initial filing. SHe and her attorney demanded we then get outside Psych Eval…….it came back recommending 50/50 and joint, however, her attorney objected to its findings, so it has yet to be entered in as evidence. Im sooooooo sick of her attorney and her; yet mine is , well……..he is a < female genitalia >. We have, in my mind, the custody report, we also have the FOC recommending joint custody, and my STBX still wants me to settle for something less than 50/50.
I have since found out that my guy is a Generalist. I thought he was adjust a divorce guy. Mine is very respected by the Courts here. He is your average, 50 yr oldish guy, mild mannered (a little too much in my mind) and his adversary is a young punk, 33 (Im 36) and hers also works under his Daddys Shingle, so the name is pretty prominent.
I was under the impression that when all this started, that I would jump through a few hoops, prove that I am a capable parent and then she would eventually cave to 50/50….I especially thought that after the report came out which admonished her and gave me props.
Long story short is that I just don't think that my guy is fighting for me enough nor do I think he has any true understanding of the custody laws nor of PAS.
Im just so frustrated and considering that I simply want to spend more time with my kids but because of this "system" I am now in, things happen so slowly………….the only thing that continues on quickly is that my kids S3, S4 are getting more and more < edited > up by this "process "
I hired an attorney, she didn't do anything I asked her to do, so I got rid of her. Just hired another one, and she changed her stance completely after our consultation, from saying we could go for primary to not even wanting to ask the court for 50/50. So I want to fire her and she hasn't even done anything for me yet, just a couple talks.
I have no advice for you, sorry, just kinda know how you feel I think...
What is your current temp custody, 50/50 or with her having primary and you EOW?
I know the process is dragging out but prior to your final court hearing there isn't much your attorney can do if your ex is unwilling to negotiate. Add to that an attorney that is whispering in her ear that she will win and she has 0 motivation to settle. From her perspective she will do no worse in court than the 50/50 custody the report recommends and is hopeful for more.
The report also works both ways, preventing you from requesting more than 50/50 custody as a means to push her to settle.
I just fired mine yesterday and I'm working on a modification as a result of NJ's inactions getting S8 kicked out of school. A couple of things in my opinion that are a dead give away for a dud attorney (in hindsight):
1) When first meeting the attorney they talk tough but give no outline for how they intend to proceed. My new attorney, ironically my one that finished the divorce and I wished I would have gone with him on this except when I consulted the first time the cr-p started he didnt seem all that interested...that is his persona but is constantly thinking on what he hears...long story short before I walked out the door he was able to tell me the first couple of steps he intends to do once I get him the requested info.
2) Attorney replies little to none when called or e-mailed. Mine would either not return the phone call or return it way down the road. Or if e-mailed would respond a month later. So if you have an important matter that needs to be answered like yesterday, a late response might jeopardize your case.
3) Attorney bickers with you over the best strategy for your case. Yes, they maybe professionals however they are human too. My first attorney, when I was going thru the divorce, didn't believe the Courts would allow certain things I was requesting...low and behold I was correct and he couldn't believe it...got rid of him when he made crucial mistakes. The attorney I recently fired kept insisting that we needed counselors on board, which would be nice if they don't talk out of both sides of their mouth or throw a person under the bus by doing one thing and saying another. Long story short, my new attorney believes I have a case w/o the counselor based on what I currently have which is the school records and some of NJ's actions....although he does state it would be nice to have a counselor but we can still file without.
4) If you get the feeling from your attorney or your attorney starts talking negative about your case, might be time to cut the line and look for new legal counsel as they may not represent you as needed. What did it for me with the attorney I recently fired was I knew I was firing her over the weekend and the e-mail I received over the weekend from her was all negative and basically talking down to me....that sealed my thinking of for sure firing her.
5) In my opinion, if nothing is filed with the court (such as motions) within a month or two of hiring your attorney, it maybe time to fire them. I'll give you an example, I hired my attorney in January 2012. The only two items my attorney filed with the court between January and yesterday was the notification they were the attorney of record and they were going to be absent. When I got my file yesterday, there were 246 pages (less the dividers) but nothing filed with the court. Of the 246 pages, the majority of it was from items I provided to her as requested. The irony was the majority of the charge was from the day I fired her and then she had enough nerve to state that no retainage of the $5k was left and that I owed her just over $3k still. I almost laughed in her face and told her to kiss my a-s. Can you say an ethics compliant will be filed with the state bar for this one.
There maybe more that others can give but is some I recently went thru.
My first divorce specialist attorney withdrew after the temporary support hearing and it was mostly mutual.
I was fuming quietly in the temporary support hearing as he got pummeled on everything by Opposing Counsel. My attorney was experienced and from a top divorce boutique firm. Opposing Counsel had about the same number of years of experience as my attorney.
I researched replacement attorney's for ~2 months before retaining a replacement.
The runner up attorney had a solo practice and she laid out her recent experience againt stbx's attorney for a similar divorce case (Wife low income/plaintiff and Husband high income/defendant). The runner up attorneys plan was to immediately send a reasonable settlement offer to draw a line in the sand. In the case cited the husband earned ten (10) times what the stbx earned. After the reasonable settlement offer stbx continued to litigate for a better deal. In Equitable Distribution the judge recognized the husband made a reasonable offer early on to settle AND ordered stbx to pay her own $180k in legal fees for unnecessary litigation. Husband had to pay his own legal bill of around $140k. This was the only attorney I came across that recommended a settlement offer as a first step.
Here's major red flags to watch for: * If the opposing counsel in a hearing/trial keeps saying "for which the defendant's counsel provides no proof" while defendants counsel struggles to shoot down obviously flawed opposing counsel claims * you have to call to remined them to file an Answer before the 21 day deadline * you listed 90 claims about how screwed up your stbx is but your attorney only listed a few (claims that are easy to prove). * your attorney forgets to notify Opposing Counsel that you now have representation * your attorney doesn't subpoena stbx's employer for wages and other info * your attorney follows Opposing Counsel's agenda * your attorney tells you about his big money divorce case that's far more interesting than your case * your attorney agrees to a 30 minute hearing for temporary support with so many open issues that he should have pushed back an booked a 3 hour hearing instead. * your attorney agrees to a continuance of a 30 minute hearing with another 3o minute hearing * Your attorney has you hold onto a case file box while he drops off some files in the judges chambers * Your attorney makes a promise (it's OK if he/she is a fortune teller though) * your attorney tells you he's busy and one of his colleagues will be working on your case (and then he hops back in at the last minute to represent you in a hearing). * Your attorney slips in a billing rate increase without notification * Your attorney bills you for travel time to/from the court house and represents another client on the same trip * you have to tell your attorney what to do because they aren't doing anything
Good signs * They're a partner in a mid-sized law firm * They leverage and correctly delegate multiple resources for your case (intern, paralegal, associate) so that your blended hourly rate is no more than what you would pay for a solo attorney. * Opposing counsel is initimidated by their reputation (and thinks long and hard about going to court) * They start off by trying bringing the parties together to negotiate or mediate out of court * They run a strategy for you instead of waiting to see what OC does next * scope of work: client pay the bills and attorney does the attorney work * They start discovery soon in the divorce as a means to compel settlement * They start telling you what to do to get ready for your trials to build your case and compel settlement - know your kids doctor(s) names - meet and get to know kid(s) school teachers - get more involved in your kids lives - enroll your kid(s) in a spoort an be their coach - names of your kids best friends - collect past, present, and future medical/school records - any activity to show you're involved in your kids lives so if the case goes to trial you'll do well on the witness stand.
My nj/stbx cost me around USD 8,000 per fornication session.
My nj/stbx had this in mind (and still does) for me: the manipulated man by Esther Vilar
It depends upon the situation and luck also since sometimes you get the good attorney at reasonable rates and sometimes not.So before hiring an attorney it is better inquire about attorneys ,take people feedback about different attorney and choose the best one
A big red flag to me is communication...or a lack thereof. Unfortunately for me, there's not a whole lot that I can do at the moment, as I put pretty much every cent that I have into the attorneys retainer after an initial "honeymoon" period of responsiveness and good communication.
Seriously...I paid a retainer and it seemed like communication came to a screeching halt. I told her what I wanted to do 5/3 and here it is 5/31 and the paperwork is done up...but it took so long that I doubt I can get into court in June (I think NJ has to get 30 days notice...not sure on that though). It may not seem like a big deal to her...but the delay is costing me ~$2,500/month.
My $.02 is that if you think it's time to move on to another attorney and you have the funds to do so...do it.
I found my time to switch was when I noticed the Senior Partner counsel representing me was basically using my terminology during my requests/in-house rules, etc with the NJ's counsel. Charging me $400 a hour in a mid-size firm. Disappointed to say the least. I asked him for a worst-case scenario and didn't provide one. I asked for financial info: support/alimony/brief breakdown of asset division...and never got that.
The new one: from a word of a high known firm in Jersey said she can be a < female dog >! So I like the sound of that. My neighbor is actually her client and he went through hell. He told me she is great at listening as well as counsel. Her senior partner is a great litigator if it goes that far. She knew one of the financial mediators I have to meet with. She asked why I didn't get the mediation workshop stuff out of the way. Well-engaged to me. And she broke down the worst-case scenario as follows for my S2:
4/14 overnights with me (every other weekend plus 1 a week) $45 a week (to her...since she makes double me) Prorated day care Prorated medical/dental insurance Alimony as leverage because of short-marriage (3.25 years)
When my NJ got a parenting/custody expert...my lawyer was on the horn. My prior lawyer didn't give me names until after a week.
Just from my experience...having the MIL still in this < edited > house..my counsel says stay strong, we'll crush her in litigation. She still has faith it won't go to litigation as 96% are settled. Prior lawyer said 85%. My lawyer knows her lawyer...and I could go on.
I am far more comfortable, but I am still on edge as we go through the process because of uncertainty.
I truly feel with you getting 50/50..you're doing great...but I know..more is more!
$15,000 as a cash payment Sole Custody with me seeing kiddos supervised by her and having only one overnight with them per week (ridiculous) Wanted me to pay her legal bills pay her health insurance continue as beneficiary on my life insurance pay for custody evaluation that she and her attorney demanded we get; but then once they got the results they didn't like the report (i.e. it stated joint custody all the way around)
and now while imitating the voice of the boxing announcer Michael Buffer……. read the following
In this corner weighing in with a whole lotta pent up anger, twice divorced, getting fatter by the day, aggression towards men and just plain old meanness…………..., hailing from dirty, white trash town, USA, we have the NJ, STBX craaaaaaaaaaaazy lady…….
And in this corner we have, caring, yet sometimes emotional father who stood by and didn't file a single motion except for more parenting time, who agreed to the Psych Eval/Custody Eval, who did not reply to untold email or voicemails, never lost his temper, but he DID take ownership in his divorce, learned the laws, did everything the judge asked, bugged the living crap out of his attorney………….he stood pat and waited for 8 months as he went from seeing his kiddos each day to being limited by the Court to 6 overnights per month…………"I just want to be a daddy again………………..goooooood guy"
OK, now you can just read without the Michael Buffer intro voice…… (for those that don't know boxing, just google him)
She was urged by her attorney to settle as the Psych report that her attorney DEMANDED, ended up being put on the record with my attorney reading "And your honor, for the record, the report that the Plaintiff demanded and we objected to prior to having it done due to it being unnecessary, stated that the defendant fared much better than the Plaintiff did"
Her debt is hers, mine is mine (we had no joint credit cards but I was told unless agreed upon then if hers was more than mine, I could be stuck with half) NOPE…………check 1 for the good guys she claims one child as a dependant and I claim the other……………..check 2 for the good guys she gets about $5k instead of $15k……………………check 3 for the good guys she is stuck with her attorneys fees ( A LOT MORE THAN MINE)…………………….check 4 for the good guys she has to pay for the psych/cust eval………………..check 5 no alimony
and last but certainly not least………JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY AND EACH HAS 50% EQUAL TIME, with no primary custodian named!…………………
Sidebar….For those of you reading you may ask why I didn't try and "stick it to her" and demand sole custody or even primary……..I honestly thought about doing that but then after a lot of soul searching and self-reflection; if I did that; you know what………….I turn into what she is…and I simply don't have the desire to be THAT nasty or as hateful as she has been because whether i like it or not, she IS my sons mother and even though she doesn't respect me, I can show and demonstrate to my boys that I can respect their mother; and after all ……….The kids are all that ever mattered with me in this entire case.