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An observation . . . and general comment

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM
  • 7 Replies

Earlier this week, I sought advice from a family lawyer regarding the laws in my state in filing for divorce and child custody proceedings. I was there asking primarily for information, and not looking to be lectured.  This lawyer pissed me off.  Her main message to me was, "Consider counseling for you and your partner before deciding to go through with this."   The background between my partner and I: married for 5+ years, one 3 year old child, with years of emotional and verbal abuse.  Some physical abuse occurred early in the marriage, but it stopped after three occurrences.  I had explained to this woman my decision came as a result of his continued verbal abuse, after he promised he wouldn't do it after we had our daughter.  He lied, and it continued.  The final straw came when twice in a row, he verbally insulted me (calling me all names in the book), while our child was present.  She was following us from room to room as I tried to get away from him, and he continued hurling insults at me.  She made me feel that it was my fault the marriage was over and how I was going to disappoint my daughter for my actions.

After meeting with her, I went straight to another lawyer (male), who was less judgemental and more sympathetic to what I was asking for.  I have never felt so angry at another woman in my life in a long time.  How dare she assume that I allowed the abuse and should "forgive" him and give him another chance.  He has abused me for years, and all of a sudden, I should give him another chance at redemption when we tried marriage counseling after he cheated and there was verbal abuse then?  Give me a break.

I will be filing in another month, and am considering my options.  At this moment, I will most likely seek sole physical custody, with somewhat shared legal custody.  


by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM
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Replies (1-7):
t-jill
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I have so much admiration for you to come to this decision and not second guess yourself. I guess when you know it's time, it's time.

BraysMama08
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM

She's an idiot, and way out of line. 

I was emotionally and verbally abused.  If I didn't have my son, honestly I probably would have stayed.  He refused counseling.  I went by myself, several times [because we moved a lot due to the military].  I read self-help books for marriage.  I started going to Church and speaking to the pastor weekly.  I did everything in my power to make my marriage work.  I left when I decided that I was NOT going to have my son grow up thinking how his father was as normal or acceptable.  At the time my son was 14 months old.

I don't know what state you live in or what their laws are but we were in NC.  Upon my lawyer's recommendation we sough joint physical custody with me being the primary parent and my ex being secondary with liberal visitation.  And joint legal custody with me having the final decision making authority if an agreement couldn't be made.

My lawyer recommended it to me because he didn't want me to look bad, like I was trying to keep our son from my ex.  He said if he hasn't done something to our son then it's highly unlike that a judge would award me sole physical and legal custody because the court system doesn't like taking parents rights away unless it's a "rare" cases.  That being said, mine ex didn't ever physically abuse me so I don't know if that would make a difference.

I know my lawyer had me give examples of my emotional and verbal abuse situations.  I had explained the whole getting counseling, etc.  My ex's lawyer followed up questioning and asked, "if he was so emotionally abuse why didn't you leave?"  "Why didn't you get help?"  His mistake, because that's where I made his lawyer look like a moron.  "As I said, I went to counseling," etc.  They wanted straight 50/50 because at the time of our hearing our son was 2 years and 3 months old.

Our case was also unique because we were a military family.  So the state our hearing was in was the state my ex was last stationed in.  During the time of our hearing he had moved away to take a job on the west coast [his home state as east coast] and I had moved back to the midwest. So really, even though we're joint physical and legal, I have him 95% of the time [he doesn't exercise his visitations currently] and really, sole legal because if I think he's got a crap opinion on something I can make the better choice for our son.

Hope that made sense, I have a lot going on here so I'm a bit all over the place!  GOOD LUCK!! And good for you on doing what's best for you and your daughter!

cara124
by Cara on Dec. 5, 2011 at 10:21 AM

good for you for getting angery and finding another lawyer.... sometimes you have to interview several before find the one who is willing to fight for what you want .....

Peregrine
by Bronze Member on Dec. 5, 2011 at 1:28 PM

 I don't know, not knowing all the details and hating the fact that my divorce is happening without ever getting any professional help... I don't think she was completely out of line for recommending therapy before legal action.

easinpc
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Several of the attorneys that I met with before choosing which one to go with suggested counseling as well.  Maybe the way she went about it was not the best but often times this is also something that may come up in court.  At one point there was talk of making counseling a requirement of getting a divorce in my state. 

Quoting Peregrine:

 I don't know, not knowing all the details and hating the fact that my divorce is happening without ever getting any professional help... I don't think she was completely out of line for recommending therapy before legal action.


GraLauJon
by on Dec. 6, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Do you live in a state where they require you to stay married for awhile to see if you can work it out before filing?  I dont, anything goes here. but we did go to counseling.  the thing is, i know what you mean about attys.  some women feel sorry for men and use their positions to .... promote the enabling thing.  our kids' atty was like that.  my middle came out of her office (for the last time) and said," i dont want to go back there anymore. its like she is trying to make you the bad guy."  Plus the things that atty said to me while at the courthouse, and how she told my stbx how it was okay to buy the kids off b/c he should be able to connect with them any way he could to gain their favor. like, really?  I had heard my stbx tell our dd that he would buy her two things (when i went to pick them up from visiting with him at grandma's one weekend)...turns out he pushed her.  literally shoved her. more than once. one time in a store and i guess another time at their home. and got irate with her.  so what is the message my dd is getting? That it is okay to be abused and then bought off afterward to compensate for it?   I hope you can work thru what you need to - my atty wasnt worth 2 cents.

1likeme
by on Dec. 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM
1 mom liked this
I know how it can be with a lawyer who isn't actually willing to fight your case. Go with the person who fights your battle to your satisfaction and don't be worried about firing them if need be.
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