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wanttobehealthy 05-28-2014 11:24 AM

Remind me to keep fighting... please
I am SO unbelievably EXHAUSTED. Emotionally worn down, physically drained, mentally spent.

It is a full time job trying to protect my kids and my own lawyer is working against me and advising that I just give up the fight to have it all just be over and "move on with your life" (her advice)...

I am beginning to doubt myself and my reasons for fighting and questioning whether I will just look nuts to the court eventually...

I kind of need a reality check from you all... especially those whove been down this path before me...

My lawyer has said if I can't pay her what I owe her by Friday she will withdraw. She is acting like I am willfully dragging out the finality of my divorce over non issues (custody being the issue)

This is ever more costly because xAH continues to get himself into trouble and my $h*t lawyer instead of filing instant motions to deal with this once and for all (custody being the this) continues to wait for a final hearing in the summer that is scheduled.

It appears she would like me to settle out of court, agree to 50/50 custody, and just have this end. No matter that CPS (child protective services) have filed charges of statuatory abuse against him which should be linked to this custody battle but haven't been by my crap lawyer yet or that the kids therapist has written a child impact statement to CPS about the harm being done to the kids by having unsupervised contact with their father.

None of this matters to the almighty dollar useless lawyer who I have paid well over 10k to and yet haven't seen a judge ONCE.

I have trusted her to negotiate and FIGHT on my behalf and my kids and she is showing her true colors.

Coward, thief, useless....

Obviously a prolonged battle means more work for her and I am out of money and I get that the almighty dollar runs the world BUT still...

She actually advised me today that I ought to MOVE OUT and let xAH move in to "try out" being a full time parent and that he will give up all desire to fight for custody after that...

I shared that with CPS who said she is a threat to my kids well being recommending that $h*t... I agree.

fedup3 05-28-2014 11:37 AM

wttbh, just wanted to say I'm standing with you in prayers and thoughts but I've never had to deal with this issue before so I have no advise to give you.

lillamy 05-28-2014 11:48 AM


Damn. I'm guessing finding a new lawyer at this point isn't doable financially?
Because that lawyer doesn't sound like she knows what she's doing -- maybe she does legally, but she seems to be lacking a bit in the common sense and protecting kids department...

So, based on my experience, some thoughts:

CPS. Where I was, they were useless for my kids. They were so used to serious physical and sexual abuse that "mere" verbal abuse or some hair pulling or the occasional slap didn't rise to the level of "concerning" for them -- neither did, btw, alcoholism. From what I've heard from you, they seem better where you're at. I hope that's the case.

Is he being charged with anything following what happened at your house? Is he facing criminal charges?

Going for 50/50 custody with an abusive man is repulsive. I did it, because I needed the divorce over with, and like you, I was at the end of my rope and had no energy to fight anymore. In the end, it worked out OK, but it did mean my kids were exposed to him without me being able to protect them for a couple of years. Unlike you, though, I was only concerned about their physical safety twice during those years.

I had the good fortune of working with an attorney who was part of a practice. At one point, he advised me to go for full custody but said I had about a 50/50 chance of winning. I asked one of his partners for advise. That guy had the opposite advice. He advised me to wait and "give him enough rope; he'll hang himself" -- and that's what I ended up doing.

I have no advice for you. It's a horrid choice to make. There's a good chance your STBX will screw up enough that you can go for full custody later -- but what happens to the kids in the meantime? OTOH, reality is that custody fights are EXPENSIVE. I've put myself and my new husband in a situation where we are putting off buying a house because I'll be paying off my lawyer for another year. (Yes, I had a lawyer who accepted a payment plan after I had paid him a total of around $30K.)

If you can't pay a good lawyer to represent you, you can't. If that's the reality, then it is what it is. And all you can do is hope and pray. If you can scare up the funds somehow, hire a new lawyer and find the meanest junk yard dog scorched earth one you can find. Even if it means you'll have to sell your house and move into an apartment at the end of it.

It SUCKS that money limits you so much. But it is what it is. Occasionally, you run into a great attorney who'll do part of the work for free, or put you on a payment plan. But they're rare.

I hate this for you. :(

Blossom717 05-28-2014 11:49 AM

Get a new lawyer. Domestic Abuse/counceling places might give you a good referral to one

Florence 05-28-2014 11:55 AM

1) What happens if you do nothing? Your lawyer withdraws, and then what?

2) She won't accept a payment plan? My lawyer said that as long as I was making regular payments (I throw $50-100 at him every paycheck) he will continue to work for me.

My lawyer hasn't given me 100% great advice, but when I told him what I wanted he worked for me. Through all this, I learned I am the best advocate for me and my kids. Other people, lawyers, doctors, authorities, because they are regular people, bring their baggage and misconceptions to the table, and alcoholism and abuse are HIGHLY misunderstood.

involved 05-28-2014 11:56 AM

Sounds like you dont have much choice if she is quitting? You should be able to qualify for a pro bono or a reduced price atty...

wanttobehealthy 05-28-2014 12:23 PM

I think to be honest that at this point I don't want her to work for me anyway... She advised me against going to the pre-trial conf. for the final hearing and when I asked why and said based on my STATE's family law blog about family court the pre-trial hearing is VERY important and that I was going no matter what, she told me that I should be following her advice and not reading up on blogs...

That right there is alarming...

I have an appt next week (free) with an attorney who does a lot of Pro Bono work and comes highly recommended and I already spoke to her paralegal about needing either pro bono help or a la carte help.

I think at a minimum I can do at least as decent a job as my horrid lawyer bc she is quite obviously afraid to right xAH's lawyer...

Florence 05-28-2014 12:27 PM

P.S. Re: Reminding you to keep fighting.

Whenever I get doubtful and tired, I read my old posts here from whatever perspective I'm in now. My ex put us in danger countless times, stole money from me and my son, lied to me and everyone we know, lied to others, embarrassed me, lost jobs, threw me under the bus, insulted me to my face over and over again. I left because he put my infant daughter in direct danger more than once. That was the CRUX for my argument in court.

Why can't STBXAH be alone with my daughter? Ask me why I left.

I just went back and read your first post ( I was looking for the post where he abused you in front of your children in a public parking lot, scaring the living **** out of you for the hundredth time( (I'm not usually a vigilante kind of person, so let's just say I wouldn't cry if this guy turned up in a cornfield.) But everything you need to know about him is there, over three years ago, with the promises, the narcissism, the hulking threats, the abuse cycle, the fear in you, and the knowledge that he can't be trusted with your kids. He's proven this over and over, and finally, he's starting to see public consequences for the crap he's been pulling on you in private for years. He's ******* SCARY.

For the court, basically whoever has the most paperwork wins, in almost every situation. I'm willing to be just about everything you need is here on SR. Has your lawyer asked you to build a timeline of events? Give whomever is working on this case the AMMO to start asking questions. Your ex can say whatever he wants -- BUT SO CAN YOU. Get out whatever documents you have and put them in a timeline. Then go back through your SR posts and put your disputes and arguments and his shenanigans in the timeline. Whether you have this lawyer or another one, whenever you meet with someone who has decision-making power, that timeline goes with you. I you got up on a stand with that timeline in hand, it would AUTOMATICALLY be admitted into court documents. There are going to be enough red flags and incidents and details in that document that covers years of behavior, that it will be clear you aren't just making **** up and people will start asking questions.

HopefulinFLA 05-28-2014 12:52 PM

Keep fighting wanttobehealthy! You can do this. One day at time, just keep on keeping on.

I'm appalled that your attorney suggested 50/50 custody. What kind of person could possibly justify giving an abuser such as your AH the opportunity to further hurt your poor sweet girls. Disgusting! She should NOT be practicing family law with that kind of thinking.

I'm roiting for you. Good luck with the new attorney!

Hope2014 05-28-2014 12:57 PM

I'm really sorry that you are going through this. I don't have experience/ advice but will keep you in my prayers. (((Hugs)))

Refiner 05-28-2014 01:01 PM

I would document every detail of DIS-service your lawyer has done for you and report her to the State's board!

theuncertainty 05-28-2014 02:33 PM

As a dear friend says:

Don't give up 5 minutes before the miracle.
Sending hugs and wishing you continued strength, WTBH.

inpieces314 05-28-2014 02:35 PM

Lawyers are free to fire their clients, just as their clients are free to fire them. If she feels that she is not going to win the case, she is going to advise some other course of action.

I understand this is hard WTBH, but look at it from the lawyer's perspective-she just might not be able to legally win the case. I don't think it's personal. She doesn't know how he really works, she doesn't know what he is capable of, and no matter who you get for a lawyer, that will always be an uphill battle-proving that he is a serious threat to the kids. The easiest and cheapest way out is to settle, and that is all she is trying to do.

That said, since I have to take the lawyer's side for a minute, I don't think you are wrong at all. I think if she is not willing to continue the fight, which you are paying her for, then find someone else who will continue the fight. DO NOT EVER do it on your own. It's too hard, too complicated, and you will lose. Ask her if she has any recommendations for someone else, continue to pay her a little bit at a time, and work out an arrangement with the new lawyer.

And the good news is, if you change lawyers, she has to hand over all of her files to you to give to the new lawyer. So, much of the work is already done.

PippiLngstockng 05-28-2014 02:54 PM

Do what you believe is best for you and your children.

I wish I were more shocked by your lawyer's abyssmal advice. But I am dealing with exactly the small awfulness from lawyers. Once you run out of money they all want you to cave in, take a few crumbs and not cry or note that the system stinks.

The system stinks. And lawyers and judges are largely ammoral vandals. They are winning the money that we need for our children.

Arg!!! Don't give up. But it is tough. I don't know what happens next but without much money in my case the next lawyer that came along was worse than the one before her.

That leaves me wrestling with xah on my own. Losing there, too.

Right now the kids are just despising him. Cause he won't give us an inch, I had to pay last year's medical bills that are also his responsibility and now there's no money for necessities. So he gets almost all the money but he is losing the children's love. When he calls they stuff the phone behind the couch until it stops ringing.

Your A may find himself quite alone, too.


desypete 05-28-2014 03:27 PM

i think the lawyer will be advising on the law and what there is in the way of proof, rather than hearsay, family courts are there to try to get at the truths and if partners both have a say as one belives the other one is wrong then out comes up all the personal stuff with one trying to blame the other very often courts end up with 2 parents both not thinking of there kids but trying to hurt the other parent
that is normal in the courts and one partner will always feel like there not getting what they want
the best thing you could do is change lawyers and see if they would do anything differently than the current lawyer.
i hope the kids will come first in this issue as there the ones who are going to suffer the most its hard thing to take in for parents
i have been there done that and got the t shirt when i got custody of my kids i had to let my ex wife see the kids even though she was turning up drunk to see them and on one occasion bought the little ones a drink of booze so they wouldnt report her for it

it never stoped her from seeing the kids and no matter how much i protested but in the end i just let it all go and let my kids carry on seeing there mum
they soon turned there own back on her because she just got worse but if i had made the kids not see there mum she could of always used that against me
the kids are the ones who will hurt as they love both parents and i have to remember that
good luck to you and i hope it really does all turn out for the best for the kids

Rosiepetal 05-28-2014 06:22 PM

I completely understand where you are coming from.
Lawyers don't give a toss.
Don't give in.
Fight for what you believe in, court or no court.
Remember the children are THE most important issue at stake here.
I too get worn down & wonder if I should give in BUT ...I'm not going to.
I will fight with everything I've got & for what I believe in because I have been the main caregiver for my children & they have excelled under my guidance.
I am fighting for what I believe in 7 years after separation & it is draining but I intend to win.
Believe in yourself honey & the kids too.
You can do this.
Stand tall, be proud & speak up & be heard.
Even if our lawyers don't give a toss we need to know we did the right thing by our kids.
Hugs, I know it's hard.

hopeful4 05-28-2014 08:34 PM

What a horrible money grubbing a$$. Fight with all your might for you and your babies.


Charmed3 05-28-2014 11:27 PM

WTBH, I am so sorry you are struggling with this. I don't have young children so though I don't know exactly what you are going through, but I know how much I love my children and grandchildren and know I would have to keep fighting for their best interest.

My father is an A, my mother divorced him while I was very young. I have older siblings that lived through his anger and abuse of our mother as well as the older children. They still struggle with some things because of their memories of the he** he put our family through. I know without a doubt in my mind, my life was better having been protected from the fallout of his anger and behavior from my mother and I will always be thankful that she made the choices she did by putting her children first.

Some day your children will see him for what he really is and they will be thankful to you too.

wanttobehealthy 05-29-2014 10:01 AM


i think the lawyer will be advising on the law and what there is in the way of proof, rather than hearsay, family courts are there to try to get at the truths and if partners both have a say as one belives the other one is wrong then out comes up all the personal stuff
Yeah I understand that... in this case it's not about "personal stuff"... The issues that are facts that my crappy lawyer has ignored and not bothered to address to the court are these (with regard to the X)

Arrested for assault
Hidden flasks under kids carseats
Leaving bruises on DD8 when she's with him
Kids showing signs of possible sexual abuse per CPS and their therapist
Suspended from work due to being drunk there...

All factual proof. This isn't a "he said, she said" case.

And THAT is why I am angry.

CPS and my kids therapist are telling me my lawyer is a detriment to my kids based on facts, not personal issues I might have with him.

she just got worse but if i had made the kids not see there mum she could of always used that against me the kids are the ones who will hurt as they love both parents and i have to remember that
Your story is precisely why I too am forced to continue to follow the idiotic parenting plan we have that allows him continued access to my home and to abuse our kids...

Frankly I don't believe that kids loving their parents means that you continue to willingly subject them to abuse... My kids will always love their dad but that doesn't mean he is safe to be with them and that is an important distinction.

Kids do need to come first. And that means protecting them when necessary through legal means. It's just very sad that in this state what that means is you wait until a kid is severely injured or becomes a troubled teen involved in the court system before you consider whether a parent is a threat to them and by then it's really too late...

Mango blast 05-29-2014 10:14 AM

wtbh, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your girls. I hope the meeting next week with this other lawyer goes well. Persistence and knowing when to find more or better help are wonderful things to have learned. (((hugs)))

Do you have some time set aside during the day for yourself? Maybe light a candle and set all your troubles aside for a few minutes or an hour. It's hard to carry the fight without a short break at times.

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