3 Ways to Get Back At Your Spouse During Your Divorce

Want to know how to get revenge on your spouse in a divorce?

Want to know how to get revenge on your spouse in a divorce? Give Magic City Law a call: 205-582-2832

You’re going through a divorce. The person that you once loved, or at least liked enough to have one killer wedding, is now your mortal enemy. You really want to stick it to them in the best way. That would be without repercussions. You have been listening to “Hit Em Up Style” for weeks on repeat and you’re ready to run the credit cards to the limit. You’ve also thought about taking out a billboard with a picture of your spouse after a bout of the flu. Then there was that brief moment that you thought about putting some poison in their morning coffee which went away pretty fast when you thought about the kiddos. As divorce attorneys, we know that these thoughts, while sometimes fleeting, happen. Here’s how to really get back at your spouse during the divorce:

  1. Hire Smart: The best people hire lawyers who focus their practice around the kind of law that they need a lawyer for. Would you hire a foot surgeon to operate on your heart? It’s very similar. Hire someone who focuses their entire business on your type of issue. As a firm that only does family law, we have had to go against people who do not “get it.” They dabble and waste your money while they do it. They gamble with their clients. They simply hope their facts are good enough to overcome the fact that they have never read one case nor have they ever set foot in a domestic court room. Most of the time they spend more of your money flailing about to figure out what they need to do. Speaking of which, there are firms that we often call “front loaders.” They love you and leave you. They get your money and immediately do anything and everything to exhaust your retainer. Then they simply deuce out. Bye Felicia. We say this to say – DO YOUR RESEARCH!
  2. Sweet like Honey: Everyone knows the saying – You’ll get more flies with honey… so each and every time your ex sends you a rude message cussing you to hades and back, bless his/her heart and act like the sweet Southerner we all are. Remember anything in writing (and recorded) can and will be used against you in a court of law. So, I suggest killing them with kindness on each and every chance you get. Save it for the courtroom and let your lawyer be the “bad guy.” It’s a good idea to save the attitude for when it is necessary. It’s an even better idea to have their bad behavior to use against them when you’ve been nothing but “pure grace.”
  3. Be Happy: Even if you have to fake it until you make it. I have a story for you. There was this woman who’s husband was a total POS. He did almost everything you can think of to warrant a divorce. She was angry about it and, to this day, she’s not fond of him. However, after she got rid of that dead weight, she began going to school. She got a degree as a paralegal from a really great school. She bought and paid for her first home with her sweet son. He’s still acting the same way with his new lady, and now he’s unemployed. She’s working for one of the best firms in the Magic City. Even if you already have a killer career, try a new hobby. Find something that puts a smile back on your face! You need to use this as a refresh button. We don’t end happy marriages, we give you the opportunity to start your happily ever after.

Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: The Magic City Law Difference

Birmingham Family Law Attorney

Need help with your divorce? Give our family law boutique firm a call today at 205-582-2832.

You’re thinking about hiring a lawyer for your family law matter. Whether it be an adoption, custody case, or divorce, you’re not exactly sure who you want to hire. You have checked out a lot of lawyer websites but they all have a gavel, scales of justice, or some sort of laurel wreath. You’ve read through the schools, the length of practice, and how each person wants to try to sell themselves to you. After reading each bio, you’re still just as confused. You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what route to take.

We get it.

As a law firm, we didn’t know which route to take either.  It’s obviously, we’re young & we’re spunky. Our firm is new-ish to the market. We could try the ol’ “we have over “x” # of years of combined experience” line to make ourselves appear older, but we’re not. That’s not us. We get it, we’re young, but we do have years of experience. Most importantly, those years have been focused on one area of law. We spend each and every day gaining experience and expertise in family law. Here’s the Magic City difference. You let us know whether or not we’re the right fit for you by giving us a call.

  1. We want to be your friend and confidant.

First, we keep it real. We don’t attempt to make you feel like you’re stupid or uninformed when you come in our office. We aren’t trying to sell you on what our firm will and can achieve for you. We cannot do that. Each and every case is different. The most important parts of a case are the people and the facts. Here’s the thing, we cannot make you into a better person, we can only work with what you give us. We cannot make the opposing party into a better person, we can only work with what they give us. We will, however, speak to you – sometimes at length – and explain what is going on in terms that everyone can understand.

We make sure that when we talk to you about your case, you leave feeling like you just had a chat with your close friends. We don’t want you to feel like you’re ever bothering us, or that we’re above you. We’re in this together. Regardless of whether or not you just did something crazy.

  1. We work each case as a team.

That means you get two lawyers for the price of one.  Our firm doesn’t charge for two attorneys during our trials, but we work them together. To be the most effective firm we can be, we have to be on point all-of-the-time. One lawyer will do the questioning, while the other is watching the reactions of the people in the courtroom, especially the Judge. We do this, not only for you, but for ourselves. You see, April and I have very different personalities. We use that to improve each other. We may have one of us being aggressive, while the other is working the honey/sugar/niceties. Just remember that you’re on our team when you hire us, and when you hire us, you hire a team.

  1. We want to save you money.

We don’t want to bankrupt you while working to get you to a happier place. We want you to still call us and be our friend when everything is over. We want you to send other clients to us. We often will let you know, as a friend, “hey, those 25 phone calls last week, they’re depleting that retainer, fast. “ We do everything we can to save you money, and keep unnecessary expenses from happening. Although we love money, I mean it’s a material world and I’m a material girl, we don’t love it more than our clients.

Birmingham Divorce Attorneys: The Divorce Process

Consultations at a discounted hourly rate!

Consultations at a discounted hourly rate!

The divorce process is ever changing. There are many routes that you can take once you begin going through the divorce process. Each case is different, so you cannot read one or two blogs and know exactly how it is going to go. Everything depends on your judge, opposing counsel, and your spouse. Unless you ask Ms. Cleo how things are going to be handled, you really have no way of knowing where or how your path will lead you. We can guarantee that you will end up divorced, but the “if’s, and’s, and but’s” will always be there to tell you each case is different and we cannot predict everything about your case.

  1. Make a consultation

    We charge $150.00 to meet with both attorneys for an hour. After we meet with you, if you decide to retain within 48 hours we’ll put that $150.00 toward your retainer. There are some law firms that do not charge a consultation. Most of the time, those firms are looking for new business or they take cases based on their winnings. Because we only do family law, we do not work that way. We make our money based off of our knowledge of this area of the law and our knowledge of the system.

    Think of it like a co-pay. You pay for us to tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it. We evaluate and tell you what we need to prescribe you to fix your problem and how much it is going to cost. “Oh, your wife is having an affair with your brother when she said she was sick in bed? And, you have a multi-million dollar business that may or may not have been doing some shady stuff?” That’s a doozy. Looks like that retainer is a bit higher than others…

  2. Hire an Attorney

    Once you hire us, we’ll immediately begin your case. It normally takes about 5-7 days for us to get any necessary paperwork drafted unless you’re working on an emergency timeline. (That’s a different situation.)

  3. Immediate Hearing/Emergency Hearing

    Do you need an emergency hearing or a “pretty quick hearing”? Maybe your Wife has been stealing your child’s ADHD medication, and she took little Timmy and ran away. Last you heard she was a collarbone-protruding-size-00 living in a park tiny house (which is really just a cardboard box with some marker drawn shrubbery) with Timmy and their new friend Gutter Gus. You probably need immediate action from the Court to obtain custody of Timmy. Maybe your Husband found out that you know about his affair with your daughter’s ballet teacher, and he’s decided that he was going to drain all of your joint accounts to buy her new dance floors and ballet barres for each of her eight studios.

    You probably need immediate action to stop him from putting you both into a large amount of debt. What do you do? You file for Pendente Lite. This is a Motion asking for a Hearing with the Court to temporarily settle some issues during the pendency of the case. After a Motion is filed, you wait for a Hearing date. This is not always immediate, but sometimes it is. You’re at the mercy of the Court’s calendar. May the odds be ever in your favor.

  4. Motion, Motion, Motion

    In the meantime, while you’re awaiting possible trial date, there are many things that can happen to get you relief whether it’s mental or financial. Perhaps it’s a Motion for Second Pendente Lite Hearing, or a Motion to Compel, or Motion to Show Cause, or Motion to “Please Make My Spouse Behave Like a Human Being.” These are like sprinkles that go along the path of the “process.” Motion to Move on To Number 5.

  5. Negotiation

    You two are okay living apart. The bills are getting paid. The two of you are able to schedule time with the children. The overall split appears to be going as well as could be. At this point in time, you merely need lawyers to help you two negotiate and work out a fair agreement because you aren’t sure what is fair. You aren’t sure what the paperwork needs to say. You don’t do this for a living, so you need someone who does. During this time, this could take months or years if you can’t come to an agreement. If the two of you aren’t in constant fights and arguments, the negotiation will continue until you are able to come to an agreement.

    If you can’t come to one, it might be best to seek the Court’s help. That’s why you wait until a Settlement Conference is set up or Mediation. The thing is, if you aren’t asking for the Court’s immediate help, you’re merely outside of the Court’s eye. It’s like children playing in the sandbox having a ninja turtle dispute quietly while there are other children pulling each other’s hair and throwing transformers at each other in plain view of their parents. This could take a long time because you cannot force someone into an agreement when they simply do not want to agree. This is why we utilize settlement conferences (informal- in our offices / formal- at the courthouse), mediation (a negotiation where there is a third party who facilitates the process), or simply letters & phone calls. Once again, remember: you cannot beat someone or starve someone into an agreement. If they will not agree, we cannot make them.   So if you can’t agree, you trek on …

  6. Discovery

    Discovery is a beast.  It is the process of “discovering” what the opposing side has by multiple different methods like: issuing questions to be answered by the other party under oath and producing documents regarding anything from bank accounts to health records. You can also request they be present for a deposition. A deposition is where you are questioned under oath while a court reporter takes down everything you say. It is expensive and it’s time consuming, but it is a necessary evil.

    One of the big issues people have when they are going through a divorce is that they don’t know their spouse’s every secret. They may have thought they knew each other. They may know how many times the other person toots when they sleep or what their favorite vegetable could be, but they don’t know how much is in their retirement, their five savings accounts, or their hidden social media accounts. This is why Discovery is important.

    Attorneys simply cannot advise you on a good settlement if the other party has a yacht hidden away. That’s why we look into the depths of their accounts and their souls. We’re protecting you and ourselves. The Discovery process helps rid you of surprises for the trial. It helps you find out what their “theme” of the case may be. Are they saying that you’re a controlling gold digger? Are they saying that you hated your oldest child? What are they trying to prove? You need to know so that you can address it.

  7. Trial Prep.

    If you cannot come to an agreement, it’s time to start putting together exhibits, testimony, and searching for who you want in your battle. You come prepared with bank statements, photos, recordings, etc. and you learn the do’s and don’ts of testifying before the Judge. We’ll go more into detail on this later, but trial isn’t fun. It’s a long drawn out day where you are interviewed on your most intimate details and your most tedious ones: “Please state your name and your address.” “When did you get married?” “How long have you been married?” “Before you got married, where were you working? Your spouse?”

    You spend hours talking about what went wrong and tearing each other apart. The two of you sling mud back and forth and you attempt to show that you’re the wronged party. You issue subpoenas on people you want to testify. Does he have a girlfriend? Send her an invite to the divorce show. Does she leave your children with her new BFF, Casey Anthony, while she goes out drinking? Come on down, Casey. You’ve lost your control over the outcome, and it’s in the Judge’s hands now.

  8. Trial.

    (Maybe the end… maybe not…)

     

Birmingham Divorce Attorney Consultations Skype

 

Want to take advantage of this opportunity? Follow these directions!

Step one: Make sure you’re set up to use Skype

You’ll need the following:

  1. A computer with microphone and video capabilities
  2. A Skype Account: If you do not have a Skype account, you can set one up here.
  3.  Learn the basics on how to use Skype.

Step two: Contact us!

To schedule your SKYPE consultation, simply contact us by phone (205-582-2832) or email us at rclark@magiccityfamilylaw.com. Once you speak with Rachel, our wonderful paralegal, she will get a little information. Let her know you are interested in an appointment via Skype and pay your consultation fee of $150.00 to book your time-slot.  After you have booked your appointment, Rachel will then send you an email with your attorney’s user name.

Step three:

Log in to Skype ten to fifteen minutes before your scheduled appointment time, and add your attorney’s username to your Skype contacts.

  1. Click [Contacts]
  2. Click [Add Contact]
  3. Type in Attorney’s username.
  4. Click [Call] during your scheduled hour.

 

Birmingham Divorce Attorney: 4 Tips For Trial Day

Tips for Trial

Divorce in the Magic City isn’t necessarily magical. Give us a call for an initial consult at 205-582-2832.

You’ve been waiting for this day for months, maybe years. You are going to trial. You show up with your posse. Everyone is ready to go! You’ve had your coffee and you’re wearing your smarty pants – you are READY TO GO. You have read through your notes. You’ve been up since 4am. It is time to start the show. Your attorney has explained that the docket is rather long, and that you may not get to go that day. You figure that you’ve waited long enough so you take that with a grain of salt (and maybe a tequila shot – please don’t). You go in for the docket call and realize you’re pretty low on the food chain. Some of the cases here have been waiting for three years! So, what now?

Follow these Tips for Trial:

1. Bring a book, a few magazines, or something to occupy yourself.

Here’s the thing: divorce, court, the entire process is rather slow. You think that once you get to trial (or just simply, court) that things will speed up? Not going to happen. The judges’ dockets are so full they usually make the lawyers go talk. That means that we will have to go talk to the other lawyer, who has to talk to their client. Then that lawyer comes back with an offer. We have to take that offer to you, and then come back to them. It’s a lot of volleying back and forth. Sometimes both lawyers have multiple cases so this process is happening over and over again. Your lawyer has been pounding the marble (would say pavement but not in courthouses) trying to keep up with the other attorney. Sometimes the Judge will call us and make us explain to them why we’re having issues settling. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. This is very upsetting to some clients as all they want to do is “see the judge”, but it is how things are done. Judges don’t want a five day trial of “he said- she said” if it can be avoided.

2. Leave most of the friends at home.

Friends love you and they want to be supportive, but there are only so many times that they can take off work to help you talk ___ about your ex. If you need emotional support from your friends or family members, pick a couple and leave the rest. A lot of times those helpful emotionally supportive friends can insert their opinions when they aren’t needed. Sometimes they can conflict what your lawyer is trying to help you do because they’re angry. They merely want the other person to suffer, and they don’t know the law. Sometimes they will beg the two of you to reconcile. Also, on days when there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, they may start blessing you with their own worries. Choose the team wisely, and make sure they’re supportive and minimum drama.

3. Bring a jacket & a snack.

It’s pretty cold in the conference rooms. Negotiating can last hours. Your nervous jitters may give way to hangry times. Make sure that you have the necessities. When it comes to our tips for trial – this one takes the cake. Seriously.

Tips for Trial

Bring a Snack: One of our 4 Trial Tips in this blog… you’ll need it.

4. Don’t sign a settlement just because you want to leave.

I feel like settlement negotiations can imitate police interrogations. You are cold, hungry (unless you followed our advice), and ready to get this DONE. You are presented with a few offers, and you’re not happy. Then you start to realize that you’ve wasted your entire day. You feel like maybe you should simply sign and walk away. You’ll forego some of what you want BUT YOU ARE FREE TO GO EAT AND WARM UP AND RELAX… Just think before you agree. There are no “takes-backsies” after you sign. You probably should think it through and contemplate how you’ll feel the next day. Don’t let the uncomfortable nature of negotiation and court looming in the background to cause you years of unhappiness.

Birmingham Divorce and Family Law Attorneys: 3 Tips Before You Divorce

Some call it hoarding, others call it preparing evidence.

Some call it hoarding, others call it preparing evidence.

You’re ready to leave. You’ve tried counseling, tuning each other out completely, spending hours and hours talking to each other, secretly putting gross things in each other’s food, couples’ massages, yoga, blaming yourselves, blaming each other, blaming your children, blaming your in-laws, blaming video games, blaming the election, blaming TV, blaming Obama (#thanksobama – that’s a joke…), and pretty much everything short of criminal behavior. It’s time to call it quits, and things are so bad now that you know it’s going to be ugly. You have to act fast, quick, and with the stealth of a ninja. Here are a few before tips before you leap into the shadows of this horrifying yet liberating (seriously, you’re freeing yourself of pain) adventure:

  1. Think like a hoarder. Tis the time to start hoarding evidence if you know this is going to get ugly. Nothing is more irritating that a client who says, “I swear all of this is true! I don’t have proof because I left all of it at the house and she destroyed it, but believe me. She seriously is crazy. She has made voodoo dolls of my entire family. She even has photos above their little villages of my family members.” You knew when you left that the information was important. Otherwise you wouldn’t have committed it to memory. Simply put: Gather everything! Bills, records, evidence, etc. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, hoard it.
  2. Go see a Lawyer. You need advice tailored to your situation. Scouring the internet for information will only do so much. You need someone who will listen to your life story, give you advice on how to move forward that will benefit YOU and YOUR case, and sometimes you need someone to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  3. Speaking of seeing a lawyer, you might want to consider saving up some money. Good representation isn’t free. Do you go to the doctor and demand that they waive the co-pay? No, you pay the co-pay for them to tell you what surgery or medicine (that you also have to pay for) will fix your problem. Think of a consultation like a co-pay. Yes, we charge a discounted hourly fee for you to come and talk to us about your case. Then we tell you what we think it’ll cost to fix your problem. Just like med school isn’t free, neither is law school. We charge for our advice because our job is to give advice and work toward fixing that problem using our minds. If you want to use our minds to your advantage, you’ll need the cash to pay for that knowledge. Spending loads of money on things like new shoes, vacations, new cars, isn’t necessarily the best idea when you’re about to have to drop a few grand on a legal mind.

Birmingham Custody Attorneys: 3 Tips For Negotiating Your Child’s First Trip To Disney During Your Custody Case

Can't Let It Go? Here's a few factors for negotiating in that case...

Can’t Let It Go? Here’s a few factors for negotiating in that case… Give us a call for a custody consultation at 205-582-2832!

A child’s first visit to Disney World is… well…magical. There are really no other words to describe the experience. As an adult, I find Disney to be amazing. I will often look past the scorching heat, ridiculous crowds, germs, and (minimal) threat of Zika, to bask in the sparkly dreamlike reality that is Disney World. This being said, and not really sure if it’s because of my reputation for being a Disney freak, but we have seen a new growing trend in custody cases – Who gets to take the minor child(ren) to Disney for their first trip? Some parents simply cannot let it go…Here’s a few things to consider when negotiating this:

  1. The Age of Your child. Just because you want to be the first one to take Belle to meet Gaston in her yellow gown that you ordered from Etsy right after the divorce papers were filed, does not mean that you should take a three month old to Disney just so you can get first dibs on the monumental occasion. There are more and more people who rush this first trip simply to one up the other parent. Their child can’t get on any of the rides. They’re subjected to the humiliating height measuring apparatus in front of all of the other children only to be told that they cannot partake in all of the really fun and enjoyable rides. They end up crying while listening to the torture that is the Tikki Room while you’re happy simply because you got the “first trip to Disney.” In this situation, was it really worth it? Perhaps you two should negotiate an agreement as to when is the appropriate time and age of your child’s first trip.
  2. The reality of taking Your Child while still being able to afford your financial obligations. Disney is expensive. If you don’t know this, you’ve obviously never been to the best place on Earth. There are plenty of free things you can do to save money, but the kids want none of that. Having the full experience requires moolah. If you’re not meeting your obligations in your Divorce Decree, or previous Order, like paying child support, alimony, or attorney’s fees, but you’re forking out the dough to grace the magical main street of Disney World, you might just be petty. You should always meet your obligations before trying to be the parent to race to Disney first.
  3. Your Child. So, you may not have noticed, but there’s been a tiny theme throughout this blog. That theme is the following: You should always put your child first in any and all contested cases. Stop and think, am I doing this because I think it’s what is best for my child, or because I want some sort of revenge? Is it really best to race off to Disney to get back at your ex? Is it a good idea to mention your negotiations to your child (Oh, I’d love to take you to Disney next year, but daddy is their newest villain, Dr. Dream Destroyer)? Is your child a pawn in a game you’re playing? Our firm is very child oriented, and we often feel like parents will lose the focus on their child when they’re angry at their ex. It’s easy to do when your child is so small and your ex’s ego is so big… but don’t forget that they’re always watching, listening, and feeling what you’re putting out there. Don’t let the happiest place on Earth turn into a tumultuous memory. (I used to love Disney until I got the plague when mom took me as a two-year-old to keep Dad from being the first one to take me.) (I hate Disney because we lost our house since Dad decided to spend three months of mortgage payments on a weeklong vacation just to spite my mother. Now, me, my six siblings, and Mom are living in what Mom calls a tiny house, but it’s actually an RV that is broken down in a trailer park.)

Overall- Your child’s first Disney trip could be something very important to you. Remember to cover this while you’re negotiating, and make sure you resolve it without involving your child in the battle.

Birmingham Divorce Attorneys: 3 Clues That It’s Time You Should Stand Up For Yourself

There's a thin line between being petty and standing up for yourself. Here's a few tips on when it's time to stop being a doormat... but always be aware of the petty territory.

There’s a thin line between being petty and standing up for yourself. Here’s a few tips on when it’s time to stop being a doormat… but always be aware of the petty territory.

Attorneys spend the majority of their days cleaning up their client’s emotional decisions. A lot of time is spent telling their clients to stop posting memes that compare their ex to Hitler, Hades, or Cruella De Vil; stop sending text messages that battle those of 12 year olds’ adolescent petulance; stop hiding clothes or personal items when your ex comes over to pick up their belongings; stop talking in hashtags as a way of being bicker-y #worstmotheroftheyear #divorcedandpushing40 #singleandwrinkled #noalimony #hollerwewantprenupwewantprenup #worsthusbandever #baldsingleman #midwifecrisis; stop binge drinking and drunk calling your ex; or chill and stop fighting over the lazy boy when you never sat in it. These times can be frustrating and we often feel like an emotional janitor mopping up the mess that our clients have started when we couldn’t stop them ahead of time. However, there are also times, which are few and far between, in which our clients do the opposite. They refuse to do anything. They refuse to act, respond, or even blink without making sure that it’s not going to be frowned upon. These are the times when it might be a good idea to start buckin’ up. Here are a few of those times:

  1. When your lawyer fees become astronomical. If you’re contacting your lawyer more often than your mother, therapist, or children – it might be time for you to use your backbone a little bit. Perhaps you should stop and think about what your lawyer has already told you on the matter and think of how that advice could possibly apply to the current situation at hand. If your lawyer has already told you to stop letting your spouse walk all over, talk over, and run over you… it’s time you take that advice. You’ll go into deep debt if you rely on your lawyer to always be the one looking out for you. Of course, there is a fine line between standing up for yourself and being petty. Find it. Therapists are a great source of help for this!
  2. Your children are in the midst of constant drama and the abyss of “I don’t know how to handle this.” Children need structure. They need stability. You cannot give them a shaky foundation while you await your lawyer’s response. If you have the legal authority to make decisions, and you are a decent parent, make them. It’s one thing to shut out your spouse and alienate them. It’s another to make daily decisions on your own. If your spouse is causing a shaky foundation, buck up and talk with them about it. Be your children’s advocate. Be your own advocate. If you can’t handle the situation – call your lawyer.
  3. Your spouse tells you more of “how this is going to go” than your lawyer. I wish I were Miss Cleo. Seriously. I wish I had the psychic powers to predict how your judge is going to rule on every matter each and every time. Alas, I’m not. I’m just a lawyer using my own knowledge of the Judge and the law attempting to predict how a case should go. It doesn’t mean that it will go that way. If your spouse claims the opposite without being an attorney in the field or knowing the Judge or the law, stop listening. Ferme la bouche. Let’s try some role playing:

Ex: Judge never awards alimony so you better take this offer.

Response: You have no idea what the Judge will do. I’ll agree to an offer I find to be fair.

Ex: You’ll never get child support because I know that the Judge knows my lawyer. They play squash together.

Response: Judges are bound by ethics. The legal community is small. They all know and like each other most of the time. If this becomes an issue, I’ll have my lawyer address it.

Ex: Men don’t get custody. You should just accept that and move on.

Response:  My children are important to me. I will fight to get what is fair.

Ex: Your lawyer is dragging this out. All your lawyer wants to do is make you bankrupt. If you would just agree to this, it’d save us a lot of money.

Response: I know my lawyer better than you do. I trust her to look out for me. That is why I hired her. If I felt like I could represent myself, I wouldn’t have made that decision.

Birmingham Custody Attorneys: 5 Ways Judgmental Judy Is Judging You In Your Custody Case

Need custody advice? Give Magic City Law a call at 205-583-2832!

Need custody advice? Give Magic City Law a call at 205-583-2832!

Judgmental Judy’s are everywhere. When you are going through litigation they have the power to use their judgmental ways against you. Not only is your ex being unusually judgmental, but his/her lawyer, your lawyer, the Judge, possibly a Guardian Ad Litem, mutual friends, witnesses, and anyone else who comes into contact with your case. You thought that you had it bad when you became a parent and everyone wanted to tell you how to raise your child – Breast is best! Don’t spank! Your car seat technique is BAD! Vaccinations are for amateurs!

Imagine getting through that and then going through a divorce.  Here are a few things that a Judgmental Judy might be using as ammunition to judge you:

  1. Co-sleeping. Hey, we get it. You’re close with your child. You both feel better when you’re in the security of each other’s company. However, co-sleeping is one of the first things that a Judgmental Judy will call you out for, especially if you and your kid(s) are the opposite sex. We understand that this is something that can easily be turned around on you. You could try making a safe sleeping zone on the floor near your bed for your little one. Likewise, perhaps you want to make a no man’s land by your child’s bed. The thing is, no matter how sweet co-sleeping is and how great it is for your bonding experience, your ex can easily turn something so sweet into something somewhat creepy, particularly if they never viewed co-sleeping in the same way.
  2. Bath time. Anything dealing with nakedness is a Judgmental Judy time bomb. WWOCS? (What would opposing counsel say) It’s one thing to make sure all conditioner is out and the suds are off. It’s another to be by your child the entire time they’re in their bath. (Please note that this does not apply to babies. Babies should not be left to fend for themselves in the bath. Supervision is the key on this one. I’m sure even Michael Phelps needed supervision as a baby in the tub.) This is another one of those things that changes with age. Consider age & gender.
  3. Twitter. Instagram. Snap Chat. Etc. Social media is not your friend. It’s a frenemy. It’s like that chick in college that you would tell your darkest secrets to, and then she’d tell everyone else the minute she has one red solo cup of beer. She wouldn’t be sorry. She would bask in the glow of your demise. We’ve said this before. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Don’t post it. Don’t let your friends post it. It doesn’t matter if you say something passive aggressive that doesn’t directly say that your ex-spouse and/or her/his attorney is a complete piece… someone else might finish your thought. Then they’re issued a sweet invitation to your divorce trial. #deleteyouraccount.
  4. Gossip. Say Goodbye to that part of you. Really -> XoXo Gossip Girl. Anything you say – can be used against you. I repeat, anything you say – can be used against you. I repeat, anything you say – can be used against you. Seriously, gossiping about your case can, and likely will, be used against you. Your best go-to for advice is your attorney. If you’re going to pay someone an hourly fee for advice, perhaps your bestie (who doesn’t happen to be an attorney) with the free advice isn’t the best person to contact. Also, although this should be OBVI, gossiping to your child or in front of them gives a Judgmental Judy every right to judge you. In fact, it turns me into one. I’m judging you. Stop. Your child is not your confidant, and the person you’re gossiping about is half of them. Just stop.
  5. Drinking. Posting a photo of 15 cans of beer in your child’s crib while you’re cheers-ing the camera – obviously not the best idea. Here’s your motto – think before you drink. Could that picture of a bottle of wine with your child in the background become an issue? Could those bottles of beer in the trash be used against you? When your child refers to wine as mommy’s sippy cup – would that be used against you? Sometimes something as innocuous as a picture of a margarita could haunt you worse than that terrifying woman in The Ring.

You’ve filed for Divorce. Now what?

You’ve entered into the dark abyss of “going through a divorce.” You filed your complaint and you are ready to get this show on the road. You’ve done all the research – meaning that you’ve watched all of Drop Dead Diva, Suits, The Good Wife, How to Get Tick_Tock-Fianl-Away With Murder, and Law & Order which you’ve backed up with some googling and a bit of youtubing. You know exactly how this going to go, until you realize that you don’t.  You’ve filed the complaint & had your spouse served, they answer and file a counterclaim. Now what? Well, it all depends on what your individual circumstances require! Here’s a bit of a timeline to help everyone understand:

  • You need immediate action in regards to custody and/or monetary support. Maybe your Wife has been stealing your child’s ADHD medication, and she took little Timmy and ran away. Last you heard she was a collarbone-protruding-size-00 living in a park tiny house (which is really just a cardboard box with some marker drawn shrubbery) with Timmy and their new friend Gutter Gus. You probably need immediate action from the Court to obtain custody of Timmy. Maybe your Husband found out that you know about his affair with your daughter’s ballet teacher, and he’s decided that he was going to drain all of your joint accounts to buy her new dancefloors and ballet barres for each of her eight studios. You probably need immediate action to stop him from putting you both into a large amount of debt. What do you do? You file for Pendente Lite This is a Motion asking for a Hearing with the Court to temporarily settle some issues during the pendency of the case. After a Motion is filed, you wait for a Hearing date. This is not always immediate, but sometimes it is. You’re at the mercy of the Court’s calendar. May the odds be ever in your favor.
  • You negotiate. You two are okay living apart. The bills are getting paid. The two of you are able to schedule time with the children. The overall split appears to be going as well as could be. At this point in time, you merely need lawyers to help you two negotiate and work out a fair agreement because you aren’t sure what is fair. You aren’t sure what the paperwork needs to say. You don’t do this for a living, so you need someone who does. During this time, this could take months or years if you can’t come to an agreement. If the two of you aren’t in constant fights and arguments, the negotiation will continue until you are able to come to an agreement. If you can’t come to one, it might be best to seek the Court’s help. That’s why you wait until a Settlement Conference is set up or Mediation. The thing is, if you aren’t asking for the Court’s immediate help, you’re merely outside of the Court’s eye. It’s like children playing in the sandbox having a ninja turtle dispute quietly while there are other children pulling each other’s hair and throwing transformers at each other in plain view of their parents. This could take a long time because you cannot force someone into an agreement when they simply do not want to agree. This is why we utilize settlement conferences (informal- in our offices / formal- at the courthouse), mediation (a negotiation where there is a third party who facilitates the process), or simply letters & phone calls. Once again, remember: you cannot beat someone or starve someone into an agreement. If they will not agree, we cannot make them.   So if you can’t agree, you trek on …
  • You have to do Discovery. Discovery is a beast. It is expensive and its time consuming, but it is a necessary evil. One of the big issues people have when they are going through a divorce is that they don’t know their spouse’s every secret. They may have thought they knew each other. They may know how many times the other divorceperson toots when they sleep or what their favorite vegetable could be, but they don’t know how much is in their retirement, their five savings accounts, or their hidden social media accounts. This is why Discovery is important. Attorneys simply cannot advise you on a good settlement if the other party has a yacht hidden away. That’s why we look into the depths of their accounts and their souls. We’re protecting you and ourselves. Discovery helps rid you of surprises for the trial. It helps you find out what their “theme” of the case may be. Are they saying that you’re a controlling gold digger? Are they saying that you hated your oldest child? What are they trying to prove? You need to know so that you can address it.
  • You prepare for trial. If you cannot come to an agreement, it’s time to start putting together exhibits, testimony, and searching for who you want in your battle. You come prepared with bank statements, photos, recordings, etc. and you learn the do’s and don’ts of testifying before the Judge. We’ll go more into detail on this later, but trial isn’t fun. It’s a long drawn out day where you are interviewed on your most intimate details and invitations to divorceyour most tedious ones. Please state your name and your address. When did you get married? How long have you been married? Before you got married, where were you working? Your spouse? You spend hours talking about what went wrong and tearing each other apart. You sling mud back and forth and you attempt to show that you’re the wronged party. You issue subpoenas on people you want to testify. Does he have a girlfriend? Send her an invite to the divorce show. Does she leave your children with her new BFF, Casey Anthony, while she goes out drinking? Come on down, Casey. You’ve lost your control over the outcome, and it’s in the Judge’s hands now.
  • You prepare for the aftermath. You have submitted your life and your ex’s life to the Judge. Now you await. If you’re unhappy, you can ask them to reconsider. If you’re still unhappy, you can appeal it. Appeals are costly, but sometimes effective. If you are deciding to try a case, make sure that you save a little money for an appeal because nothing is predictable these days, and you never know what could happen.