I recently had a negative review posted against me on www.avvo.com. I will not reply to the specific allegations of this client because I do not wish to say anything that may jeopardize her pending case and her upcoming temporary hearing.
If you are living in a cycle of domestic violence, PLEASE READ THIS IN ITS ENTIRETY.
“Carrie” is scared, angry, and is obviously lashing out. However, I am a professional and I’m choosing to take this opportunity to reach others.
I truly wish the best for Carrie, but there are several lessons you can learn from her case:
- Identify the goals you wish to obtain, such as possession of the marital residence and custody of the children, and if you have an opportunity to reach those goals without taking the gamble of trial, take it.
- There are hundreds of other people also waiting to be heard by your Judge. Unless there is a true emergency situation, such as on-going physical abuse or failure to provide the basic necessities of food and shelter, you will be required to wait your turn for your day in court. Until then, all you can do is get the court date and prepare for trial.
- Although it may feel sometimes that you are the only one in your situation, you are not alone. If you don’t have a support system of family and friends to lien on for emotional support, please find a support group or seek individual counseling so that you are emotionally strong enough to fight for the best possible outcome – a successful divorce.
- Do not assume that your attorney will work for you and not expect to bill for her time. She owes an obligation to her family, business and other clients to do so. If at all possible, borrow the fees from family members or friends.
- Follow the advice of your attorney. When she is telling you something that you do not want to hear, that is probably when you should be paying the closest attention to what she is saying.
- Do not try to use your divorce as a means of some sort of vindication. Most likely, you will be bitterly disappointed.
- The first thing you need to do is develop a safe exit plan for you and the children. If an opportunity presents itself for you and your children to get away from your abuser, take it.
- You are entitled to only what the Judge deems to be a fair division of property. Do not assume that you are entitled to all of the assets and that your husband will be ordered to continue to financially support you after the divorce due to his bad behavior.
- Shield the children from your litigation as much as possible. Remember, they are going through a divorce too. Do not add to their stress and provide them with opportunity to speak with a professional if they appear to be having a difficult time coping.
- You are not entitled to sole custody of your children. Although your abuser may be a horrible husband to you, the Court is statutorily required to assume that he stands on equal footing for primary custody. His treatment of you is one of scores of other factors the Court will consider in making its final determination of what is in the best interest of the children.
I am saddened that I was not able to help Carrie as I have done for so many others. However, by sharing her mistakes, I hope to reach and help others who may be involved in a domestic violence divorce.