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Not that it matters, but is my WW being ripped of by her L?

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GotPlayed posted 1/5/2014 02:26 AM

Sorry it's long.

We're supposedly doing mediation, at least so far it looks like it, though WW pitched a fit and cancelled the first meeting and will supposedly reschedule for mid-Jan.

Now, from what my lawyer tells me, I have several options that let us both control costs and keep control of the process (or give parts or all the process over to L if I feel it's warranted). Note: I'm in California - no fault, everything 50/50, established child and spousal support formulas. It should be dead simple.

- We can go to mediation by ourselves and not actually sign agreement, just say everything is contingent to lawyer's review but can still actually have the talk and make the tentative decisions. After the mediation meeting, we take the resulting papers for the Ls for redlining, and there's a small back and forth between them on the finer points. May reduce costs, especially if the paralegal can check a lot of it and only bring up possible trouble areas to L. (this is the option I'm going for)
- I can have L show up with to mediation and negotiate for me (the other party should probably do the same). Useful if you think they're going to try to railroad you, although of course now there's 3 lawyers in the room, getting paid hourly. Probably not what you went to mediation for. :-)
- You can mix and match, have L show for only some of the mediation, depending on the topics you want support with. Keeping the other party informed of which parts you'd like representation with lets her also bring hers to those parts. The rest you discuss, tentatively agree, they redline.

(I got an honest lawyer who explained me the cost structure and reasoning clearly so I could make an informed choice - imagine that!)

Now, when my WW went to her L originally, she was asked for a high retainer (1.5x the amount my L asked me - apparently she complained bitterly about me and I'm to be considered "dangerous" - gotta love foggy WSs and their histrionics). I don't know if the L is trying to rip her off or she's planning to try to nail me to the wall (but again, it's CA, so I don't know what would work other than false accusations, which is why I'm out of the house and taking precautions).

But what strikes me as odd is that my WW had never heard of these options for using legal representation during mediation. She got really upset that I paid a retainer for one (I didn't tell her, somehow she found out - seems I need to plug an information hole at the bank or something).

Why would she have a L consult, who supposedly recommended her the mediation in the first place, and not have been told about these mediation representation options, which my own L was clear and up front during the very first free consult?

Because I'm nice, I tried to explain these options to WW. But she's panicky, foggy and is behaving sort of like a teenager at the moment so she doesn't want to listen. I can only hope her L is not a blood sucking vampire, but I'll be ready if she is.

To me it sounds like WW's L is trying to rip WW off but it's her L choice. So be it. At least I won't be paying for hers.

What do you all think?

Nature_Girl posted 1/5/2014 02:55 AM

I think you need to stop giving any shit whatsoever about your WW and her business dealings. Stop trying to do your lawyer's job for him and let him negotiate with your WW's lawyer. Stop trying to help your WW. Dude, this is a divorce. Are you telling us that you & your WW discuss what your lawyers are telling you?

When I met with my lawyer I didn't waste time/$$$ discussing mediation strategies. He knew right off that mediation was not going to work. In fact, my first lawyer also did not waste $$$ talking about mediation with me.

SBB posted 1/5/2014 03:30 AM

^^ What she said. Staying the hell out of it is the only way you'll have a chance of this being dead simple.

My agreement was dead simple. Still took months and tens of thousands of dollars because he kept changing his mind.

Had I been smart I would have ditched mediation and gone straight to court the very first time he reneged on the agreement we painstakingly came up with together.

He decided to bleed me out instead.

In the end I got what I would have on a bad day in court except it cost me about 5x as much $$$, time and angst to get there.

Keep out of it. Don't do a single you agree to until the agreement is signed and stamped. Expect the unexpected. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Get it done ASAP before she starts talking to people who tell her she can royally fuck you over if she wants to.

Take2 posted 1/5/2014 04:54 AM

Sounds to me like valuable strategic information. And while I appreciate the reason you attempted to tell the STBX that it doesn't have to be contentious and expensive - she isn't going to believe anything you say - projection is likely in play. Especially if she is used to getting her way in the marriage, she'll keep trying to use those buttons that worked before.

Mediation is likely to be a waste of time and money if she isn't acquainted with the realities yet, or if she still thinks she can manipulate you. Time to go completely dark. Fix your sights on the bottom line. Don't expend energy or money where it is fruitless. And talking to someone who refuses to accept the reality of the law... is a waste.

cayc posted 1/5/2014 07:16 AM

It is really critically important that you understand that your WW has fired you from the job of caring about her, helping her, sorting things out for her. Who cares what she says about the legal stuff, you know what's what so just pursue what works best for you.

Her attitude is bad/uneven/weird etc because what she wanted was the best of both worlds. She wanted to stay married to you and live off your dime and have a built in babysitter and wanted to fuck around. Now, she has money issues, no built in babysitter and likely an OM who is scared shitless that she's not a commitment free easy lay any more. But again, she fired you from caring about that.

crisp posted 1/5/2014 07:19 AM

For those of you suggesting that the mediation is a waste of time and money, that may be true in many instances. But, many, many jurisdictions mandate a mediation session. If mediation is required, a strategy worked out in advance is a very good thing. Furthermore, sometimes mediation works to the surprise of those involved.

hopeandchange posted 1/5/2014 07:26 AM

A different experience

My WW and I essentially negotiated our 50/50 agreement. She hired a lawyer to draft the decree. I hired a lawyer to review it. The heavy negotiations were between my WW and I. Our total legal cost <5K

Of course my lawyer would have been very content to put them enter into overdrive and let it run


tesla posted 1/5/2014 08:37 AM

In my case, ex-shat felt his lawyer was ripping him off but the reality was that his lawyer was giving him sound legal advice and he wouldn't take it. Kept holding out for the lawyer to tell him what he wanted to hear.

Maybe her L is ripping her off...Maybe WW is just not hearing what she wants to hear.

Freeme posted 1/5/2014 12:31 PM

Here is the thing. Yea it would make things easier if your lawyers were on the same page but... who really knows what's going on. I get the idea that your ww didn't plan for you to DO anything. Move out, get a lawyer, tell her to get a job... I get the idea she planned to eat cake until OM started taking care of her.

There is a good chance she got this lawyer because she heard he was a shark and so she had one. Then sobbed to him how mean you were until time was up. She may plan to stall and is not meeting or talking to her lawyer at all.

We really don't know what's going on so the only think you can do is try to move things forward, Take care of yourself and your kids.

I also think a VAR would be a good idea incase her plan is to trap you with DV or Asalt charges.

good luck

GotPlayed posted 1/5/2014 13:14 PM

@cayc - Thank you - you're awesome and hit the nail right on the head. She did indeed fired me from caring about that. I just want to make sure my kids aren't missing out on anything because idiot WW went bankrupt through spurious legal costs.

@Freeme, yes I get the same idea. She is shocked, stunned and amazed, and angry that I left, and that I secured a L. And I definitely get the notion she's trying to stall. I asked her for a mediation appointment by the 15th at the latest. I haven't told her as to not freak her out in her foggy, panicky state, but if by the 15th it hasn't happened, I'm just filing and getting it over with. BTW - OM will never take care of her. He's an ex-con who swindles women for money. And she knows it. But she can't seem to give him up. My IC (who also did our MC) says he thinks it may be a self-destructive streak on her part. But as @cayc says, she fired me from the job of caring.

I'm hoping for her (and her L) to have their heads on their shoulders for long enough to have a resolution like that of @hopeandchange. And of course I'm prepared. I carry a VAR with me, and I'm going to start doing kid handoffs in public places. I want my L to talk to hers; I think it will smooth things over greatly, as my L is well known as "aggressive" as well but is taking my instructions and knows my intentions are to be fair.

Starting a new thread about breaking NC a bit this morning as it's sort of a different topic.

PhantomLimb posted 1/5/2014 13:16 PM

I'm really confused. You say:

apparently she complained bitterly about me and I'm to be considered "dangerous"

... yet:

Because I'm nice, I tried to explain these options to WW. But she's panicky, foggy and is behaving sort of like a teenager at the moment so she doesn't want to listen. I can only hope her L is not a blood sucking vampire, but I'll be ready if she is.

Gently, it sounds to me like you're still getting played.

NC her immediately and let her have to face some consequences for her overall shitty decision-making.

The sooner you stop being her babysitter, the sooner she may actually have to face herself in the mirror.

GotPlayed posted 1/5/2014 13:35 PM

@PhantomLimb - yes, the timing is what's important. She had gone see the L originally the weekend after D-Day, because I left for a hotel to grieve and she freaked/went into tactical mode. So it's possible that in her panicking she didn't really discuss that much mediation-specific. Now she's apparently insisting on hiring that same lawyer. I don't know what the intent is and I'm not going to ask.

And while it's possible that she's still trying to play me, now that I have a L it will just flow. I've been reading a lot, I know the law and there's no way I'm agreeing to anything above what the law says without my L checking it and agreeing as well.

Also, I'm not going to wait forever, as I said, paper will be submitted by the 15th whether is through mediation or not, and I'm out of the house already which is great. Tomorrow I meet my L about strategy. I'm back to NC now, it's much easier on my that way, for sure.

You're right on me stopping being her babysitter. I haven't told her anything about her L (wouldn't be my place). Just wondering.

[This message edited by GotPlayed at 1:38 PM, January 5th (Sunday)]

damncutekitty posted 1/5/2014 14:41 PM

Do you think there's any chance she's planning on trying to stick you with her legal bills? She could be letting him pad the bill because she thinks you will pay it.

GotPlayed posted 1/5/2014 15:00 PM

@damncutekitty I have verbally told her I would pay for the mediator and my lawyer, but I wouldn't pay for hers. I was pretty clear on this point. She did freak out about the retainer. Hopefully knowing I won't pay for her L will force her to try to keep her own costs down.

Though she does have a spending problem in my opinion.

Which is another reason I want that mediation ASAP. She needs to have the bills in her hand and do her own bills. I have sent her the account #s of all our billers so she can start entering them in her separate acct for online bill pay. Can't wait to be able to just sign her a monthly check and forget about it.

Catwoman posted 1/5/2014 15:06 PM

The two of you are opposing parties to a lawsuit. So stop worrying about her and whether or not she retained a good attorney. And stop telling her what your attorney has said. Dude, you need to understand that what she does/does not do is no longer any of your concern. Focus on getting the settlement you want and stop worrying about her.

While I think mediation can work for some people, with the chronically dishonest, it generally does not. I would be prepared to have your attorneys negotiate the settlement because unrepentant WSs are usually unable to focus on anyone but themselves.


Nature_Girl posted 1/5/2014 15:32 PM

Mediation is mandatory in my state. Guess who didn't do mediation? Me & my ex. It wasn't going to happen. Didn't even go there.

ProbableIceCream posted 1/5/2014 17:34 PM

I am baffled at how people come up with tens of thousands of dollars for lawyers. Cashing out 401(k)s?

What do young and/or poor people do?

PhantomLimb posted 1/5/2014 19:44 PM

Probable, I gave a fuller answer but, on second thought, don't want to hijack the thread.

Bottom line: it costs a lot. I had family help.

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 7:55 PM, January 5th (Sunday)]

letmeout posted 1/6/2014 01:12 AM

Yes let her lawyer run up a nice bill for her and quit worrying about the problem. Her attorney will also have a long drawn out discovery process, anything they can to maximize the billing time.

My stbx hired the local billing machine and she is up over 10 grand in legal fees and will spend at least 4 more since her attorney convinced her she needs to go to trial. We have a simple divorce. I actually received a letter from her lawyer asking for a pizza cutter out of the house, nothing else. How much did she pay to have that letter drawn up?

The truly annoying part of almost all these lawyers is most don't really have to work all that hard especially in no fault community prop states. They have no incentive to ever work a deal out because a judge will decide everything and it gets split 50/50 simple. So they mess around bill out as much as they can

allatsea posted 1/6/2014 03:34 AM

I think it's common place to feel that the WS is getting rubbish legal advice. I know I do.

However the more likely scenario, especially as we are seeing a disproportionately high number of WS getting seemingly bad advice conpared to the BS, is that they are getting good advice but ignoring it.

It would fit with their new found NPD, blameshifting and anger or it could be that the lawyer sees a wayward spouse and realises that they will behave their own way regardless of the advice they offer.

If I was a lawyer, and having learned what I have learned, I don't think I would offer too much advice to a WS.

Lawyers must see the obvious and outward behaviour traits of WS and BS every single day.

[This message edited by allatsea at 3:34 AM, January 6th (Monday)]

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