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First Court Appearance tomorrow (CA) what to expect?

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GotPlayed posted 3/16/2014 23:19 PM

I have my first Court Appearance tomorrow early. We got custody agreement signed thanks to the child custody mediator and we are close (I think) to an agreement on some other money stuff (nothing on separation of assets yet, just cash flow and supports) but STBXWW is being too demanding.

What can I expect from tomorrow? I've never been to court.

Wish me luck!

5454real posted 3/16/2014 23:32 PM

Good luck GP! Sending Mojo and prayers

HurtsButImOK posted 3/17/2014 03:43 AM

Good luck for tomorrow GP.

I think it was aas' thread that had some excellent court advice.

HurtsButImOK posted 3/17/2014 03:48 AM

Although I'm not divorced, I do every now and then offer support to fellow SI'ers here in this forum. I followed you, albeit silently from beginning and I am glad you've take the course of focus on your children's happiness.I think Merlin is right. Let your father's voice be heard. Let your children be heard through you and calmly stating the facts in the most brutally honest way possible will get the point across to the judge. If we're all judged based on facts alone, it will be a fair world. But it's not.

First impressions counts:

1. Look and feel like a father, dress conservatively, like a valued citizen but not a righteous moral ass. No ketchup stains, clean middle class clothing, and clean shaven face goes a long way. Shows you know how to take care of yourself and that you won't be sending your kids to school like they came from a garbage.

2. Keep a soft smile to your face, show concern and sadness about what happened to you (her betrayal) but not overt anger (that turns people off). This means your a collected, healthy person, very personable.

3. Your body language, NEVER cross your arms or your legs. Keep shoulder's back, back straight, look at people in the eyes. Means your open, your approachable, likeable.

4. Your heart may be pounding like there's no tomorrow and her lawyer will try to milk that and make you panic and say something you WILL regret. LISTEN to the questions carefully and ask it to be rephrased if you have to. Then answer in the most brutally honest way possible WITHOUT using foul language. Shows you're educated and reasonable and you won't let people run over you.

5. Actively listen to the judge if he's talking to you directly by repeating/rephrasing what he says. For example, "from what I understand you want me to do..."

6. Emotions can get in the way or help you. It can help you when you SHOW emotions like: happiness every time you talk about your kids let your eyes turn bright and your lips smile; Sadness when you talk about being betrayed. It can hurt you if you use "bad language" such as "you did this" "you did that", it shows how bitter you are and maybe doing this for revenge instead of for your kids. Emotions can hurt you if you allow it to speak for you things you know you will regret like calling her a "bitch" in court or being too defensive about NOTHING or being nitpicky.

7. DO NOT look defeated even if you feel like it. That would show a depressed parent who is not a healthy parent for kids to be around. We ALL feel defeated at times because of the situation we're in but that does not make us unhealthy parents. Show that you're moving past the craziness but no way will you let your kids get hurt.

Excellent advice from Simple provided to aas.

Merlin posted 3/17/2014 06:17 AM

Law tries to reduce human existence to what amounts to engineering principles. It is about law, evidence and (especially in 'family court') precedents. It is a rule bound process.

Law is an adversary process where professional advocates try to extract the greatest benefit of their client, often at the expense of their adversary.

Don't go in thinking its about right or fair. It's about the law - which is why you need a lawyer. They will be speaking words you understand but in a context that is very dry.

GotPlayed posted 3/17/2014 09:10 AM

Have a lawyer, and I am here a full hour early. :) I really didn't want to be late and traffic can be horrible in my area. I also can't sleep anyway.

I shaved, too (had been growing a beard and now it's gone). Oh well, I can try growing it again after the legal proceedings. And it was itchy anyway.

Definitely thinking completely about the kids. But WW plays victim and is very abusive financially, under the "I have to be protected" mantra (which is how she ended up with 2 houses in a trust while I never put anything separate and am living paycheck to paycheck, which she now wants half of). My L is being very businesslike, but is clearly disgusted by her behavior. I'm still hoping we get to an agreement at the 11th hour.

In a good mood but nervous. I can't wait for it to finish. Just tell me how much a month and let me work and take care of my kidlets. I'll rebuild in time.

I can't believe I'm here. But I'm ready.

ButterflyGirl posted 3/17/2014 09:18 AM

Good luck bro!! Sending lots of strength and mojo!!

nowiknow23 posted 3/17/2014 09:25 AM

Sending you strength and court mojo, GP!

GabyBaby posted 3/17/2014 12:28 PM

Good luck today!

Skan posted 3/17/2014 16:51 PM

Much mojo today!

GotPlayed posted 3/17/2014 17:18 PM

The wonderful thing about BPDs and NPDs - they're deathly afraid of authority, and exposure.

Agreed to temporary support for STBXWW. She claimed she can't work, we claimed she can - she claims she can't find a job, we are going to put her through a vocational eval.

Guideline support only (yes, temporary spousal too), very fair.

We had explained to them that our SN kid spends 50/50 time so the costs should be split 50/50 as well (they wanted me to cover 100%).

They also tried to say I hadn't given enough $ since separation. I collected my records and brought them in this morning. They actually owe me money if they do it retroactive to date of separation like they wanted (oops!), so they instead decided to not do it retroactive and figure that out later. Always keep detailed records! It pays off!

They then tried to sneak in a clause saying I had to pay all childcare costs. My L found it at the last minute and crossed it + corrected it with pen, we all initialed it. We submitted it like that.

I was happy, calm and collected, and WW was on edge and scared of her shadow. You could see it in her eyes.

If it had gone in front of the judge we would have been forced to explain her infidelity, her attempt at going into business with OM and taking my child to the forest to live without my knowledge and against my wishes, the violent past of OM and my concerns regarding my children, and WW's violent episode towards OM.

As much as it would have been satisfying in a "justice was done" kind of way, I'm way past the anger phase and I don't want to return to it (had a fun weekend, didn't want to sour the memory); I did not want to have to do that but I was in the right frame of mind to just bring it up flatly.

I doubt it would have made too much of a difference on the spousal support amount (it may have), but the conversations would have become part of the record. So we got as good of an outcome you can get in California without spending an arm and a leg for lawyer costs.

I hope asset separation is this easy. Then I'll be done and I can move over to NB (right now I just camp there every once in a while).

GotPlayed posted 3/17/2014 17:21 PM

Everyone thank you for the support! I kept reading the thread throughout the day, and I was able to be very calm thanks to SI.

dmari posted 3/17/2014 18:40 PM

I'm so happy for you GP! Thank you for the update!! I didn't get on in time to wish you luck but looks like you had all the luck you needed!!

nowiknow23 posted 3/17/2014 19:56 PM

Sounds like a very productive day, GP. Well done, you!

cayc posted 3/18/2014 07:37 AM

I'm glad things are sorting themselves out.


careerlady posted 3/21/2014 03:29 AM

I'm so happy for you GP! Thank you for the update!! I didn't get on in time to wish you luck but looks like you had all the luck you needed!!


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