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Reading the tea leaves

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barcher144 posted 12/17/2019 20:03 PM

I am about 40 hours away from learning the results of my custody evaluation. This week, however, has not been drama-free.

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from the evaluator. She wanted to ask me a couple of specific questions and she asked if I had time. I did.

Question#1 was to clarify something that STBXW did. STBXW recently signed all three kids up for sports/activities that would take place during my parenting time. STBXW did not discuss these with me, so I asked my attorney to let the evaluator know. I confirmed the accusation and I also told that evaluator that I would have agreed to put the kids into these activities if I had been asked.

Question#2 was to request documentation that STBXW and her attorney were offering me less than the legal minimum for my state. The legal minimum in my jurisdiction is 4 overnights every 14 days (absent documented abuse). Last January at mediation, they offered 2 overnights every 14 days and then acted miffed when I refused.

It proved challenging to document my claim. I am certain that STBXW's lawyer provided a letter to the mediator just prior to the session in which she proposed the inadequate parenting schedule. So, I asked my lawyer to request it from STBXW's lawyer.

The response from STBXW's attorney to the request was absolutely priceless. STBXW's lawyer basically criticized my attorney for making stupid requests and for wasting her invaluable time. Completely narcissistic stuff. She also claimed that no such document existed, even though I am certain that it does (I can't really explain my certainty here) -- so I emphasized to my attorney that STBXW's lawyer was lying and being unethical.

I briefly discussed STBXW's attorney with my attorney. She commented that the behavior was inappropriate and that she sent the email exchange to the custody evaluator.

What does all this mean? I think that my attorney is quietly confident that the custody evaluation will be going my way. My first attorney (in reading an old email) noted that this custody evaluator is well-known for being harsh with domestic violence, which is why we think that STBXW's attorney insisted upon her as the custody evaluator. My current attorney, though, intelligently (and I think correctly) assumed that this custody evaluator would recognize the narcissism in STBXW (this evaluator is a well-known psychologist).

So, pins and needles... needles and pins.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 8:05 PM, December 17th (Tuesday)]

ShatteredSakura posted 12/17/2019 20:38 PM

Hope it goes your way.

What a disgusting person to try and use her own children as a weapon against you.

crazyblindsided posted 12/17/2019 21:46 PM

Hope all goes in your favor barcher!

ZenMumWalking posted 12/17/2019 22:18 PM

fingers crossed!!!

WhoTheBleep posted 12/18/2019 07:01 AM

Keep us posted!

Lalagirl posted 12/18/2019 07:10 AM

Everything crossed and sending good karma vibes.

Catwoman posted 12/18/2019 07:38 AM

So the custody evaluator asked you for documentation that you said existed but you could not produce a copy and wanted to ask opposing counsel for the same? Just trying to understand what is exactly going on here.

Why didn't you have a copy of what was proposed?

I can see why opposing counseling might be miffed, as they are not the secretarial service for you or your attorney.

Does such a document exist? You indicate that your memory might not be 100% reliable.

One of the things my attorney liked about working with me is that I kept diligent records. If I said something existed, I could produce it. You might want to consider keeping more diligent records. You can buy a plastic expandable file folder from any office supply store--you can use something like that to keep everything together and organized. I suggest as things come down to the wire that you are as on top of everything as possible. It can and does make a difference.

Cat

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 08:21 AM

So the custody evaluator asked you for documentation that you said existed but you could not produce a copy and wanted to ask opposing counsel for the same? Just trying to understand what is exactly going on here.

Why didn't you have a copy of what was proposed?

STBXW's attorney provided a 2-3 page document to the mediator prior to mediation. My then-attorney was given a hard copy at mediation (and I was allowed to read it and to take notes from it), but I do not have a copy in electronic or in har copy form. And, since I fired my then-attorney and the mediator destroys all documentation three months after mediation... the only possible person who would have the document is STBXW's attorney.

I can see why opposing counseling might be miffed, as they are not the secretarial service for you or your attorney.

As far as I know, this is incorrect. Attorneys are supposed to share documents and evidence during legal disputes.

Does such a document exist? You indicate that your memory might not be 100% reliable.

Yes, it exists. I am 100% certain. I don't know where you get the idea that my memory is not 100% reliable on this specific issue.

One of the things my attorney liked about working with me is that I kept diligent records. If I said something existed, I could produce it. You might want to consider keeping more diligent records. You can buy a plastic expandable file folder from any office supply store--you can use something like that to keep everything together and organized. I suggest as things come down to the wire that you are as on top of everything as possible. It can and does make a difference.

Ahh, Cat. You mean well or at least I think that you do (or maybe I am just hoping that you mean well?).

I promise you that my record-keeping abilities far exceed yours. A plastic expandable folder you say? Pfft. Have you heard that it is the 21st century?

I scan everything and then save it in two different locations: the hard drive on my at-home computer and in google docs, so that I can access it from anywhere.

Finally, you miss the entire point of this exchange. STBXW's lawyer is lying and intentionally withholding evidence. The game that they are playing is to make ridiculous, verbal offers and then get miffed and claim that I am unreasonable and that I refuse to negotiate.

In my jurisdiction, settlement negotiations are not admissible in court, so this is a low-risk, high-reward strategy. The loophole in their strategy, though, is that the custody evaluator is not court. The evaluator can look at any evidence that we provide.

I am trying to use all of this to convince my lawyer that we are up against some crazy shit. I am making some pretty outlandish, unbelievable allegations about STBXW and her lawyer. But all of these accusations are valid.

Luckily, my attorney is on board with me and she now trusts me. I can't share why I am 100% certain that this document exists on SI (or even via email), but I will convince my attorney when I meet with her in person next Friday.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 8:23 AM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

tushnurse posted 12/18/2019 08:39 AM

Fingers crossed that you are going to get good news.
Hang in there friend.

nekonamida posted 12/18/2019 08:49 AM

I think this is a good sign for her to have asked you to clarify some of the documented bad faith moves she has made. Good luck, barcher!

Snapdragon posted 12/18/2019 09:09 AM

STBXW recently signed all three kids up for sports/activities that would take place during my parenting time. STBXW did not discuss these with me,

This is a real dick move on STBXW's part and will be a strike against her. Maybe. Hopefully. That kind of stuff didn't matter one iota a couple of decades ago when my (then)husband was going through custody issues over his daughter. Mom could do whatever she wanted and she'd get away with it. Hopefully that attitude has drastically changed.

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 11:14 AM

This is a real dick move on STBXW's part and will be a strike against her. Maybe. Hopefully. That kind of stuff didn't matter one iota a couple of decades ago when my (then)husband was going through custody issues over his daughter. Mom could do whatever she wanted and she'd get away with it. Hopefully that attitude has drastically changed.

I am pretty certain that it matters and I am pretty certain that it is a big deal. Part of my issue, though, is that I don't like to tattle on people... I literally let my lawyer to decide whether to mention this to the evaluator or not. My lawyer basically said OH HELL YES.

The "funny" thing is that STBXW was required to fill out her parenting plan using a form provided by the evaluator. The form included some contractual language, specifically:

Each parent will make ordinary day-to-day decisions about the child(ren) while the child(ren) are with him or her. Neither parent will interfere in the parenting style of the other nor will either parent make plans or arrangements that would interfere with the other parent’s authority or time with the child(ren) without the express agreement of the other. Each parent will encourage the child(ren) to discuss his or her grievance against a parent directly with the parent in question. Both parents will support each other’s parent-child bond and encourage direct parent-child communication.

So, yeah, that's a pretty dumb-ass move on the part of STBXW to fill out this form and then immediately sign the kids up for sports without talking to me first. But, hey, narcissists gotta being narcissists.

Catwoman posted 12/18/2019 13:39 PM

Was your attorney given a copy of this letter?

If they were not, I am not sure you are entitled to ask it of opposing counsel, as you nor your attorney were party to that communication.

I'm also puzzled as to why a rejected offer (I assume you made a counteroffer) is such a big deal. It's a standard thing in any sort of negotiations--you come in higher/lower than you want to be in hopes to meet someplace acceptable. Certainly a pattern of rejected (and reasonable) offers is a concern, but as far as I can recall, I don't believe that is the case.

I'm puzzled as to what, exactly, is inappropriate here. And if your attorney did receive a copy of the offer, why wasn't a copy given to you. That's pretty standard (especially since attorneys can charge a confiscatory rate for copies of things sent to clients).

Cat

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 16:25 PM

Was your attorney given a copy of this letter?

Attorney#1 was given a copy of this letter, yes.

I'm also puzzled as to why a rejected offer (I assume you made a counteroffer) is such a big deal. It's a standard thing in any sort of negotiations--you come in higher/lower than you want to be in hopes to meet someplace acceptable.

Would you like the custody evaluator's phone number so that you can ask her? The evaluator asked for documentation; I am merely trying to provide it.

I'm puzzled as to what, exactly, is inappropriate here.

STBXW's attorney lying is inappropriate. STBXW's attorney being a narcissistic jerk is inappropriate also. The point of all of this is the chicanery that STBXW and her attorney are pulling. My attorney needs to be ready for it.

And if your attorney did receive a copy of the offer, why wasn't a copy given to you. That's pretty standard (especially since attorneys can charge a confiscatory rate for copies of things sent to clients).

I had to fire Attorney#1 for numerous reasons. She basically sent Attorney#2 a file that contained nothing in it. Similarly, I don't think that Attorney#2 sent Attorney#3 much that was of value.

Cat

Loukas posted 12/18/2019 16:33 PM

Why is your stbx’s attorney narcissistic?

emergent8 posted 12/18/2019 16:45 PM

Generally, prior to a mediation, the parties to the mediation sign an mediation agreement. Part of that agreement is that no documentation or anything said during the mediation can be used by either party later. The idea is that such a rule encourages more open dialogue/communications/offers etc.

That may be the reason your wife's lawyer is balking. I'd be careful about extending your criticisms of your wife to her lawyer.

That said, I hope you get your result soon and that it is favorable.

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 18:05 PM

Why is your stbx’s attorney narcissistic?

My guess is that she was raised poorly or experienced childhood trauma. It happens.

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 18:08 PM

That may be the reason your wife's lawyer is balking. I'd be careful about extending your criticisms of your wife to her lawyer.

Her attorney responding with "what happens at mediation, stays at mediation" would be an appropriate response. Effectively telling my lawyer that there was nothing in writing and that we're all just wasting her time is not.

There is no need to be careful. STBXW's attorney is a narcissistic jerk. It's clear. It's obvious. I am on my third attorney and all three have said the same thing. I have interviewed several other attorneys and they said the same thing.

gmc94 posted 12/18/2019 18:37 PM

Have you considered having current attorney reach out to your 1st attorney?

I believe all attorneys are required to keep copies of their entire files for several years.

barcher144 posted 12/18/2019 20:19 PM

Have you considered having current attorney reach out to your 1st attorney?

Life will go on without the document. The point isn't that the document is essential. The point is that STBXW's attorney is lying. It is not important to the evaluator... it is not important to the judge.

It is critically important, though, that my attorney recognizes that STBXW's attorney plays dirty. This entire kerfuffle serves that purpose. My attorney and I are now on the same page.

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