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Back to court way post divorce: request attorney fees?

ChoosingHope posted 5/11/2020 23:51 PM

Hi everyone,
I haven't been here in a while, but I pop in every now and then. I have a problem now and I'm hoping someone can help advise me.

I got separated from my ex ( Genius) 9 years ago. Divorce was a battle and was finalized at the end of 2014.

Genius: serial cheater, double life, secret BDSM/anonymous sex with men and women and groups, formally diagnosed NPD, informally diagnosed sociopath and all-around monster.

We had a six-month child custody evaluation. At the end, the judge called Genius a "man who lied without conscience," and the child custody evaluator said no overnights for him.

But we couldn't use our evidence - longest story ever - and he ended up getting every other weekend and dinner one night a week - with our kids. AS far as I know he has never exposed them to any of his proclivities, and our kids are now young teens and doing well.

I finally have a SO. I've been dating him for three years. Genius has suddenly told me he's going back to court for full custody and support modification. NOTE: My SO has NEVER spent the night at my house, and neither has anyone else since my separation. My SO is a pretty decent, respected guy. We have done NOTHING wrong.

But Genius is revved up. He wants to sue my SO for "badmouthing him" (he did not, which shows a lot of restraint). He wants to go back to family law court with me. And he wants to bring me to small claims court because he never read one of the judge's final motions that says he must pay for half of medical expenses for our kids and claims he does not. So we are fighting over who pays sports team fees - I will not, because he owes me thousands of dollars.

Okay, I didn't need to write this much for a question, but I wanted everyone to know who I'm dealing with here.

Can I ask the judge to pay for his attorney fees if he loses? I don't have the money anymore to fight this guy in court. Plus he is an attorney who never really practiced law, but he represents himself. I of course hire an attorney.

Can I tell him in advance I am going to do this? I'm hoping it might slow down this circus if he knows he might lose.

If anyone read this far, thank you. I'll try to pay it forward and see if I can answer anyone else's questions. Let's just say I've seen it all.

The1stWife posted 5/12/2020 06:33 AM

Yes you can ask for attorneys fees for this frivolous lawsuit.

Plus interest and costs for everything for the attorney as well. If you need to photocopy documents you ask to be reimbursed as an example.

Iím assuming at this point your children will have a say who they want to live with. He may not like the outcome.

Beyond posted 5/12/2020 06:51 AM

You can and should request attorney's fees and other expenses associated with this B.S. exercise!

I wouldn't expect him to back down, though. Narcs typically don't...It's unfortunate and endlessly frustrating.

ChoosingHope posted 5/12/2020 14:36 PM

Thank you both!

My kids want NO changes to custody at all. I'm going to write that I will request attorney fees from him, so he's on notice.

thank you. Maybe he will get distracted on Tinder or whatever and disappear again.

hcsv posted 5/12/2020 16:34 PM

He is in contempt if he owes you money ordered in the divorce (half medical expenses). . Judges have been known to order payment of attorney fees in contempt cases. Judges dont like contempt.

So if he pursues this and files, you file the contempt charges and the judge will deal with both.

totallydumb posted 5/12/2020 21:21 PM

Not sure on your state/location. Each can be different, you may have to file a civil case to recover legal costs. Consult your lawyer on this.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/13/2020 03:19 AM

My xh took me back to court and won on 1 Issue. He requested atty fees and I had to pay $1000 of his $3000 atty fees.

óóóóóó-
Extra info: you might be able to recover all atty fees. In my case I truly was way behind on house payments, so thatís why xh recovered some atty fees. He prob would have recovered all his fees but he forgot to tell his atty and the judge that 1) he wouldnít sign the QuitClaim deed for me to refi, and 2)he threw away the loan mod papers delivered to him. (I, of course informed them on the witness stand) 👍

[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 11:59 PM, May 14th (Thursday)]

Catwoman posted 5/13/2020 06:37 AM

He wants to sue my SO for "badmouthing him" (he did not, which shows a lot of restraint).

I don't think this will fly--it would come under "frivolous" and likely be dismissed out of hand. You are certainly entitled to have a social life, and unless your SO is running a cathouse, a meth lab or has a string of offenses as long as your driveway, he has very little here.

He wants to go back to family law court with me.


Under what provision of the MSA? Have circumstances changed so that he can petition for a modification? He can't just do it because he feels like it.

And he wants to bring me to small claims court because he never read one of the judge's final motions that says he must pay for half of medical expenses for our kids and claims he does not.

Small claims court wouldn't have jurisdiction over a marital settlement--he would have to file in family court for contempt. If he is in violation of the MSA, he will be ordered to pay.

So we are fighting over who pays sports team fees - I will not, because he owes me thousands of dollars.

What does your MSA say about extracurricular activities and how payment is split? If you don't have anything in your MSA, this could be a problem.

Can I ask the judge to pay for his attorney fees if he loses?

Absolutely. In fact, this is in my MSA specifically--if one party takes the other to court on contempt charges, the party in contempt pays all attorney fees.

Can I tell him in advance I am going to do this? I'm hoping it might slow down this circus if he knows he might lose.

You know him better than we do, but I'm not sure this would work, especially if he is "ramped up."

Cat

ExiledfromNY posted 5/13/2020 10:39 AM

I work in a law firm that does family law in Mass and RI. In my experience being awarded attorneys fees is not common but like another poster said above, if you annoy the right judge with a frivolous contempt motion, youíre more likely to get those fees. It doesnít hurt to ask your attorney to request fees. And if itís important to you keep after your attorney to make sure thatís itís what you are pushing for. Most of the time the claim is just dismissed without fees though

Beyond posted 5/13/2020 15:37 PM

P.S.

CH, I meant to mention this book, if you don't already have it:

"Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder," by Eddy and Kreger.

It was (and remains) a tremendous help to my BFF who divorced her NPDWH.

ChoosingHope posted 5/14/2020 22:56 PM

Wow, Cat thank you. Good advice. Made me stop and breathe. You probably don't remember me from six or so years ago when I posted here all the time. But I've always appreciated your posts.

Homewrecked, I remember you too!

Cat, you raise all good points. My ex literally hired an ambulance chaser attorney (radio ads: have you been in an accident, then call xxxx law firm and get the money you deserve....) who sent my SO a letter yesterday. It basically said that my SO was harassing my ex by saying mean things about him.

But my SO hasn't done this. I am 100 percent certain.

My SO immediately called his divorce attorney and had a consult. She said it was garbage, there was nothing of substance in it, and that he should ignore it. She was appalled. She said to wait to see if he files something.

I'm embarrassed that I've dragged SO into this mess of mine. I really am. I still carry around a lot of the shame for my ex and how I was so stupid not to see it all coming. But I'll carry on.

Genius has some ulterior motive, I know. I just can't figure it out yet, nine years after our separation. His brain works in way more devious ways than mine does. I assume he's using this to try to say my kids can't be around SO so therefore he doesn't have to pay CS and indefinite alimony (yes, I have indefinite alimony because the judge was so disgusted with Genius after a three-day trial).

Beyond - thank you for the book suggestion! I read SPLITTING in 2012!!!! BEST book ever, and an absolute playbook for Genius. When I first read it, I thought it was impossible for Genius to go as far as the examples in the book. Well, three years later I knew the book could have a few more chapters written especially about him.

Exiled, thank you for the real-life explanation of how things really work.

Everyone else, thank you. I have a feeling this is just a beginning, not an end. As Cat once wrote to me: "He won't be happy until you're living in a box on the street."

Maybe SO can live in the box next door.

Catwoman posted 5/15/2020 06:13 AM

My ex literally hired an ambulance chaser attorney (radio ads: have you been in an accident, then call xxxx law firm and get the money you deserve....) who sent my SO a letter yesterday. It basically said that my SO was harassing my ex by saying mean things about him.

This isn't likely going anywhere. First of all, family court judges know the bar and they know who is on the up-and-up and who is, well, scum. This individual will have very little credibility with a family court judge. And that's not getting into the "meat" (cough-cough) of his argument. Your SO is entitled to an opinion. Unless his "bad-mouthing" (cough-cough) has resulted in direct injury (hard to prove), he has NOTHING to stand on. NOTHING. I wouldn't worry about this.

If his argument is that the kids shouldn't be around your SO, that's not going to fly. Unless your SO is running a meth lab or something, he is NOT a danger to the children and you ARE entitled to a social life.

Unless and until a lawsuit is served to you, don't borrow trouble. There's enough trouble in this world right now. Enjoy your kids, enjoy your SO (I haven't seen mine since March due to me being immuno-compromised and him going in to work every day) and BREATHE.

Cat

PS: I will share this with you to show you how REAL people behave. When I moved, apparently, the person (don't know who) who moved the appliances didn't shut off the water to the refrigerator ice maker. Since the people who bought my house didn't move in for several months, they didn't notice the damage. So there was a lawsuit. I found out that SO (because he was there that day) was subpoenaed to give a deposition. I was MORTIFIED. SO found it to be a hoot (he is an attorney). My ex would NEVER had let that go--he would have blamed me forever. SO saw it as a lark and didn't give it a second thought. I've never had that with a partner.

[This message edited by Catwoman at 6:14 AM, May 15th (Friday)]

ChoosingHope posted 5/15/2020 23:51 PM

Thank you, Cat. I hope you're right. Genius has a way of creating devastating, destructive chaos wherever he goes. But that is very good news about how family court judges know the attorneys.

By the way, Genius is an attorney who represented himself during our three-year divorce. It was insanity. So maybe anything is better than that. I guess I'll find out.

I like your water story very much - it made me smile. MY SO is an attorney too, and I have to say that I'm amazed at the calm way he's handled all these personal attacks by Genius. I keep wanting to apologize to him, but he doesn't expect any apology. He knows it's not my fault. Thanks to my marriage for 15 years, I always thinks everything will think everything's my fault. Having a supportive partner is really different. I hope you see yours soon.

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