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Lawyer Thinks She Has an Anger Issue

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Hello Chump Lady,

My D-day was October 2019, I found you early and you have helped me keep sane.

I have three children. At D-Day they were 8, 6 and 3. He had been having an affair for over a year with a ho-worker. I thought he was depressed and I was doing a samba of a pick me dance.

Anyway, I need advice.

I live in Northern Ireland and he has initiated children’s court to get more access to the children. He sees the children twice a week at the moment. He thought he could have me waiting at home with his darling children until I found out. Consequences hurt.

I had a Zoom call with my barrister last week. I was shocked at her statements, which included I’m “weaponising the children to try and hurt my soon to be ex.” I have “anger issues.” I need to go see a GP. I’m going to traumatise the children which will be harder for me to deal with when they are teenagers. If the court views me as hostile I could lose residency of the children.

You could have picked me off the floor. Thank God I was a year post D-day. My question is — was this advice to try and get me to take mediation seriously? Or again am I being abused, but this time by someone I’m paying a large amount of money to?

I have not spoken to Fuckwit since D-Day, thanks to your advice of No Contact. I just walked away from the crazy. Therefore I’ve conducted myself well, displaying no anger issues.

Any advice on mediation? He was rarely at home when he lived here. I hate the thought of losing more time with my children. I’m a nursery school teacher and I live for them.

Doubtful Chump

Dear Doubtful Chump,

Is there some reason you chose this lawyer? Has she been a good lawyer to you in other ways? Because while I think she’s probably correct to caution you about how you may be perceived in court, it’s quite another thing to make personal judgements about your future parenting relationship, or how you’re coping with trauma. (Yes, being cheated on and suddenly left primary care of 3 children is traumatic.)

I would break this down and start asking some questions, stat.

1.) What am I doing specifically that leads you to believe I am “weaponizing” the children?

2.) Is this your observation of me, or is this what’s being charged from my ex?

3.) My perception is that I have conducted myself well, gone no contact, and have not displayed hostility, despite a very heart-breaking set of circumstances. What emotional reactions have you witnessed that you think are harmful/counterproductive? Or are you warning me NOT to have such emotional reactions in court/mediation?

Next, consider how your lawyer might reply and have some answers for that.

1. ) Weaponization. Your lawyer might want you to state certain things you find obvious, like “I don’t object to Fred having time with the children.” Then expand: It’s the amount of time and oversight that’s at question.

“It’s not vindictive of me to want primary custody. It’s what’s Best for the Children.”

Then you document, document, document why that is. (The time you spend with them, versus what he does. If you take them to school, doctors, activities. All of it.) The courts concern is What’s Best for the Children. Everything has to be seen from that lens. Including your criticisms of your ex.

I.e., thousands in unpaid child support does not make him an asshole (IT DOES), but it’s Not Best For the Children (to not have dental coverage, food, school books, etc.)

See how that works?

2.) Anger. Mr. CL (a trial lawyer) deals with upset people in court as a profession. People who have been unjustly fired, discriminated, maimed, injured. You get the idea. He tells them that the other side will try and paint them as unreasonable and angry. Insane and unhinged. Your JOB is to NOT be any of the things they allege. EVEN IF IT IS PATENTLY RIDICULOUS. Like, of course you’re upset that the assembly line malfunctioned and tore off your hand! But nope, in court, he with the coolest head wins.

So, of COURSE you’re furious your husband bailed on his family for a co-worker. But in mediation? Nope, we’re chill. It’s all business about who is best qualified to raise these kids and be the sane parent.

If you’re accused of anger? Have some stock replies. “Yes, that was upsetting. But I’m focused now on rebuilding a stable home for my children, who’ve been put through a lot.” (Left unsaid, THAT HE PUT THEM THROUGH.)

If therapy is recommended, do therapy! “I am only too glad to learn ways to deal with this difficult life change and become a stronger parent.”

As my lawyer once told me — court is a dog and pony show. Judges don’t really want to know all your messy shit. They want to make snap decisions about who looks sane and reasonable.

Is that FAIR, when you’re dealing with an INSANE and UNREASONABLE situation? NO. No it is not.

But it’s the shit sandwich we choke down for our children, to be given the right to do what it is we have been doing all along — being the show-up parent.

So, comb your hair, put on your best outfit, and your poker face. Come armed with documentation and REPRESENT for the chump team.

3.) Hostility. Does your lawyer have some Esther Perel delusions that you should be friends with your ex? Is she concerned that you will malign your ex by telling the truth, that dad had an affair?

Figure out what is going on there. Again, come armed with a script.

“My children are well-aware their father cheated, because he left for his girlfriend. I’m not maligning him by acknowledging their reality.”

Remember, no editorializing (Dad is a fuckwit). Just acknowledge reality (Dad has a girlfriend.) If you’re in one of those bizarro worlds where even acknowledging the basic facts of the divorce is verboten, then take your lawyer’s advice and shut up about it until the custody is SETTLED.

(We have a lot of work to do, CN, on changing the narrative.)

I’m going to traumatise the children which will be harder for me to deal with when they are teenagers.

You tell your lawyer “This shit my husband put me through is traumatizing. I am dealing with it the best I can and showing up for my kids. Have you lived this?”

Being abandoned is traumatizing. Being left with more responsibility than you fear your can handle on a nursery school salary is traumatizing. Explaining why dad is checked out is traumatizing. Having to go to family court to fight for your parental rights is traumatizing.

If your lawyer cannot understand how DIFFICULT this is for you, if it doesn’t feel like she’s on YOUR TEAM, then you need a new lawyer.

A good lawyer is not someone who is going to agree with you all the time — lawyers do tell us difficult things we need to hear (i.e., court is a dog and pony show. No one cares about your pain. Don’t bad mouth your ex, even if he’s a fuckwit.)

You don’t want to be that person who slops grief on her kids, or crushes small cities underfoot with her Bitterness. (That cartoon is me.)

But you do want a lawyer who GETS IT. And delivers hard messages with compassion.

Push back and find out what kind of lawyer you have.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Wow, this is YOUR lawyer. There is no harm in switching lawyer. I did it.

    Make sure that if you ask all these questions, you do so ‘off the clock’. Approach the secretary and say you have some concerns you wish to discuss off the clock as even if you email or phone her to say you want a discussion, you’ll be charged for that too.

    Your lawyer should be acting in your best interests and giving advice to support you. It sounds like they are not. Give them an opportunity by all means to explain, but a lawyer once chosen is not a sunk cost you must stick to. You can move to another practice.

  • Don’t ever be afraid to change lawyers. I changed lawyers this year and am glad. I am paying big money for a legal guardian angel, and I need to feel legal guardian-angel-ed in a very big way after what happened to me and my daughter.

    If it’s not working for you, it’s not working for you. Like leaving a cheater, hold out for a lawyer whom you feel trust and safety with.

    • When I asked to speak to the former mediator privately to tell him that the traitor routinely threatens to sell the business as a control tactic, he cut me off and boomed at me, “Why did you stay?!” (In the marriage). He said, “you’ve both done stupid things.” He ignored the email
      I sent after that comment, telling him it was out of line. Never apologized. He said in a session that both people are responsible for a marriage ending and anyone who doesn’t understand that is a narcissist. He once said it looked like I had lost weight. (?!!)

      I am trying to get rid of assholes, not collect them. I am grateful the traitor also had issues with him and agreed to find someone else. We are now using an awesome woman I found who has a background in corporate law (we have a business).

      If you have the slightest feeling that your lawyer is not in your corner, use the launch codes.

      • “I am trying to get rid of assholes, not collect them.”

        Obvious, simple but brilliant!
        |
        I’m on atty #3 and wish I had the money, energy, time to find #4.

        #1 refused to produce a letter of engagement and bill (female)
        #2 a sadistic narcissist (female)
        #3 swung the pendulum the opposite way – quiet as a church mouse but squeaks out the most anti-client statements now and then – most recently that now is a great time to settle alimony and then sell the house (because my business tanked and I’m collecting minimal PUA) because I can get more alimony and he can ask for a modification down the road. Wait, PUA is ending and may not restart, and even if it does, it’s temporary, and you want me to set up alimony on a higher amount that’ll be gone in a few weeks? Whaaaa?

        Just stupid shit they say.

        Well, in the US attorneys are NOT beholden to their clients. That is widely thought. Their allegiance is with the court system and the judges. They will lie, mostly by omission, to get you to move along even if it’s not in your best interest.

        • In Cook County, divorce attorneys’ allegiance is with their own bank accounts and each other. I’ve been doing this dance for 11 years. The last unnecessary litigation Fuckwit started took 17 months to be decided. In my favor. Again. My friend has spent 27 months trying to collect from her deadbeat ex. Justice is just a warm fuzzy feeling my attorney enjoys in his Gold Coast townhouse.

            • Not far from me Susie Lee. When my youngest graduates HS I’m leaving this dysfunctional county and state as part of cutting unhealthy relationships from my life.

              • Best of luck. The state has changed a lot, as has most of them I guess.

                I went to Proviso West my first two years of HS, then we moved back to Indy and I graduated from HS there.

                Now I am in the deep south, due to my work. Am retired now, but we stayed.

              • You and me both. I’ve got 12 years until I can escape Illinois unless some other miracle occurs.

            • I’m in Cook too. My lawyer was okay, but I didn’t really need all that much. ex didn’t get his own attorney so I ended up keeping all my stuff in the divorce.

      • He called YOU a narcissist? Wow, what an kook. It sounds like he was a fuckwit himself and projecting massively.

        ITA, your lawyer needs to be 100% on your team. The last thing we need is blameshifting from our own lawyers. Her lawyer has some kind of bias that’s getting in the way of her objectivity. It likely means she won’t fight for her the way she should.

    • 100% to this.

      My dad’s siblings sued him a few years ago in a bid to get guardianship over my grandmother and ransack her estate. These people had already abused my grandmother for years and then abandoned her, and now they were back for more.

      Dad’s first lawyer just Did Not Understand. Didn’t understand how abuse works, didn’t understand the particularities of family law or how domestic violence is treated by family court, didn’t want to take action on time-sensitive things. She didn’t even want to respond to the suit!

      Dad quickly fired her and hired a litigator with 30 years’ experience defending corporations. The guy was a shark, and it made all the difference in the courtroom.

  • Of all the disappointments I had in my divorce, one of the worst was realizing my lawyers sucked.

    I had already paid them money I borrowed from my sister b/c the DOCTOR literally blocked me from bank accounts. (Oh yes, “judges frown on that” but they DO NOTHING to get the money back if your lawyer believes the ex “paid bills” with it and is too lazy to track it down ) – and YES defrauding a spouse out of funds from a joint account should be a crime BUT IT IS NOT –

    I had been hospitalized with encephalitis when DDay happened and was still too cognitively impaired to know wtf was happening. It’s a huge regret.

    I could list the things they did that were barely minimal and just above legal malpractice (and I’m a lawyer so I’m not saying this lightly). But I’ll spare you. It’ll just trigger me.

    Get the feistiest lawyer WHO FOLLOWS THRU, not one who just talks a big game, make sure they are READY and WILLING to go to trial and ask how often that happens for THEM (specifically) and

    if you need to change lawyers, DO IT ASAP before you have even more sunk costs.

    Otherwise you could be staying with a fuckwit lawyer the way some of us stayed with FW cheaters — too long — sunk costs, blah blah blah

    But do as CL says – make sure you are hearing what she’s telling you accurately and not with a shield of fury. She MIGHT be giving you sound advice, but then again….

    • Girlfriend! Pretty sure I know you from another site, was wondering how you were doing. Stop by and say hi to kml.

      • KML (!!!)

        NO MORE CHUMPING

        I Can’t get back there because the DOCTOR found my password and changed the email and the site was just ridiculous about their security (or lack thereof).

        Plus I feel like it’s a cult I was a part of. The whole RIC stole years of my life and I allowed it.

        But I’m glad you found yourself HERE!

        • Hey girl. Glad to see you around. I’m good – just reading here for a little humor, definitely not chumping. Started dating a new guy 2 1/2 years ago, 3 months after we started dating he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (nonsmoker). Been helping him, he had a 6 month median survival but he’s still here 2 1/2 years later. He’ll still die of this but not today, maybe not even for another year. It definitely teaches you to live in the moment.

          • NoMoreChumping

            KML I hope we can figure out a way to connect – but when I went to the RIC where we met & I wasted years of my life, it triggered me massively.

            • Hmmmmm. Maybe you can find me in FB if you search YouTube for Damn I Wish I Was A Man and then search that artist’s newer videos for percussionists. (Not the same name as in RIC )

  • Most lawyers are like everyone else and believe the whole two sides to every story crap and most divorces are not a surprise to either party althoughone party may not want it.

    My lawyer was sure i was overly negative because almost all divorces start w some hostility and emotion esp if you were blind sided by cheating. But things “calm down”.

    It took seeing him in actuon for 3 months and the ridiculous mediation for her to accept i was right.

    Find a lawyer that gets high conflict bc thats what almost all of us end up with.

    • Her lawyer talks like her ex cheater. If DC really had anger issues, somebody in her nursery would have noticed by now. She works with small children!!! You can’t do that for long with anger issues.

      Most probably the problem is that DC behaves against cultural (and her ex’s) expectations. Rather than staying at home, crying, pinning for him and waiting that he comes to his senses like a little Irish woman, she ditched him immediately (though it’d be good if she told us how to go NC with 3 children).

      When he starts sadz about not seeing his children enough I’d simply point out that he gave a fuck about spending time with them when he was having a fuck with his OW. He was depriving his children of both his time and money.

      BTW, when my friend was divorcing her ex,she overheard him using an endearment with his own lawyer. We only use such endearments with the lovers. Yeah, long live professional ethics.

      • Right. Anger issues. Pfft! Give me a break. I figure it’s either a sexist bias based on how the lawyer thinks she should behave, or the lawyer is a fuckwit herself, or the lawyer just doesn’t like her client as a person. Whatever the reason is, there is a bias against the client, so it’s the wrong lawyer.

  • PS

    lawyer jokes aside, my profession has deeply, deeply disappointed me. I just had no idea how mediocre and lazy they can be. OMG…

    • As a paralegal (ex) (not family law) and now a client of family law attorneys (x3), I see a very common thread.

      They know many of us are looking for a narc/socio/psycho-savy attorney. So they shake their heads yes but once they’ve hooked you, you quickly realize they don’t and then they gas light you just like OP’s attorney is doing.

      Mine won’t even talk strategy or leverage right now because “we don’t need to talk about something that isn’t happening yet.” Duhhh, you always run settling parallel to litigation (taking it to trial).

      I was desparate to leave the last one that I choose to gloss over his lack of enthusiasm or empathy. I know they are not therapists, but when he said “I don’t need to hear anything that has happened, we’re going forward” I was like – wait, you don’t even want to know my case AT ALL.

      The whole system is rigged. Fake legal system.

      • There are some great matrimonial lawyers out there!
        My second lawyer was my guardian angel, fairy godmother and kick-ass lawyer rolled into one.
        Her associate led my ex’s deposition like a well-choreographed dance! I was amazed how well he played my lawyer ex.
        I only have praise and gratitude for all they did for me.
        The great ones are out there. Don’t give up looking.

        • I too had a fantastic lawyer. She had background in criminal law, was instrumental in hiring great experts. She did a great job at a deposition getting my ex to fumble over a secret bank account. In mediation she was a show of force. To the point the mediator suggested we walk out due to my ex not being there to negotiate.

    • Unfortunately ego maniacs and lazy bums are attracted to this profession. The lazy bums want to rake in the big bucks and do little to nothing. Fortunately I’ve known many great lawyers but some will ride roughshod over you if they think you’re a pushover. Very important to interview lawyers to see if you can find the right one. If you retain one and at the beginning you have an uneasy feeling or start making excuses for them…cut them loose. Please also keep in mind they are not your therapist or friend, so don’t waste time and money pouring your heart out. I’ve known some people that would call their lawyer just to rant/rave about the opposition and have sticker shock when the bills arrived.

  • I was very lucky with my solicitor and barrister … unlike some it would appear.

    My solicitor gave me two great pieces of advice in our first session: firstly to remember that he was not my therapist and; secondly to remember that he worked for me. These two pieces of advice kept me on track; I avoided burdening him with stuff he didn’t need to (or could not) deal with, and I was always aware that I was free to look at other options if required.

    Thankfully I didn’t need to.

    LFTT

    • I got almost the same advice from my attorney. But she added another facet. She had me add up my assets versus his. She then circled that amount and said “this is what we are fighting for”. Divorce is a business negotiation.

      • DW,

        My legal team had a similar approach; I was asked “How much are you willing to pay to turn Mrs LFTT into Ex-Mrs LFTT and get her out of your life?”

        In contrast to some of the other Chumps’ experience here, my solicitor and barrister were both brilliant; I got out of my marriage with a settlement I could live with and the kids came with me.

  • For mediation, I used that as a means to find out what my X wanted. Mediation is a great way to let the fuckwit layout all their cards, while you keep your hand close.

    I love the phrases Chump Lady gave you, those are great and it helps keep you level headed in these stressful situations. Ingrain them!

    Also, Document, Document, Document!!! Make a binder of all of your documentation, and show up to court prepared. I walked into the contempt hearing for my X with a Binder of evidence, we only used maybe 5 things from it, but it showed the Magistrate that I was extremely prepared. My X walked in with nothing.

    Good luck and saying prayers for you!!

  • Lookingforward

    Great point. Therapists are MUCH cheaper than lawyers and a lot more helpful with the rage that NORMALLY comes up for chumps.

    Get a lawyer AND a therapist and you’ll actually save money. I learned this the hard way…learn from my many mistakes, please.

  • Doubtful,

    This has happened to me. My husband abandoned me without telling me of the affair. Then he filed for FULL TIME custody of the kids. He made 3x the money I did, and we had just bought a house which he was threatening to sell right out from under us. In all my traumatized grief, I was a bit of a mess (understandably). My attorney starting talking about how he needed me to supply him with a psychologists evaluation of my mental state, etc. Luckily I had a good friend who has spent years battling through a nasty divorce who stopped me right there and said “Does YOUR attorney want this evaluation or the other attorney?” It turned out it was MY attorney. I immediately started searching for a new attorney who understood what I was going through and how traumatic it was. I found an angel from heaven who not only understood what I was going through but had gone through it herself 15 years prior when she caught her then husband fucking his assistant on her dining room table. She immediately took my case, stopped all the other bs that my first attorney was trying to get me to do (assessments, forensic accounting costing me thousands of dollars etc). She ended up getting me the house, 80% of my time with my kids (yay) and half his retirement. She worked me with me for a year to get my divorce completed with a grand total of 8 thousand dollars. The first attorney didn’t do jack for me for the 4 months I worked with him and charged me 17 thousand dollars.

    All that to say, find a new attorney, one that understands the grief and trauma that you are going through. One that wants to fight for YOU! I’m rooting for you over here and so is all of Chump Nation.

    • I have to agree with you, if the attorney isn’t working find a new one. 1st attorney cost me $10,000, wasted a year doing nothing while he had all marital assets, because he threatened me and the children till the police advised me to leave (No house or money is worth dying for) police officers words; he stood at the door while I packed the car with what I could take (clothes and toys). I got a reference from an abuse shelter on 2nd attorney. She tells it straight, how the legal system plays games (it’s pure BS and kids are property). But she got me into mediation in 4 months. Divorced in 10 months from the time I hired her with ex fighting to keep all assets and wanting full custody. She cost me $4500. I got a buyout on the house for 1/2 and 70% custody of the kids. I didn’t fight for any little stuff, just counted it as a loss and tried to gain a new life.

      • I fired my first attorney one week before trial. He kept pushing me to accept a 3 year payout from my abusive ex who had the piddly sum sitting in one if his savings accounts. We were older and married two years when I filed so we were each keeping the bulk of our own assets. The thought of being tied to this emotional physical and professional abuser was making me ill. So my mother lent me $10k to get a new attorney who specializes in DV. She got me an immediate payout plus $13k to cover my legal fees.

        Don’t hang on to a bad attorney.

  • I had a badass lawyer. One thing that shocked me at mediation, however, was the mediator/former judge.

    Before the full day of talks, she asked if I wanted to accompany her to her office’s mini-cafeteria for some coffee. I calmly accepted this offer, although I had no desire to drink anything that would add to my jitters, and engaged in chit-chat about the weather, coffee, etc. I stayed cool. I tried to be friendly and professional.

    Once the proceedings were underway, the mediator (a former judge) walked into the room that my lawyer and I were in and basically said that she could see I was seething with anger and worried it would so cloud my judgment that I wouldn’t be able to come to a mediated agreement. This startled me because, again, I exhibited no anger. None.

    I decided that she must say this to everyone, regardless of how they act. She just assumes (correctly) that you’re pissed. And she’s right that being pissed may interfere with a mediated agreement.

    Overall, I really liked that mediator, but it was weird and off-putting to be accused of showing anger when I was doing nothing of the kind. I am SO glad that in the moment I didn’t correct her. I just listened calmly and nodded. That seemed to work to my advantage.

    So, Doubtful Chump, I wonder if something along these lines is taking place in our lawyer’s noggin. Or he could just be a super crappy lawyer. I would find out by following CL’s spot-on advice. Above all, you need a lawyer who is on your side. Good luck!

      • My mediator first played the 50/50 card-you’re both equally to blame, followed by the guilt card- look how this is affecting your kids. Fuckwit agreed like a happy puppy but I wouldn’t. I sat silent til she moved on. Midway through the hour she pulled me into a one-on-one where I told her about all of Fuckwit’s 7 years of frivolous litigation. She pulled him into a one-on-one. Then she ended the session and called me the next day to tell me it wasn’t worth mediating with him.

  • Listen to your gut. You have written to Chumplady because YOUR lawyer sounds like YOUR EX. You don’t need this. And you do not need to be spending large legal fees to try to convince your lawyer to believe you–cut your losses. Even if she is trying to be helpful, she has done so in a way that is clearly triggering. Ummm—don’t you already have quite enough triggers in your life that you don’t need to pay someone to add others?

    There are many, many completely crappy lawyers out there. Not to step on toes here but it does not seem to me that the best and the brightest go into family law.

    One other piece of advice: before you hire ANY lawyer, search the court dockets in their county district court and superior court to see if the law firm has sued any of their clients. If they have a habit of suing clients for unpaid fees you have learned two things:

    1. prior clients were not happy with their services or their (dubious) charges
    2. their response was suing someone at his/her most vulnerable time

    Many law firms will never sue a client, even if fees are owed, they will just move on so if you see this, it is an ENORMOUS red flag. Run as far away as you can.

    • This is NOT always true! I worked in a small law office and we did sue our clients for non-payment because they owed what was due. We did our work, we won their cases but for whatever reason they thought they didn’t need to pay. They even drove up in a brand new vehicle but didn’t pay their bill – when we won his Emergency Order for holiday custody of his child. We kept a young man out of prison because he was innocent and his parents didn’t pay so yes, we sued them. Law offices have rent and utilities to pay too!

  • Dear doubtful chump, firstly, I’m not clear why you have a *barrister*, rather than a solicitor? Barristers are much more expensive than solicitors, and I don’t see why you would need one.

    My ex fuckwit retained a barrister for some reason, (cost him £800) but still lost in court. *I* think because his solicitor told him he didn’t have a case, and he was all “you’re not the boss of me”, but who knows.

    When you are paying for legal advice/representation, you are the client, and your legal representative should be 100% on *your side*.

    It doesn’t sound to me as if this is the case here. My advice would be to ditch this barrister, and instruct a *solicitor* who specialises in family law. If you do need a barrister going forward, then a good solicitor will advise you of the pros and cons of that.

    When you’re going through a shit show like this, you need someone who is in your corner, 100%, that’s what you’re paying for. xx

    • Not always true. I paid almost £20,000 to a solicitor and they were absolutely shit. And I still had to pay for a barrister because the solicitor can not represent in a final hearing. The barrister was £1500 per court day including all work before and after. If I’d engaged a barrister for the 3 days I would have paid a total of £4,500 instead of £21,500 and she absolutely kicked ass.

      100% would always recommend people engage a barrister for court appearances and forget about the useless solicitors just pumping you for money and dragging everything out.

      • Shit, I’m so sorry you had a bad solicitor.

        I never got to a final hearing, so didn’t have to retain a barrister.

        Nevertheless, Doubtful Chump needs a barrister who is 100% on her side, this wanker sounds like a spokesman for her stbx.

        • I agree, as we chumps have learned the hard way, if something doesn’t feel right; it isn’t.

          The OP obviously is feeling something isn’t right.

  • “Anger issues” How I love that expression.

    After I found out that my ex-husband was fucking whores during his lunch break for years, my husband also decided that I had “anger issues”. Funny, he never never mentioned me having anger issues during the 18 years we were together prior to finding out about his prostitute habit.

    Clearly, my husband mentioned this to his attorney, because during our mediation his attorney mentioned my “anger issues” three times.

    The third time, I couldn’t take it anymore. I calmly responded to his attorney “I found out on March 6 that my husband has been utilizing prostitutes during his lunch break for the past five years, and that has made me angry. Do you think that is a unusual response to my findings?”

    That was the end of hearing about my anger issues.

    • Doubtful Chump could say, “I found out that my husband and the father of our 3 kids has been having an affair since the youngest was in diapers. I’m angry that he walked out on me and left me with three kids, the youngest of which was 3. Do you think that is an usual response?”

  • Dear Doubtful

    One tiny bit of advise is your lawyer works for you not the other way about . I’m in Scotland so not sure about the laws in NI butYOU are paying them and if they are not working for you dump them

    Yes they can give legal advise and let you know the law they are NOT there to pass judgement on you ( their client )

    My lawyer charged a fortune and a monthly retainer and came back with my ex wants this , that and next thing and his lawyer wants this .
    I said does he have to get it by law ?
    She said no but it would be nice to show willing
    I said let me make myself clear he gets fucking nothing exactly what he took in to the marriage and I’m not paying you for yes sir , no sir , 3 bags full sir and if you can’t represent me I will go else where . She stopped her BS then and he ended up with basically nothing

    Fight for you and if your lawyer isn’t fighting for you bin it
    They are there to tell you the law

    • 👏👏👏👏👏

      Well said, Karen, and well done you for facing up to that knob. 👍

      I’m in England, I appreciate Scots law has some differences to English law, and like you, I know nothing about NI law, but it seems to me Doubtful Chump’s barrister is behaving like a spokesman for her stbx, not DC. I think she needs to get rid, and find a barrister/solicitor who is quite clear who they are working for.

      It is incomprehensible to me that a barrister who is retained by *DC*, should say such things – I absolutely don’t think this wanker has DC’s best interests at heart, so yes, she should bin this arsehole and find someone whose only priority is doing the best for *DC*.

      As I said earlier, I don’t understand why she has an expensive *barrister*, as opposed to a relatively cheaper solicitor. in England, anyway, a barrister is only briefed if the solicitor in the case considers it advisable, for whatever reasons.

      DC doesn’t mention a solicitor. Maybe in NI it’s all different, but whatever the case, it’s clear this barrister is *not* in DC’s corner.

      Is there a Law Society in NI, an Ombudsman? I don’t know, but to me, when one is forking out large sums of money for legal representation, the *least* one can expect is that the legal representative is 100% in their clients corner.

      All this bullshit about ‘weaponizing’, plus unsolicited commentary on the effects on the children, sends up a huge, flapping red flag.

      • “It is incomprehensible to me that a barrister who is retained by *DC*, should say such things – I absolutely don’t think this wanker has DC’s best interests at heart, so yes, she should bin this arsehole and find someone whose only priority is doing the best for *DC*.”

        “All this bullshit about ‘weaponizing’, plus unsolicited commentary on the effects on the children, sends up a huge, flapping red flag.”

        Exactly and I love the term “wanker”.

        OP should trust her gut. There should be no benefit of the doubt for someone you are paying to have your back, if in doubt throw them out. My doc does not get the benefit of the doubt. If I didn’t trust him, I would find one I felt like I could trust.

    • This is awesome, Karen: “I said let me make myself clear he gets fucking nothing exactly what he took in to the marriage and I’m not paying you for yes sir , no sir , 3 bags full sir and if you can’t represent me I will go else where.”

  • I know what it’s like to feel abused by my lawyer. I thought about firing mine more than once, particularly when things she said turned out to be untrue( don’t worry you’ll get your share of all of the vehicles that are in his business name). In the end I decided that she was actually doing a good job. She just was not my friend which was not what I was paying her big bucks to do. I sucked it up and got through it. It’s probably the toughest thing you’ll do.

  • Finding good counsel can be a bit tricky. Before retaining, I did my research and selected someone who had been recommnended by several friends. I did a consultation with him and a second with the support staff. I thought I felt confident in my decision, but during our first few meetings on the clock and on the bill, I started feeling like I had made a mistake. He was brusque and rude and a bit condescending. I did a bit of whining to a friend who was also in a spot with her counsel, and she hit the nail on the head.–“You’re not paying him to be your friend, you’re paying him to be an a****** in court. Your therapist holds your hand, your counsel does your dirty work.” At my next appointment, I put all my cards on the table. After my rant he simply said, “From now on, the first ten minutes of each meet, you can show your crazy. Better to do it in my office than in court. Know that I work for you, but trust that I know the process.” I wouldn’t say we get along swimmingly, but he knows my expectations for the outcome in this case, and I know he is doing what he can to make it happen. With that, if you are completely honest with your counsel as to your expectations, and you’re still not happy with his/her response, move on. The divorce process is too ugly and emotionally draining and EXPENSIVE to muddle through with a bad representative.

    • Yep, my guy was not really warm and fuzzy, but when I said “well I want to be fair” He said, fair? Your husband has been lying to you and stealing from you for several years, what you need is to be made whole again financially.

      I knew then he was the right choice, I told him to get me as much as he could and I wouldn’t ever talk to my ex about any legal matters. He was adamant that I not discuss the settlement with my ex, to tell the fw to have his lawyer call mine. It helped that his lawyer was a sad sack loser, who happened to live in the same trailer park as the whore.

      From our pre Dday conversations about the whore, she evidently enrolled in Paralegal school, and flunked out. Lol.

  • I’m a litigator – 25+ years. Most litigators I have encountered, worked with, had cases against, served on volunteer boards with, went to school with etc. are VERY disordered (bully, selfish, hostile, lie, feel extreme entitlement, are miserable human beings). There are a small minority who are not like this.

    In sum, it’s this lawyer, not you. Find another.

    I also made a wrong first pick for my divorce lawyer. He pulled some narcissist crap and was blaming me for things that never happened. I was so vulnerable and crushed that my own lawyer turned on me. I spent hours trying to find another lawyer who understood hostile people, narcissistic traits, how to effectively deal with them. Bill Eddy is a lawyer/therapist who writes and lectures on this topic. Find a lawyer who is familiar with his work.

    I think a good litmus question to ask a potential new lawyer is: do you believe cheating is domestic violence. If they equivocate, pass! Then, find out what percentage of their practice is handling cases where there are hostile opposing parties. What are their strategies?

    My two failed mediations were a disaster. The ex-judge mediator was a total asshole. He did not listen to anyone, had his own agenda. . . Infuriating!

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I had to go all the way to a 10 day trial. I got full custody and 82% of all assets. The judge said he did not believe one word of my X’s evidence.

  • My lawyer told me he was not a therapist. And to remember we are dealing with legal matters, not matters of emotion.

    I went through 3 laywers before I settled on one. I don’t recommend this. Try to find one that has the most experience that you can afford.

    The ex loves to paint us as unstable, angry, unreasonable, and vindictive. Be very careful to not appear that way. It works against you in spades. Cool, calm and collected, and present the facts as CL says.

  • Holy shit Batman! Endured same crap from 2 separate lawyers AND least 4 fucktwit therapsit and 2 fucktwit mediators. It took a us getting a psychologist who served as the guardian ad litem that put us under a barrage of personality testing and literally shifting through the bullshit and skein to finally conclude that my asshole ex husband was in fact a liar, cheater, abusive control freak! Girl…..test your layers immediately! Test everyone that you “think” is in your circle. If they even play devils advocate for a second you look them in the eye and tell them YOU pay their bills and it is their JOB as a licensed professional to look out for the health, safety and welfare of you and your children and they don’t seem to be living up to that task! If they give you more fucking excuses after hearing that statement, FIRE THEM – IMMEDIATELY! If you have to find another lawyer, interview them intensively before signing a contract with them. Hope this helps! Big hugs💗

    • By the way, after the psychologist determined I was to stay custodial parent he wrote a lengthy report describing in depth of my ex husbands trickery and manipulative behavior. The psychologist gave me strict instructions to give a copy of that report to ANYONE and EVERYONE we had to meet with if there was an issue with my ex for whatever reason. I have passed that report along to guidance counselors at school, principles, the police, the judge, the IRS, fucktwit therapist my ex tried to use to fish in our kids….you name it, I’ve whipped that bad boy out! My asshat ex husband goes skulking away defeated every-single-time!

    • Excellent advice SouthernChump! Doubtful, I would apply this in all of your relationships right now. Do you need more abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting in your life? You do not. You ESPECIALLY don’t need it from someone you are paying to help you. My lawyer was great, but I wound up having to stop communicating with my best friend of 20 years because she was so cruel to me at a time of crisis. We have to protect ourselves.

  • 10 for the jury,
    10 for the judge.
    20 more- to forget my grudge
    (The Steel Drivers- Midnight train to Memphis)

    DC, you don’t need the doubt. The chump part, Yeh. Remove the doubt.
    Like CL and MrCL query,
    I’d want to know exactly what the barrister implied by that comment.

    Keep in mind the legal institution likes to play golf together. And swap favors.
    Sounds like something got filtered down to your level.

    Courts want to narrow issues down to one single issue and cut out all extraneous noise. I’m pretty certain the court clerks tell the 9-5 judges every morning, “You’ve got 39 cases on the docket today”. Which gets the “My tee off time is at 4”.

    Don’t take it personal it’s just the way it is.

    I’ve done this rodeo twice now and every bit of proof you provide on paper to your legal guardian that shows fitness and sobriety in decision making works in your favor. That means homework in addition to all the other stressors you tackle daily as a Great Mom. By documenting it you’ll learn a lot about who you really are, and how Much balls out MIGHTY you Possess. Just the facts, Mam. Just the facts.

    Chin up Gal. This Too Shall Pass. ❤️

  • Definitely take CL’s advice! Very well thought out and why not take advantage of getting the answers to those questions. If after this you believe she isn’t on your team, then you can move on.

    Another tid-bit – I had my lawyer let cheater and his lawyer know that I would be keeping track of his hours with our son and had it written in our divorce decree that after a certain amount of time, if he did not meet his hours, we could increase the child support without having to reopen the settlement. I did this NOT to keep him from our son, but to prevent him from requesting more hours in order to reduce the support, which may be the game yours is playing? Only you will have a feel for that– It is quite often the case though.

  • It is vital to read and understand all the family law in your area.
    Lawyers are necessary to get through the legal hoops, but no one should defer to them without having a full understanding of your rights and the prevailing law.
    Everything is online. Read it all. Twice.

    Understand what is clearly define, especially if you don’t like it. Then figure out how it works for you.

    Knowledge is power.
    There are bad lawyers out there, like there are bad therapists, teachers, engineers etc.

  • My takeaway on all of this is like my response when someone calls me “jaded”. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad, but assigning an evaluative term to the situation does nothing to solve it.

    I pay professionals to assist me in navigating, or navigate, difficult situations. Even if a person is really good at it, if that person is incompatible with me or not serving my needs or interests, it’s appropriate for me to go find a better fit with a different skilled service provider. Whether we’re talking about a a lawyer, doctor, counselor, landscaper, or physiotherapist, the answer is the same for me.

    That doesn’t mean we should shut out things that are hard to hear. It DOES mean that HOW those things are managed absolutely matters. The bigger the invoice, the more true that becomes.

    That’s my two cents on the matter. Even if you DO have an anger issue, a lawyer that’s evaluatively pointing that out instead of offering specific and useful action items is probably not the one that ought to receive the dollars for the very expensive service you’re seeking.

    Whether I have an anger issue is not relevant. Whether I manage it well or not is the issue. I’ll manage my emotions. You advise me about how I should behave while in the environment where you’re a seasoned pro. That’s the breakdown of responsibilities.

  • As a solicitor, I can vouch for there being some appalling ones out there. Especially in UK where mediation is the way things are dealt with rather than forcefully arguing your position. There are many solicitors/barrister who are Type A personalities, they are the boss of everything and because they are paid for their legal opinion they think that their opinion on everything is gold. It’s not. Take CL’s advice – challenge the premise of the statements made to you. If you don’t like the response then find a different lawyer. Have a look around, research, look at Chambers and Legal 500 to see what clients have said about your lawyer. Any lawyer worth their salt will not mind being asked about their approach and should lay out the chess game from the start to achieve your desired outcome (they should know the moves and counter moves probable from the circumstances). If they can’t do that. Keep looking. Good luck. Unfortunately it is a “game” but having an experienced lawyer who knows the game and can advise you on how to achieve your outcome is key. Again CL’s advice is spot on.

    • The absolute hallmark of a good professional, be it an attorney or a plumber, is their willingness to explain and answer your questions about what they are saying, doing, recommending, etc. and why so. So do not ever be afraid to question them. Whether you do it immediately, or call up later with those follow up questions, be sure that you do ask and put your mind at rest one way or another.

      You may not like their answers, but at the very least you will have a better understanding of where they are going with you and then you can decide if that works for you or if you need a second or third opinion on that or if you disagree completely and simply need to part ways.

      If you get so much as a whiff of “how dare you question me” attitude or insecurity on their end….fire them. Insecure lawyers get eaten alive in court because the more assertive/professional/confident lawyers know that this colleague is just full of hot air and an easy pushover where it matters.

      Also, be sure that you are not confusing arrogance with confidence. A blustery response with a lot of legalese is not a confident answer. A good professional can explain their approach in simple, concise, logical terms in plain English so to speak.

  • My STBX waited for me to file and then chose a lawyer who is a old friend, but does not practice family law.

    My lawyer is doing all the agreement writing and filing work. I’m doing all the document gathering and paying my legal bills. STBX feigns “confusion” and there’s more billable hours as the two lawyers talk.

    Is there an effective way to shift more of the expense to him? My lawyer said she can’t bill him for her time and there are benefits for me to have her take the lead.

    • That is one of the reasons I talked him into filing. My lawyer said it would give him (my lawyer) more options, and would put the burden of gathering the paperwork etc on him as the one who abandoned the marriage. Law said 50/50; but that is the default. Depending on circumstances it is variable; especially during the legal separation period. Also, the waiting period in our state was two months. But, it can be more depending on the circumstances, ours took a year and I was collecting a generous maintenance pkg during that time.

      Turned out he was right.

      But, also the main reason I wanted him to file was that he was the one destroying the marriage, so I thought he should be the one to file and own it.

      The only thing I regret is not going for the full three years I could have got. But, it worked out ok.

    • Whether you can or cannot get your stbx to cover your legal fees is a state by state and case by case situation. So, question your lawyer on why she can’t get your stbx to pay your legal fees or get you spousal maintenance exactly in your case. One simple answer may be that you have sufficient income or are the bread winner.

      Also, ask her how specifically you are benefiting from taking the lead? Details please. Again, it may well be that your attorney is actually trying to save you $$$$$$$ by doing the lion’s share of the work because the other side is intentionally trying to jerk you around and deplete your funds. Her stepping up is costing you, but not as much as it would if you tried to force the other side to do anything productive while they will intentionally exasperate the process. Sounds like they are trying to do exactly that anyway. Sadly, this is a pretty common legal strategy to essentially bankrupt your opponent by dragging your feet. Only way to combat that is really to do the work and hurry it all up asap.

      • My attorney took the lead and said it would benefit me. The wording in the final decree can make all the difference.
        Example:
        We have joint medical, counselor, dental, religious with independent rights to consent.
        Because she added independent if he doesn’t agree to counselor, dentist, etc. for kids. They still can go. One word can make all the difference.

        • I filed and my bad ass attorney is running the show. Yes I’m paying more than FW but so far things are going well.

      • Feelslikemonday: I am a family law attorney (ironic that I was married to a serial cheater). This happens all. The. Time. People hire “dabblers” that do not practice exclusively family law. It gets exhausting for the lawyers too. But, it’s in your best interests that you have an expert on your side. You can’t control who the other side hires. I always take the lead on drafting the settlement agreement when there is a “dabbler” on the other side because I want to take control and provide as much protection for my client as possible. Clients get frustrated because they feel they are bearing the cost for both parties but the cost of trying to fix a messed up agreement is much much much more than paying to get it right by an expert the first time.

    • Mine 2nd atty said that too. The advantage was that she made $16K off me for absolutely nothing but drafting a separation agreement that she drew out over months! STBX has not spent much…he won’t disclose on his FS how much but I’m guessing $1-2K.

  • My STBX waited for me to file and then chose a lawyer who is a old friend, but does not practice family law.

    My lawyer is doing all the agreement writing and filing work. I’m doing all the document gathering and paying my legal bills. STBX feigns “confusion” and there’s more billable hours as the two lawyers talk.

    Is there an effective way to shift more of the expense to him? My lawyer said she can’t bill him for her time and there are benefits for me to have her take the lead.

    • Your lawyer should not be helping your stbx’s attorney! You file, what you file, produce what you produce and if your ex can’t counter or doesn’t understand, so what. You will be prepared your ex won’t. Quite frankly I think your stbx and his attorney are having a good chuckle as you and your attorney are doing all the foot work. I’d have a serious chat with your lawyer, the lawyer that is charging YOU for helping the other side. Not sure what she means by taking the lead but I would definitely want an explanation.

        • Oy….not quite correct. See my response above. Knee jerk reactions and assumptions are not in the Chump’s best interest. I know it’s hard to trust anyone when you’ve been betrayed and I still see demons in every shadow….but it’s important to step back from that, get a grip and realize that no, not every shadow has a demon in it. Communicate. Ask questions. Breathe. Think.

          As CL pointed out so well….when it comes to courts and law, it’s cooler heads that prevail. So if you are not clear about why something is being done or approached a certain way – ask and then judge the answer for yourself with a cool head.

          • Oh I know it can be complicated, but the one thing I have learned is to trust my gut. It sounds like the OP is dealing with it.

            Had I not been sure my lawyer was not in my corner; I would have found another.

            Of course she should ask, but if she isn’t confident, maybe another lawyer is in order.

            My lawyer was very clear up front, and it sounds like this one might not be.

            • The OP didn’t necessarily sound distrustful of her attorney. She can chime back in if she is, of course. She asked how she could make the work of divorce more equitable. The responses sounded more paranoid than what was laid out. There are benefits to having your own attorney do everything. Like making sure it’s done correctly and in your best interest. That’s not to make it so s/he lines her pockets. My husband chose not to even retain an attorney. We’re doing most everything on our own but I for sure have someone counseling on me on the decisions and is available for actually writing up the legal documents.

              • You could be right, I was just going off her statements:
                “I had a Zoom call with my barrister last week. I was shocked at her statements, which included I’m “weaponising the children to try and hurt my soon to be ex.” I have “anger issues.” I need to go see a GP. I’m going to traumatise the children which will be harder for me to deal with when they are teenagers. If the court views me as hostile I could lose residency of the children.

                You could have picked me off the floor. Thank God I was a year post D-day. My question is — was this advice to try and get me to take mediation seriously? Or again am I being abused, but this time by someone I’m paying a large amount of money to?”

                And her signature of “Doubtful Chump”

              • Oh sorry, not Doubtful Monday OP but feelslikemonday. The author of the letter is understandably doubting her barrister.

          • Right, you’re paying good money for what will ideally be good guidance. Gathering financial documents is not helping the other side. It’s helping you. I am paying more to ensure that my STBX isn’t hiding any funds or that the QDRO is correctly done or that there is a life insurance policy for maintenance and child support. If my attorney think that some rabbit hole will cost more than it’s worth then I trust her.

      • FWs attorney tries to get my attorney to do all the work and she told him to fuck off in so many words. FWs attorney said “are you threatening me?” Yes. Yes I am.

  • CL’s response, as always is spot on.

    I’ve spoken to several people about my situation. Some have said they would go scorched earth in my situation. First off, no one really knows what they would do until they are actually in it. But more importantly, it is incredibly easy to come across looking petty or revengeful. I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize time with my kids. It’s so unfair, but there are plenty of people who believe “oh, it is unfortunate that they went about it this way but sometimes marriages just don’t work and they find someone better suited for them.” And cheaters are known for being manipulation masters. We chumps don’t often see them for what they are until it’s too late, I can see attorneys and judges being fooled from their superficial knowledge of them. Pre-separation, FW did a lot of stuff that I did not think was in the best interest of the children. Pre-covid and pre-discovery he was sometimes gone from before the kids were awake until they were already asleep. He was short tempered with all of us. He was spending marital funds on her. After separation, everything has become about me not being a team player. Not interested in doing joint family events where her and her kids would be present? “I think the kids would really benefit from seeing us all together.” Being honest with his parents when they ask if there is another woman in the picture? That’s meddling with his family and harming the kids’ relationship with their grandparents. It goes on and on.

    It’s ridiculous the dance you have to do until the ink is dry. That said, you should always feel like your attorney is team you and parsing out if they actually believe that vs them being concerned that others may see it that way is important.

  • I switched lawyers when I realized my lawyer was accepted being bullied by the other lawyer. “Could you please have your client be prepared … blah-blah … I am planning vacation for the month of July.” My lawyer took direction from her and drew up a split of my savings, pensions, 401K based on 50-50 and signing something that I was not entitled to any part of his millions. I put off my lawyer on signing it. Found someone more aggressive. Together we evolved a strategy — such as filing in a county that would be more sympathetic to the fact I was supporting an adult disabled daughter and raising a grandchild.

    • Thank you chumplady and fellow chumps for advice.
      My solicitor who I like, suggested using this barrister for court.
      I’m no contact at the moment. Children leave the house when he comes for collection. (family member helped at the start) I’m in the house. Communication was via email. I asked him to use Our Family Wizard which he refused. So now communication via solicitors letters.
      Karma bus quickly both lost their jobs.
      Not at meh yet but getting closer.

  • Why is the burden put on the Chump? We have to maintain dignity even though we have been plundered. Yes, we can do what is necessary to triumph, and also be a forever example to our children. But we need to work toward changing these laws, Alienation of Affection, No Fault Divorce. These laws in my opinion are directly working against women. We need to wake up and change these laws for future generations.

  • I am a barrister in Australia (similar system to Northern Ireland). So I’m assuming you have a solicitor and a barrister?

    Your barrister may be trying to explain to you the seriousness of what is at stake, in a way that is crystal clear.

    She may have had a case in the past where the client was found to be weaponising the kids and lost the kids. She may have made a decision to tell it straight to every subsequent client where she sees that as a risk.

    The one things barristers have is experience of how courts decide things. We also know how certain Judges decide things. We know what is going to go over well in court and what’s going to make you lose the case.

    If your barrister is saying that there’s a risk that’s you’ll be seen as weaponising the kids, then there may be such a risk. Take that seriously.

    Your barrister is also not here to be your friend. Your barrister is there to win the case.

    If you think she’s being cold, that’s probably normal. After a while in this game you have seen enough trauma that the walls go up, a bit.

    If you think she’s incompetent or going to lose, ask the solicitor to get a new barrister.

    If you think the barrister is not up for the fight, ask the solicitor to get a new barrister.

    But if you’re just struggling with the injustice of it, because it SUCKS that someone who has destroyed your family gets to even see his kids (I get it, I really get it…. I mean how dare he, I’m not even joking) that’s not going to win the case.

    I’ll be honest, when I was going through my court battles with my ex I chose a solicitor who was going to fight hard. I had an advantage because I know some lawyers personally and I chose her based on personality – she was in my corner and pulled no punches. Most of the fighting is done in letters and phone calls between the solicitors. The barrister just comes along at court and takes the glory, haha. I think the solicitor matters more, in the long run.

    What you’re going through right now is so hard. All you want are people who are 100% on your side. You don’t want some jaded person who has seen it all before, to whom you’re just another number.

    You want someone who will win your case. That’s the important thing.

    But take her advice anyway. Don’t do ANYTHING that will make it look like you’re denying the kids a chance to see their dad.

    It’s ALL ABOUT THE KIDS. don’t be angry. Don’t be rude. Even stop saying things like ho-worker. Go grey rock. Be blank and boring and ice queen about them.

    This is ALL ABOUT THE KIDS.

  • In the U.S., we have different types of courts to handle different issues. We may think our FW’s actions are criminal, but divorce is more about the business of the marriage. Divide the assets, custody arrangements, and dissolve the union. Being angry serves no purpose, seeking revenge in court is difficult. The court is the place a jury can find in the plaintiff’s favor , under the law, but award $1 in damages to convey the message being legally correct does not entitle you to benefit financially.

    The strategy that helped me the most was proving what our arrangement was pre-divorce when it came to spending time with the children, and asking him how he was going to change his work requirements and habits to best meet the needs of the children. He was not going to shuttle them to and from school, to activities, to medical appointments, go to PTA meetings, or do any of the work of parenting. He might show up for an athletic event, or musical program. Therefore, he did not need 50% custody of the children. He was not there before, and he was too selfish to be there after. I indicated I would work with his schedule, when the children’s schedule would allow it, to allow him to see his children. He was awarded more time than he ever used. This may not work for everyone, but by being clear about the needs of the children, I got primary custody.

    I have seen couples divide up days of the week, alternate weeks, holidays, and have visitation plans more complex than air traffic controllers have in busy airports. I have never seen the children happy with these plans. Children usually do better with routine, and dependable boundaries. Maybe that is not exciting, but I was thrilled to raise two relatively sane sons following as simple a life plan as I could. My problems with their father were not their problems. Material inequities were sometimes painful, and usually unfair, but they were survivable. If your ex is a FW, you can count on him to screw up his own life. If he is ever reflective enough to be sorry for his actions, it will be way to late to do anything about it. Hopefully you will live in MEH by then.

    After you have found answers to the questions CL raised, you can build your defense against crazy allegations. Anyone can accuse anyone else of crazy things. In court, they have to prove it. I’m sure you have friends and co-workers who can attest to your character and work ethic. If he thinks you are crazy, so what? If your attorney does, change attorney’s. Provide verifiable information, not speculation. The court does not need to arbitrate details that are not pertinent to the divorce.

    Don’t waste your time and money seeking a justice that cannot be obtained in a court of law. Use your resources wisely to get the best financial settlement available to you, and then start planning the rest of your life. It will be much easier to do without a FW involved.

  • My first attorney took advantage of my chumpiness so I fired her and got a new one. I’m still a chump yes but my new attorney fights hard for be because that’s what she’s paid to do. She’s one of the top two divorce attorneys in this area. She’s expensive yes but omg is she worth it.

  • I was in a four way ‘talk’ with his lawyer, mine, him and me. She got aggressive with me and finally I said, look, “WE” can do anything we want, negotiation-wise. Then I looked at my ex and he rolled his eyes. My lawyer just shut up. Well, I got what I wanted–I mean, what “WE” wanted LOL. In the end, my lawyer then hit them up for a big chunk of the fees. The thing is to hang on to your temper and common sense.

  • 1. Probably get a new lawyer, but also 2. think very realistically about whether or not your actions are attempting to alienate your kids from their dad. CL is right, even if your intentions are pure, they may be perceived by a court as nefarious. Also, sometimes, when we’re in the thick of despair, we can’t always see what we’re actually doing. Is it at all possible that you are doing some version of these things?

    Divorcing a cheater is one shit sandwich after another. It requires understanding that kids deserve to have a functional relationship with their other cheater parent, in fact it is better for them in the long run if they do, even if that means you have to endure some bullshit to make that happen. You can still go mostly no contact, keep your boundaries, etc…but you can’t keep your kids from their other parent (unless there’s clear abuse).

    I’m not saying you’re doing this, but you’re doing something that alarms your attorney…so, consider some self evaluation and taking all of CL’s advice.

  • I though I was the only NI chump out there! Hi!!!!! Divorced chump with twin boys, had a brilliant solicitor, but had to endure two rounds of mediation before we got to court, but that’s another story. If you aren’t happy with the Barrister then you should consult with your Solicitor and ask to change, or change Solicitor. They are playing a very high stakes game, they work for you, they need to be on your side. If they are not for you, they are against you. Trust your gut, it’s worth it in the end. It’s true that once in court they care very little for the nitty gritty, they just want a solution, but if your Barrister has made you feel this way, I’d change. You are mighty, you are doing great xx

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