We finally found a lawyer!
We finally found a lawyer! There is some good, some bad and some terribly ugly, but the positive thing is that we found the woman for the job.
She said that finalizing the divorce will be cake. Easy and quick. BM and her lawyer have refused to cooperate with my fiance, but they can't refuse to cooperate with her and she'll move it so fast their heads will spin. (She was a bit annoyed that this has been going on for 4+ years.) As it turns out, there is literally NOTHING left to do but file the precipe to close the case because this supposed "property settlement" that BM and her lawyer have been alluding to for years is non-existant! Neither BM nor BF own any damn property and, according to them, the debt to BM's father is a personal loan to BF and therefore has NOTHING to do with the divorce or property settlement. We've sort of thought all along that this property settlement was dealing with their marital debt to BM's father, but they claim it's all on him and he'll just agree and say "yep, it's 100% my debt" and then turn around the day the divorce is final and file for bankruptcy and his slate will be wiped clean.
As for the child support modification, this lawyer was outraged that BF could be left with so little to live on and said that there is no reason to think that he won't get it drastically reduced what with his new family to support (although our second daughter won't be included in the calculation because the hearing is about 3 1/2 weeks before my due date... we'll see if she comes early, otherwise we'll have to modify AGAIN.) Anyway, the unfortunate thing is that all my financial info will be disclosed to BM which gives me such an icky feeling because it's none of her business how much I make. Ugh. Oh well, they need it to calculate his obligation to both families because it's based on both parents' incomes in our state. So be it. I'm just glad to finally not be the only one contributing to our household expenses anymore.
Now for the depressingly ugly. Custody. Best case scenario, we file an emergency petition at a time when SD is in our care to protect her from her monster -er mother- and with all our scads of proof and unanimous support from Family Based Therapy and the clinic and the psychiatrist, and without a fight from BM (YEAH RIGHT!), the court will take 3 to 4 MONTHS to go through the evidence and decide the case and we are looking at a bare minimum of $10,000 in legal fees, which we. do. not. have. Then, you factor in how hard BM will fight back and the sky's the limit as to how much that will cost. Plus, the lawyer suspects that awaiting trial, BM would be able to get SD back within a week even with PROOF that SD is in danger in her care. Innocent until proven guilty, I guess. Plus, BM has unlimited resources, time-wise and money-wise. She doesn't have a job or anything else on her plate, so she has all the time in the world to scheme against us and she has her daddy to write the check for her expensive lawyer to screw us over.
So that's the reality of our situation. We had a good cry over it and now we're rethinking how we can otherwise save SD, since getting physical custody just isn't feasible, at least for now. The lawyer is consulting with some of her associates, whom she calls the "superstars" who have written books on custody battles and the like, and she will get back to us with their input. In the meantime, we are looking at modifying the custody order for SOME more parenting time because he hasn't had a single holiday or vacation time with his daughter EVER. And in the new order, we will have every visitation spelled out until she's 18 because BM has proven that she refuses to even discuss anything above and beyond the EOW, 1 night a week plan. We're going to go for keeping her all 3 months of summer and see if we might land somewhere in the middle. We'll specifically spell out every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, every school break, you name it, over the next 6 years so that when BM refuses access, we'll just slam her with contempt.
What's nice is that this lawyer, in just an hour and half meeting with my fiance, seemed so passionate about the injustice of it all and so sympathetic to what we're going through. And we could tell that she really wanted to help us do the right thing, which is why she offered to go talk to the "superstars" about our case. I guess now we'll just pray for a miracle.