You are here

We're in the home stretch!

mmmpork's picture

Got some good news a few months ago about BF's divorce!

We got discovery responses back from BM where we asked her explicitly what her proposal was for finding a job and supporting herself and daytime care for SD. She clearly stated she intends to relocate to live with her parents. She made some incoherent suggestions for if she didn't move, such as only working part time or going back to school, but nothing concrete.

She continues to make abuse claims against BF and keeps making suggestions that possible abuse could be going on with SD when she visits us. She spent most of the statement complaining about BF's residential time being inconvenient and she didn't think it was fair she had to drive downtown in rush hour traffic just because BF didn't want to take the bus (this is something she technically agreed to, under pressure from her lawyer, in the hallway prior to the financial hearing).

In addition, she reported that she's only had 3 interviews of the 200+ jobs she's been required to apply to. Each week per court order she sends BF a list of 10 jobs she's applied to. All of them are typically from craigslist and she's maybe only qualified for 1/3. She claimed she didn't get the positions because they were already filled.

The great thing about her statements was she basically laid out all of her arguments she plans to make to both the GAL and to the court if they go to trial.

BF's lawyer got in touch with BM's lawyer about discussing options for mediation. He made it clear that as long as BM insists on the DV charges, BF can file a motion to skip mediation and it would make BM look really bad if they go to trial. BF's lawyer used to work for the firm BM's lawyer works at and he said they require a $20k retainer for going to trial. He forwarded an email exchange he'd had with BM's lawyer where she said that BM could only afford the bare minimum of services at this time and the lawyer had not been reviewing any of the job logs, discovery responses, or email threads she'd been included on.

BM can't afford to keep her account current with her lawyer. BM has no way of acquiring $20k to go to trial. Mediation is her only hope.

The lawyers agreed that BM's relocation would not likely be granted by a court and would be a waste of time and money for both parties. BM's lawyer actually said that she has advised her client AGAINST pursuing relocation.

In our state, the court presumes for a claim of relocation that the petitioning parent is going to relocate in spite of any custody decisions. The parent opposing the motion has the burden of proving that relocation is not in the best interest of the child. This includes proving that the relocation petition is in bad faith (with specific intent to deny residency to the other parent). If the petition to relocate with the child is denied, the opposing party can be granted FULL custody depending on the extent of the relocation. In our case it would be that kind of decision, all or nothing. It's scary because there's a chance we could lose, but to hear her own lawyer agreeing that it's more likely SHE would lose gives us hope.

We've been wondering WHEN BM was going to file for relo because we know that's what she wants to do. Now we know why she hasn't filed yet. Because a) she doesn't have the money to pay her own lawyer and b) her own lawyer has advised against it.

They've decided to find a pro-bono mediator and pursue mediation on the following conditions: 1) BM drops all abuse claims, and 2) BM drops relocation.

They are waiting for the GAL results before pursuing mediation.

Neither BF nor I are optimistic about mediation. I believe firmly, she will not agree to drop either the DV claims or relocation, especially not the DV claims. She's built such a huge act of playing victim and it's so core to her "reality" that to her it *is* reality. Even if her lawyer is able to "strongarm" her into going as a final ditch hope of getting rid of this client and being done with this case, she's not going to cooperate.

At this point our greatest hope is if out of some miracle the GAL pulls her head out of her ass and the report is in our favor. We're prepared though for if it's not to drag out everything we have to fight for custody. Even if she is granted custody, she will attempt to file for relocation, we are certain of that. Again there are a lot of unknowns but it seems things are starting to lean in our favor, so I am cautiously hopeful.


mmmpork's picture

I'm in Washington State.

A GAL is a Guardian Ad Litem, it's a lawyer or mental health professional who is meant to represent the child in a custody dispute. The GAL basically does an evaluation of each parent and talks to a list of "witnesses" on either side, then makes a custody recommendation. In a custody hearing the court will usually follow the GAL's recommendation but not always.

Regarding the job thing, the court was easily convinced that BM was not a "home maker" as she was claiming, but a professional who took some time off to care for their young daughter. She was clearly not taking the financial hearing seriously so that's why they did that. A lot of good it's done, 7 months later and still no job.