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Wasted money for lawyer

purplegirl201's picture

I am new to Step Talk. I wanted to thorw this out there and see if anyone has had a similar experience in court in regard to getting custody. 

My SS10 lives with his BM and her BF. They moved 2 hours away a little over a year ago we get him on weekends when she feels like it, they had no csutody order until recently. When the pandemic started DH received frantic phone calls from relatives of BM stating that his son was being neglected becasue the BM and her BF were using drugs and locking themselves in their bedroom leaving SS10 to fend for himself, we were told this by an aunt of BM who had been staying with them temporarily and witnessed the drug use first hand. DH and I decided that we were going for primary custody of SS and hired a lawyer. When we hired the lawyer we told her all about the drug use and the mothers history of drug use we gave her as much information about BM as we could we could. The goal was to prove that BM was unfit, she is becasue she has 4 kids each with different fathers and has never had custody of any except for SS. They went before a mediator (joke) of course BM didn't agree to anything and DH was aked if he wanted to pay for a drug test for BM and he declined thinking that the judge at the trial would order one and we wouldn't have to pay $300. All that came out of mediation was a temporary custody order which works fine. We then got a court date, we show up with our attorney and some witnesses to speak up about BM's drug use who are also her relatives (mother and aunt) BM shows up solo she is acting as her own attorney. This is where I get very iritated at the whole thing. Our attorney doesn't use any of the information that we have handed to her in regard to BM's drug use, she states that becasue DH declined to have her drug tested she can't use that as the grounds for our request for primary custody yet when it was BM turn to cross exam everyone she drug up things from years ago that had NOTHING to with anything now. She was able to bring up DH past drug use (he is recovered and hasn't used anything in 6 years) and the rocky relationship that they had. Then we are told that there are 16 factors that are used when they are deciding what is best for the child and since BM was able to put DH past out there that put a few of the factors in her favor when if our attorney had done what we asked her to it may have swayed a few in our favor. I felt like our lawyer didn't really care about what we wanted and just went with the flo. Maybe had we not hired alawyer DH could have done what BM did and drug her through the mud. I felt it was very one side even with the attorney. Apparently when SS was interviewed and was asked where he wanted to live he said he wanted to stay with his mom becasue he didn't want to leave his pets...Not that he loved mom. Anyway we ddin't get primary custody which is disappointing but she didn't either. I really feel chected by the attorney and was wondering if that was normal and if anyone else had ever heard of the 16 factors that are used. 


tog redux's picture

In my experience, lawyers are usually a waste of money. And they follow certain unwritten rules about what you can and can't say in court, that people without attorneys don't have to follow. 

Aunt Agatha's picture

Pro tip: break the large lump of text above into more readable paragraphs.

So your DH hires a lawyer but doesn't follow her advice in requesting a drug test from BM?

Thats the part where he wasted his money.  Why hire an expert if you aren't going to take their experience into your plan?

BM didn't win because she dragged up stuff from years ago.  She won - at least in part- because your DH has no proof she was doing drugs.  Proof being a scientific test.  If the relative saw drug use around a child, why didn't she do something like call the cops or child services?  Big holes there for a court case.

Also, for your own sanity, disengage from his battles.  This should be him doing things not you doing things in his court battles.  

Dogmom1321's picture

Wasted money. Even with drug use, you need to have hard evidence. DWI, termination from job, etc. And your husband should have definitely thought about "pot calling the kettle black" If he made a mistake 6 years ago, but is a good parent now, why should it be any different for BM if she has used? 

Also, parents that request full custody are usually seen as not wanting to co-parent or unwilling to have 50/50. Most defaults for judges these days are 50/50 since it promotes a relationship with both parents. Highly unlikely it will EVER go from one parent being primary, immediately switching to the other. If anything, better chance of asking for 50/50 (if you live in the same town, that is). 

advice.only2's picture

We were only able to get custody of DH's Spawn once Meth Mouth had been arrested twice, popped positive for several drug tests and was facing serious jail time. Even despite all that and Meth Mouth's recurring bouts with the law DH was in and out of court every 3-6 months to fight to retain custody.

purplegirl201's picture

DH said he will try again next year. Why bother.

BM had drug charges and is on probation in the county we had to go to court in and was still awarded 50/50. It was a joke and a complete waste of $3700 and the best part is that SS is thrilled to be living with mom.

I must admit that I pushed DH to get the lawyer thinking it would help but when I heard he declined the drug test I lost it, almost like he was afraid to win .