Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tis the Season

There are seasons in domestic law, just like in life. Presently I'm in the midst of one of the worse seasons.
All Holidays - the parents look at their calendars and determine that Johnny isn't with them on the day of their family party. That just isn't going to work. So they call me and want me to "fix it" quick. These calls usually come 2-3 days before a holiday. I had three of those calls. Two were settled by a quick call to the other attorney. One did not work out because the other side refused to respond.
There are also the calls that the other spouse has mis-interpreted the Order and/or hasn't returned the child. This week I had a new situation - Dad decided that he and new wife would go ahead to his parents to celebrate. He just didn't show up to get the child from Mom. The child was very upset. Luckily Mom didn't have plans that she couldn't change.
After Christmas - the out-of-town parent gets to spend time with their children. The children love time with Disney parent who, of course, spoils them rotten over the holiday. Children decide that they like the situation and want to stay there. Or, worse, the child reveals abuse and now needs to stay. Client calls and needs emergency custody now, before they are scheduled to return. I had two calls like this.
Post Holiday - holiday is over and Mom just had her holiday weekend. Next weekend was supposed to be Mom's every-other-weekend time. Dad is upset because now Mom has two weekends in a row. Dad calls to complain. I had a call from a client that owes me $12,000 about this. I decided not to call her back......
Money - child reveals that Dad is working more hours and got a raise. Mom wants her child support increased. Dad gets laid off over the holidays and wants support decreased. I had three calls about this. I ran the numbers and only one met the "substantial affect" test justifying a change.
Summer - child comes to visit. Decides they don't want to return to the other parents. Of course this isn't decided until 2 days before they are scheduled to return and start school. Which means things must be done last minute.
The split - parents share child on a week-to-week split but do not live in the same school district. The child reaches kindergarten age. Parents can not agree what to do or what school to use. I'm getting ready to file one of these.
Ah this is fun................


cornnut32 said...

aren't divorces such a MESS? the attorney i work for does domestic law too, and it never ceases to amaze me how much PAPERWORK is required with divorce cases. not to mention how hard it is on their kids--and a lot of the parents don't seem to care. especially the ones who want to drag it out for seven years because they're pissed they're not getting grandma's picture frames. good luck with your clients.

mssc54 said...

"Hey honey, let's get married so we can have a kid. Then we can get divorced and in addition to making each other miserable we can make sure our child will need a therapist for the next thirty years!"

Enola, how about see if you can get a bunch of your lawyer type friends together. Here's what I want y'all to do. Change the marriage contract to stipulate that if (or when) the couple gets divorced then they have to send out notices to all those who attended the wedding stating that when they said "for better or worse" they were lieing. "Enclosed please find a check in the amount of the value of the wedding gift you gave. After all we're liars not thiefs."

Happy New Year!

PS: is it just a coincidence that my word verification is "butome"? Hmmmmm

April_optimist said...

Much sympathy having to deal with these kinds of cases. Not easy.

Meanwhile...I wanted to stop by and wish you a 2009 filled with moments of joy and healing and peace and prosperity.

Tamara (TC) said...

I really admire the work that you do. Sorry it is so hard around the time of year that is supposed to be about love and celebration.

I wanted to stop by and say hi. I hope that you have a wonderful New Year's and that 2009 is a really great year for you.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Happy New Year, Enola!

May you and yours be blessed with much happiness and many joys in 2009!

Ethereal Highway said...

I almost needed to make a call like that to a lawyer once. Turned out it was more expedient to call a cop. I guess the other party decided he would rather not be arrested for intefering with a child custody agreement. And that he would rather I not fly up there to retrieve the child from him myself.

Rising Rainbow said...

Doesn't sound very pretty!

Wishing You a Happy New Year!

Joy said...

I'm sorry. We deal with this every year with our own kids! Grrr. We just don't have lawyers so we "duke it out ourselves."

What kills me is when we have custody of the child and Health & Welfare won't drop our child support order because the mom gets too much support from the state so we have to get an attorney and take someone to court to get the support removed, even though both parties agree there shouldn't be support paid by us to non-custodial parent. It's never easy.

I can't imagine calling an attorney and having it handled this way! WoW!