As an attorney that practices exclusively family law I am routinely posed with questions and scenarios of one person doing everything right and the other everything wrong. However, when I start digging and asking the right questions I find that “It’s Never What you Think!”
Recently, I was asked by a friend to speak to friend about her potential case. The potential client had “done everything right,” but the ex and his attorney were “out to destroy her” and would not let up. She was at wit’s end. As I was speaking with her I was asking about custody, visitation and support issues.
Lawyer: “You are current on your support, right?”
Client: “Yeah…” (said with hesitation)
Lawyer: “That did not sound convincing”
Client: “Well, I paid for my kids medical and activities and he has a great job and doesn’t NEED it.”
Lawyer: “His job doesn’t really matter as far as support goes…what were you ordered to pay?
Client: “$475.00 per month.”
Lawyer: “When was the last time you paid $475.00?
Client: “Years.” (said with hesitation)…”He didn’t need the money.”
This was not an instance of having “done everything right.” Why the ex waited years to pursue it is a mystery, but he nonetheless has the right to.
In another instance, a “good father” just wanted reasonable visitation. I asked, as I always do,”What is the dirt on you?”
The DIRT is/are the things that the other side says you did, even if you did not do them; substance abuse, crimes, non-payment, hateful things.
In this instance “the dirt” was long ago, recreational drug use and just some routine fussing and fighting. I said in jest, “Well, so long as you didn’t have a meth lab in the garage…” “Actually, it was.” There’s your dirt.
So to all of you well-meaning helpful friends, you are NOT getting the full story. And to all of you eager attorneys seeking to fight injustice and righting the wrongs of others, get the full story. It’s Never What you Think!
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and only believes half of what he sees and even less of what he hears.
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