Tag Archives: war stories

War Stories; A “Bump” in the Road

Client sabotages own case.  Story at eleven.

FACTS:  A mother lost custody, temporarily, due to being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  The father was given the child and while mom was in jail he filed a fault based divorce, sought custody and had her served.  Mom was finally released and began the process of regaining custody.  Mom filed an Answer and a claim for custody herself.

At a temporary hearing, which is a legal band-aid to address custody and finances, mom presented her case.  Upon being cross-examined there were numerous questions about alleged drug use.  Well, fortunately, mom had been thoroughly interviewed and prepared by her lawyer.  Her ONLY dirt was the suspended license.

Mom denied the drug allegations as laughable. Some of mom’s financial records were introduced that showed her in some shady parts of town at unseemly hours. This was shown through ATM transactions. However, mom was a waitress at night and just blew off some steam with some co-workers and got beer money. No harm, no foul.  Then mom was asked about a pipe that was “found” in her belongings.  “Not mine,” she quipped.

The Court was ready to rule. The Judge indicated that it seemed dad may have taken advantage of mom’s unfortunate circumstances. It came out that he may have tipped off law enforcement that she was driving on a suspended license. That Jerk!  But, “out of an abundance of caution” the Court decided to Order hair follicle drug tests. In fact, the Judge ordered that they were to report to get tested that day, before 5:00 p.m., to have the results furnished to the Court directly from the testing facility and then, assuming all clear, he would determine the custody and visitation for each.

On the way out of the Courtroom mom asked…

Can I delay the test?”    “What?!!!”    “I may have had a “‘bump...(of coke).'”

Nope. Not taking the test was not an option. Only the worst could be assumed from that. Mom took the test and failed, miserably.  A No Contact Order was entered. Dad passed. Mom lied.

Final Result:  A few weeks later the parties reconciled! Case dismissed.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi and while there may be bumps in the road it does not mean you should cause the bumps.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms


War Stories; How NOT to testify (grandmother edition)

War Stories are the fun, awful, tough and unique occurrences that lawyers and parties in litigation get to experience and live to tell about it. At water coolers and break rooms throughout the world lawyers regale anyone who will listen about that time they…(this series will include a few of my own).

Facts: This was an initial Child Custody case, which means the Court must consider the Albright Factors. Dad had temporary custody due to prior child neglect allegations against mom. Mom was required to pay child support pursuant to this Order. Mom called her mother (Grandmother) to testify to corroborate that mom is good, dad is bad, and custody should be with mom.

On direct examination, that is when mom’s attorney was questioning grandmother, she did fine. She said mom was good, dad was bad for reasons including; he was not around and did not support the child, and that the child should be with mom.

On cross-examination, that is when I get to ask questions, the tone changed. From the jump Grandmother was defensive and combative. This was a mistake on her part. She should have stayed calm and exuded confidence, not anger. Even if she had to fake it.

Upon questioning about the neglect allegations grandmother downplayed them as a misunderstanding and had a story which completely excused mom’s conduct. The problem was there had already been 3 prior witnesses which contradicted this, one of whom was mom! Certainly they had to have had a discussion prior to court.

Next, grandmother took dad to task for “not supporting” the child, but her only “proof” was anecdotal. Nonetheless, she concluded he was no good because he was not supporting them and she knew this because mom told her so. Grandmother changed her tune about a parent being no good for not supporting the child however, once my questioning revealed mom had not paid child support in months, though ordered. It was different for some reason, but she could not be explain how.

Lastly, Grandmother had no real complaints about dad’s care-giving the last several months when he had custody and reluctantly admitted the child was doing well. She was also extremely evasive about mom’s new beau and that person’s involvement with the child. It was obvious she was trying to avoid giving that testimony.

Grandmother should not have testified. She added nothing and ended up undermining mom’s case. The only way to have known this would have been to thoroughly prepare her for direct and cross-examination and taking the time to view the case from both parties’ perspectives.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and assesses your case from your perspective, as well as how the other side may approach it.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer 

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms