Marriage of Halgren

Mark Alan Rohrbaugh

Case Conclusion Date:August 3, 2009

Practice Area:Family

Outcome:Father has shared residential custody.

Description:I represented the husband in a divorce. He had two grade school children and had been married about 10 years. His wife became angry with him at a local restaurant and she went off to the restroom in a huff. When she did not come back for 20 minutes, he took the kids to his car to go home and get ready for bed. They had arrived in separate vehicles and she had a car to get home in. She came out of the restaurant throwing a fit that he was putting the children in his car. She grabbed the child out of the car and started yelling "Domestic abuse! Domestic Abuse!" She begged an older man to call the police, but he refused saying he didn't see dad doing anything wrong. She called the police and told them he was beating her and trying to steal the children. He was arrested that day and charged with Domestic Violence based on her statements. He spent 36 hours in jail before a judge set his bail and he was released. When he finally went to trial on the domestic battery, he was found not guilty. Because it takes time to get to trial, he was only allowed supervised visitation with his kids. A Guardian was appointed for the kids and he said dad was fine. So, we went back to the divorce judge to have the supervised visitation lifted. He had been found not guilty of the battery and that was the only reason for the restrictions. The criminal court said it didn't happen, so the kids were not exposed to any violence. Furthermore, the Guardian said he saw no danger in father having regular time with his kids. This all made mom very angry and she needed something else to throw at her husband. At court that morning she came and said he had been poisoning her with arsenic for years and she was luck to be alive! She had two lab tests to prove it. All of a sudden he had to prove he was not poisoning his wife and kids. Lab results showed not arsenic in the kids, so he slowly got regular parenting time established. Because of her accusations, he was kept from having a normal relationship with this children for 6 months. Wife then sued my client in civil court for $2,000,000.00 in damages for poisoning her. I took that case to trial and after 5 days of hearing all her evidence, the Jury took only 60 minutes to find in our favor. The lab reports proved to be contaminated or tampered with and she had no medical signs of being poisoned. He didn't beat her, he didn't poison her and he was a great father. It took 3 courts and 3 trials to prove it, but we won them all. He now has shared residential custody with his kids. That means he has them 50% of the time in his house. He went from no contact to supervised visitation to shared residential custody.