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If judge orders sole custody at temp orders and pretrial, but my lawyers bullied me into giving joint legal, can i get it back?

Boston, MA |

I NEVER wanted to give up my sole legal and physical custody. Judge awarded it at temp hearing and then said at pretrial that she would still give it if we went to trial. My HORRIBLE lawyers bullied me into giving joint legal to settle, I did not want it, but was bullied into agreeing (trust me I was) I have regretted it everyday since. My ex is nuts and interferes with everything, regardless of how right I am. Even if an outside party recommended something, he just causes problems to cause problems. I can not co parent with him, I gave him a shot but it's been two years since divorce and he is a loser. He is now preventing my daughter from receiving medical help (therapist) and he has had no involvement in past, has no clue. he has control issues.,he is a cop and nuts. How hard to get bac

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Your recourses are determined by a few facts, which are unclear in your statement:
    a) if the joint legal custody was issued at a hearing or as final judgment of divorce,
    b) and how long ago
    The court is reluctant to change a recent order; however if exigent circumstances exist (father interfering with medical care of child) you can make an emergency application to the court to remove him as joint legal custodian. If the case is still before the court you can file a motion. If the case is disposed, you have to file a Complaint for Modification of Custody.
    Put together every bit of evidence you have of father's interfering with care of the child and contact a family law attorney who can help you get these papers before the court. If your lawyer is acting contrary to your direct instructions, you should fire him/her. Hire a lawyer that will work with you within the law to obtain your objectives.
    I hope this helps.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney


  2. It’s not clear whether the court order for joint custody was the result of a stipulation or though a formal hearing. In any event, if you disagree with joint custody, and have a legitimate basis to argue that sole custody is in the best interest of the child, you can and should continue to seek sole custody though negotiations and ultimately through trial.

    My concerns, however, are two-fold: 1) that your relationship with your attorney has deteriorated to the point where his/her continued representation is impractical (you should discuss your concerns with your attorney), 2) whether or not there is time, and economic resources, to seek alternate representation (if your trial is imminent you may not be able to find substitute representation or continue the trial long until you can).

    Speak to your current attorney and ask him to confirm that he will support your goals. If he wishes to advise you on alternate strategies they should be presented as recommendations and not directives. Concurrently, use the “find Lawyer” tab here on avvo.com to seek consultations with several domestic relations attorneys in your area (most will provide an ignition meeting at no cost).

    This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.


  3. If I read this correctly, you settled your Divorce 2 years ago and a judgment issued. In order to settle, you agreed to joint legal custody. You do not mention going back to court since that time. If this is a correct reading of your situation, (you have a judgment, you have not been back to court recently) you can file a complaint for modification seeking sole legal custody. The change of circumstances required to file would be that you have been unable to co-parent in the best interest of your child(ren). You will need to be able to state concrete examples of instances where if you had had sole legal custody, it would have better served your child(ren). After you file your Complaint for Modification, you can file a Motion for Temporary Orders if you can explain to the judge the 'emergent' situation (getting permission to override his objections to therapy for your child). You can not bring up instances that occurred before the divorce. If you have been back to court since the divorce about these issues, you need to talk to an attorney to see what would be beneficial to bring up again, and what would not.

    It seems obvious that you will not be utilizing the same attorney for this action. I suggest interviewing a couple before hiring another to make sure you have the right attorney for you. You need to feel comfortable with your attorney, be able to talk freely with your attorney and have confidence that you are getting good legal advice without feeling pressured. I wish you luck.

    Consultation with an attorney is the only way to be sure that all relevant information will be factored and the right legal options and solutions will be provided. This answer is provided very limited and for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on, and does not create a client-attorney relationship.

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