The wrongly accused parent. (You're not alone)
Coming home from a long stressful Monday at work, all I wanted to do was enjoy my kids and catch up on some needed sleep. My Eastern European ex-wife started an argument, picking not only on me but on my older child (her step-child). Instinctively protecting him from being flung behind the door, she called the police and fabricated a story that I was the aggressor. She convinced the police that I tried to kill her, and had me arrested. While I was still trying to figure out what happened, she filed a TPO and divorce. My first attorney had a great reputation, but was scheduled to be out of town during my temp hearing. Having restless nights about having younger stand-in attorneys attend the temporary hearing – I hired Bill at the last minute. We literally had 1.5 days to prepare for the hearing; and my custody of my toddler twins were at stake. It turned out that my ex was planning the divorce soon after the marriage certificate ink dried. She set up a string of alliances to paint me as an absent father, violently abusive, and recklessly dangerous to the welfare of my kids. But the most abhorrent was that she tried to paint her step-child (my son) with behavior that I still cannot repeat because it makes me sick; all to gain a custody advantage separating my son and I from my beloved younger twins. She literally tried to take away everything that was important to me.
My case had insurmountable odds – because my ex had 2 years to craft dirty divorce and custody strategies. I had 1 hour in the busy courts to convince the judge that my ex lied about everything, and that I was a loving father who deserved to have equal time with my kids. It was impossible, especially given that my newly hired attorney Bill had insufficient time to prepare.
But that’s where this story really begins. Bill sat down for 8 hours with me taking notes during our first meeting, asking probing questions, and revealing things that I didn’t realize. He walked into court having met me days earlier. He was prepared for every lie (lets be real: that’s what it is, the overused term misstatement is just being politically correct). As it turned out, Bill used several lies against her. Every cross examination question had my ex flustered; she couldn’t make 2 statements 1 minute apart that were consistent. Guardian ad litem and a court appointed psychologist were ordered, and I was able to see my kids immediately after the temporary hearing. Of course, the discovery dragged on needlessly as she tried to dig into every asset. Bill directed me patiently, and expertly through the whole process. He communicated effectively, professionally, and in a timely manner – not only to me, but to all the parties in the custody evaluation. He worked sensitively with the criminal attorney who helped dismiss the criminal case; both being careful not to jeopardize the others’ case. It is obvious that he not only knows his way around a court-room, but also through the confusing process of a heavily contested custody case. In the end, my ex’s lies ironically caused her own demise. I received the result I was seeking: joint legal custody and most importantly 50% of the precious physical time enjoying my kids growing up. She received a lot of money in the settlement, but that won't last. I don’t think she envisioned this result when she schemed her vicious plan with her Baltic friends.
A few learning points for those unlucky enough to go through an ugly divorce:
1) Be truthful. If you’re a good parent, an expert lawyer should be able to help you.
2) Be nice to your step-children (I was nice to hers).
3) Don't play the liars game, take the high road.
4) The temporary hearing is a very important hearing.
Bill is like a trusted friend, who is always there to guide the wronged parent through this ugly process called custody battle.
We are all too busy to write reviews. But Bill deserves recognition for being a champion to silent and decent parents.