I lived in a very abusive relationship for many years. I divorced 6 years ago, and my divorce lawyer told me to absolute not mention the abuse to the judge. He said I could risk to loose custody of the children if I mentioned it.
The abuse continued in court and has continued after the divorce, just different. I do not know how to stop it since we still have to co-parent and I don't want to risk to loose custody now either. My lawyer had a stroke three years ago and his wife is not letting him speak to any of his former clients. Understandable, but I still wonder why he was so hard about not speaking about the domestic violence. Has it reasons that I don't understand or did he make a decision which shouldn't have been made? Is it better to bring it up in court?
If you or your children are being abused you must talk to law enforcement or at least another attorney as soon as possible. I'm not sure an attorney can tell you why your previous attorney did what they did. I also don't think we can advise you without knowing more about your case and the specifics. Any abuse almost certainly must be brought up in court, but do so with the guidance of a good attorney. Good luck.
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It's unlikely a stroke rendered your lawyer an idiot, so we oughtn't second-guess him, but if you don't trust him anymore, engage another family lawyer to advise you.
Strategy decisions such as the one you are questioning are difficult for another lawyer to adequately evaluate and impossible to evaluate based on a couple of paragraphs that you posted here.
Possible valid reasons for your attorney's advice might be: perhaps the attorney felt the allegations of abuse were either distant in time from the issue currently before the court or that the issues did not have sufficient impact on the children to affect the issues before the judge at the hearing and/or that the attorney believed that there were other issues that he was trying to get the judge to focus on and he believed that the allegations of abuse would be a distraction and could prevent the judge from focusing on the things you needed to get out of the hearing. You also need to understand that allegations of abuse have absolutely nothing to do with property division or spousal maintenance in a divorce. The only issue that the allegations could possibly have affected is child custody and if you cannot show that the abuse affected the children then it would have no bearing in your divorce.
In any event, if what you are focused on is what was or was not brought up in hearing six years ago, it is time that you move past that. There is absolutely nothing you can do about a hearing from five years ago. Even if your attorney was completely wrong in his advice (which is far from clear) and committed some sort of malpractice, you cannot address it six years later. Nor will the Court revisit a hearing from six years in the past. You need to focus on the present and the future.
It is unclear from your post what sort of "abuse" you are dealing with. Some things are more straight forward to address than others. Certainly if you are subjected to physical threats or assaults, you need to report these things to the police. If you are having ongoing issues with your parenting time then you may want to meet with an attorney to review your options to file for modification. Focusing on past hearings won't do you any good, but if you have issues with the future then you do have options.
Robert Salter is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Robert Salter or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
By statute certain forms of domestic violence may prevent the court from ordering joint decision making between the spouses. The risk of making a joint decision making order where there is a history of abuse is that it may lead to further abuse or decisions that are not child centered.
No one can answer this with any certainty. No one here can even hazard a guess as to his reasoning. if you or your children are still being abused, you should be talking with a child custody lawyer there, now. You may also want to seek counseling at a local domestic violence shelter.
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