Thursday, January 20, 2011


Some very good advice, from the Liz Library:

(1) Taking their children to therapists.  We have yet to see ONE case in which the mother is having continuing litigation mess that cannot be traced back to her choice or agreement at some point to her taking the child in for therapy. For whatever reason. Undoubtedly there are cases in which this is done and nothing bad happens (although we seriously doubt there ever is much benefit). However, in every single seriously fucked-up case we have seen, belief in psychology and bringing the child in for one reason or another is the first mistake, the domino that sets everything else in motion.

(2) Rocking the boat. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Women screw up by rocking the boat when it’s reasonably stable, usually by filing a petition for child support in a new paternity action, or for an increase in child support in a post-divorce action, and less often by filing a petition for modification for purposes of relocation or just because.

(3) Agreeing to joint custody or too much father custody (usually in mediation) at the time of the initial custody determination.

(4) Talking in conclusory language, rather than the language of the senses (what was actually seen and heard), e.g. “he’s abusive”, “the child was afraid”, and language of exaggeration (adjectives) and psycholingo, e.g. “very”, “disclosed”.

(5) Not looking at the big long-term picture. The immediate psychic reward of taking a negative action or saying something obnoxious isn’t worth it.

(6) Having discussions in writing with the ex. Writing should be avoided except to memorialize and confirm “what we agreed to” by telephone, and to send one- or two-sentence pleasant trivialities. “Hi Joe — Junior said he liked the movie you guys saw this weekend. Here’s a copy of the picture he drew of it…”

(7) Relying too much on the lawyer. Except in extraordinary circumstances, litigants should strive to never let the lawyer go to court for anything without being there. Litigants should insist that a court reporter be brought to all hearings and anything at which evidence otherwise is developed for a case. Litigants should never allow themselves to be pressured into making any agreement without time to sleep on it (if it’s really an agreement, it will still be agreeable tomorrow). Litigants should never give lawyers precious originals of any document. Litigants should inform their lawyers that -no- agreements whatsoever may be made which affect substantive claims in the case (as opposed to clerical and procedural issues) without their prior approval.

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