The Need for an Experienced Divorce Attorney
A woman, I’ll call her “Jane”, recently came to see me after a ruling in family court had gone seriously wrong. Jane had separated from her husband after he was arrested for committing an act of Domestic Violence against her.
Jane and her husband had two children together, ages 7 and 11. Jane had never worked outside of the home during the marriage and she had always been the primary caretaker for the children. She had retained an attorney who did not tell her that his primary area of practice was personal injury, and he filed for divorce based on her husband’s physical cruelty. Jane’s husband hired an experienced divorce attorney who counterclaimed for a divorce alleging that Jane had committed adultery. The parties went to a contested temporary hearing without any attempt to settle the temporary issues by agreement.
The judge found that Jane had committed adultery, gave the home and custody of the children to her husband, denied her alimony, gave Jane visitation every other weekend and ordered her to pay child support. This was in spite of documented evidence of her husband’s arrest for Domestic Violence. The judge apparently felt that extramarital sex was a greater offense that an act of physical violence.
Had Jane retained an experience divorce attorney he or she would have, or should have understood the risks of going forward with a temporary hearing where there is strong evidence that a person has committed adultery.