Intro & Game Plan

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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:53 am

Update:

Answer and Counterclaim received. My attorney laughed while commenting it was the most unique response he's ever read and said he's going to enjoy litigating against OC.

Interrogatories and production of document responses received from her, but they are full of gaps and she didn't object to them. Next step is to send an angry lawyer letter (Georgia Uniform Rule 6.4b) before filing the Motion to Compel. She has not served me with similar discovery.

Of note in the interrogatory, she has accused me of "emotional abuse" (bullying) of her and the children as the reason for divorce even though I am the petitioner. There's no definition of "emotional abuse" or "bullying" in OCGA Domestic Relations, and there's seemingly no applicable case law. So it's just a vaneer of < bovine scat > I'll have to wash off.

Mediation is next month. OC says 50/50 parenting time is on the table, but I doubt the sincerity. Either way, it's going to be a short meeting. She either agrees to 50/50 parenting time from the start, or I'll see her in court. Our judge is requiring mediation or I wouldn't be here yet, so at least I'll walk away with a recommendation from the mediator that this case can't be mediated.

Assuming mediation fails, I've already got a draft of deposition questions. The focus is on addressing confabulation (like the aforementioned emotional abuse), as well building up a body of evidence to address all 17 elements of the best interest of the child statue. I'm confident I can demonstrate that a handful of the elements favor me, and the rest are a tie (or close enough).

A move away by her hasn't been ruled out yet. After exhausting her local job prospects, she's expanding her out of state interviews.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby massdad1234 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:09 pm

Red flag for me, I translate this as I am going to enjoy wasting your money. For all you know they are both laughing all the way to your bank. I would manager this attorney wisely.

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:said he's going to enjoy litigating against OC
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:59 pm

Heh, I specifically included that comment in my update because of the advice received here about hiring a litigator instead of a mediator. Out of context, I can see how that might be viewed as a red flag. However, I've told my attorney from day one that my primary objective is 50% parenting time, and to proceed as if we're going to trial until we achieve that objective. We've set that tone with OC from the start by serving interrogatories and production of documents before the answer and counterclaim was received by us. So far it's served us well to keep her unbalanced while applying a boot to the throat.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby massdad1234 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:13 pm

when I say manage attorney, he might just be playing smooth. I would just be wary is all, just relaying my 2 cents. We all grown here, so to each their own, but while I have a lawyer that has been practicing nothing but family law, specific divorce, for the past 40 years, the reality is, creating the framework for me and STBX is the more important work and his services should be used sparingly.

While I won't cut the STBX any slack and see no reason to go for "primary" parent (majority overnights), we still have to work together for the best of our children, long after the pound of flesh has been paid. I see no reason to spar unnecessarily and I appreciate the art of war more than most.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:58 am

I definitely take it as him playing smooth. I'm also in a rather unique situation where my buddy is using the same attorney to go through his divorce. We discuss our attorney regularly as a way to reality check each other, and it's been useful to reduce costs. I also look at the quality of work OC has done, and it's clear my attorney knows what the hell he is doing. My STBX is very disorganized and she picked an attorney that is equally disorganized. For example, after agreeing to a mediation date, OC served me with discovery that wasn't required to be completed until weeks after the mediation date. I could have waited to respond, but I didn't want to have her use that as an excuse to postpone the mediation. It's clear the quality of OC's interrogatories is much less than what my attorney sent to them. The production of documents had several identical requests, so it's obvious neither OC nor my wife fully reviewed the doc before it was sent.

I agree with you that creating the MSA is the ultimate value, since it's likely I'll be part of the 95% that resolves my action prior to trial. I've been very happy with the parenting plan he drafted, as very few changes had to be made to mesh with the many recommendations found in this forum (ROFR, school district restrictions, etc).
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:22 am

First round of mediation completed. We made significant progress working from an existing parenting plan draft I had worked out with my attorney ahead of time rather than creating every element on the fly.

Accomplished:

1. Agreed to 7/7 as the default schedule. Caveat: She provides me her work schedule 30 days in advance and if I don’t have a “good reason” to reject it, then we implement the change. According to my attorney and the mediator, this is a common approach taken with certain professions like pilots and clinicians that have dynamic schedules (she will work nights some weeks, and days during other weeks). We struck complex language about makeup days that she wanted to add.

2. Education: Stuck to my guns and kept the geographic restriction to current school system. She was obviously squirming about it, but had no good reason to reject it. I’m keeping the house (my pre-marital asset) so this is another huge win.

3. Healthcare: She has final decision making authority.

3. Extracurricular: Waiting on the final writeup to review the wording, but the gist is that each each parent selects one activity per year and pays for it independently of the other.

4. Religion: We each do our own thing.

5. We communicate and coordinate through OFW. Huge win for me, as email to/from her gets “lost” all of the time. This will work against her, as she’s terribly disorganized.

6. Child care: We each pay for child care as needed. One less reimbursement nightmare to deal with.

7. Holidays: Settled. Some of the minor holidays got cut, which was preferable to me anyway.

Because the mother isn’t employed yet, we suspended mediation. If we had executed the parenting plan, then it would have triggered a temporary hearing where she would have played and likely won the “poor me I have no job” sob story to her advantage around spousal support. While Georgia doesn’t have formal statues for alimony, the standard in my Court is paying the lower earning spouse 40% net earnings. Without temp alimony, we’ll be in a stronger position to avoid the Court standard of paying alimony for one-third the length of the marriage. Discovery has shown that she has been routinely applying for jobs. According to the mediator, the mother said she would have signed the parenting plan the day of mediation if it weren’t for the fact that she doesn’t have a job.

My attorney recommends we wait until she’s been unemployed for 9-12 months before taking next steps to force closure to this action. Pressing her to settle and move out before she has a job will likely end up with us in a hearing where she’d receive temp alimony. As much as I want closure and put this behind me, I’m thrilled to parent my kids every day and willing to suffer through living with her a couple of more months if it means avoiding indentured servitude.

This week the mother received her first job offer in six months. It’s 400 miles away in a different state. My attorney and I are discussing the implications early next week. She knows that if she accepts it, her parenting time will be week long holidays and the summer (i.e., 20%). I’m certain she won’t accept the job because of this, so the discussion will be about how we can use this to nullify her “poor me I have no job” sob story tactic with temporary spousal support.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:07 pm

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:This week the mother received her first job offer in six months. It’s 400 miles away in a different state.
If she accepts this position, it'll tilt the playing field in your favor.

Q: Have you got a long-distance parenting plan in your arsenal?? What kind of work is she looking for??.....something in her traditional field??

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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:24 am

She's a clinician and this is in her field. I got the complete details after meeting with my attorney: It's temporary employment until the end of the year with a week on, week off schedule and her employer would pay for housing the weeks that she's working. She's been rejected by every local healthcare org because of her no rehire status for getting fired for cause, so temp->perm is the only option she has.

Then it got weird. She proposed that on the weeks when she wasn't working (i.e., she would be 'back in town') that she live in my house and I would have to find residence elsewhere. (We're still living in the same house.) My attorney and I had a good laugh about her nesting request. She expects me to pay for two residences while she pays for none. Talk about women's perorgative... Obviously told her no way in hell about the bizarro nesting arrangement. OC is doing a terrible job of playing hardball too. She told my attorney that if we didn't accept the nesting arrangement, then they'd hire a GAL. A GAL doesn't scare me. My parenting journal is rock solid. I'd prefer not to have a GAL involved because they take time and this case doesn't really need one (she'd already agreed to 50% parenting time).

I don't have a long distance parenting plan in my arsenal yet, since this isn't a move away. She's already let slip that she would move in with local friends (within 15 miles).
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby LovingDadof2 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:09 am

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:My parenting journal is rock solid.


Can you share what is included in your parenting plan?

I personally don't know whether I should just include arrive home and leave times (with a few sentences about activities with kids during that time) or do I need to itemize all the hours over that period (e.g., 4-5 PM make dinner, 5-5:30 play outside, etc.)?

Also, should a parenting journal be written or is digital acceptable?
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby Phoenix853 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:30 am

I kept a written parenting journal with side notes and times of other activities that may need to be noted further down the road (Ie... wife called me for a sober ride home from bar with co-workers, wife thru phone at my head, wife's MIL was here from this date to this date). It was a reminder for me of what transpired.

I also kept a google calendar that your can later transfer to a spreadsheet. It was color coded and showed times that I had the my kids with me and event the kids and I attended. You can later create charts and graph from the spreadsheets.

If you do a written journal make sure the journal is addressed to your attorney, I think I had every journal entry header with my attorney's name and address for attorney client privilege, and keeping it out of OC hands. Some advice that I gleamed from her many years ago.
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