Strategy for upcoming trial

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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby whatever_works » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:17 pm

Good ideas both. Thanks. I will do that this week or next.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby whatever_works » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:09 am

My lawyer mentioned asking OC to turn the weekly dinner visits to overnights. Seeing as D11 has mentioned 3 hours are not enough and she would like to stop the dinner visits, he says we have a good case for turning that argument around and asking to change those into overnights.

STBX will not agree to it, or at least not without a fight. But I am pretty positive that my judge will. Of course there are no guarantees and I will have to make a good case for it. But I have seen some of my judge and I can see which way he is leaning.

In a way that is my worst case scenario for the trial. I have a good house, a steady job, and I can make the case for my positive influence on the kids.

I currently have 3 nights in 14. With one additional weeknight, it will be 5/14. It is the difference between 5 and 7 that I am working towards.

Also, is there any chance that the judge will give me the option to buy out her share of the house at the trial even if STBX does not agree? STBX has made noises about buying out my share but soon realized that she can't. She then offered me to buy out her share and after I made the written offer, she didn't respond. If I were to make the case for buying her out and moving in to the marital home to provide continuity to the children, would it be an appealing strategy?

If the judge buys it, the next step would be to ask for shared parenting so that the kids can stay in the same school system even if STBX moves to a different town.

Thanks.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby LovingDadof2 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:33 pm

whatever_works wrote:Also, is there any chance that the judge will give me the option to buy out her share of the house at the trial even if STBX does not agree? STBX has made noises about buying out my share but soon realized that she can't. She then offered me to buy out her share and after I made the written offer, she didn't respond. If I were to make the case for buying her out and moving in to the marital home to provide continuity to the children, would it be an appealing strategy?

If the judge buys it, the next step would be to ask for shared parenting so that the kids can stay in the same school system even if STBX moves to a different town.
From the way I understand it, if you two don't reach an agreement on your own, then the judge will order the home sold. At that point, have your lawyer ask for 'right of first refusal for the home purchase'. This basically says you have the option to match any offer received. It enables your STBX to get the full market value and you have the opportunity to buy the home. Hopefully it doesn't get bid up.

Regarding continuity for the kids, I would insist that as long as one parent remains in the school district, the kids will continue to attend their same school. Don't tie it to the house as the judge will see the house as a conflict point. With ROFR for home purchase (provided you have enough funds to match any market offer) you will be able to buy your home and keep kids in same school.

Try to avoid ROFR for home (if possible) and make your STBX a sweet offer. Remember, if house goes to market, then you'll need to pay realtor commissions.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby whatever_works » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:43 pm

This helps, thanks. If I make her a good offer and she refuses, chances are ROFR will not work for me because I am not inclined to keep the house. However, it maybe a good bet for getting shared custody so I will consider paying more than a fair price. And ROFR would be good to have just in case the third party offer comes in lower.

STBX's sole focus is getting good child support. She may not pay close attention to the house negotiations. She is probably feeling good about her chances right now since the kids came out on her side.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby massdad1234 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:09 pm

stop putting time and energy into what your STBX might be thinking or going to do. Refocus that energy on obtaining your goals based on your game plan.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby whatever_works » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:09 pm

1. STBX wants to add another person to the witness list - the probation officer who spoke to the children. I guess she liked the report so much, she wants to question the guy who wrote it. STBX filed a motion and made a court date next week.

My lawyer's paralegal told me that my lawyer says he is not needed that day - which means he is not objecting.

Question to the group, should I contest adding a witness three weeks before the trial? Is it any use? I can say it is too close to the trial and the guy gave us his report already. I may not win but I will run up STBX's attorney bill. I don't really want to pay my lawyer another 2k for it. Can I do the arguing myself? Is it even worth it?

--

2. The bank safe deposit box is finally opening next week. STBX fought it tooth and nail and I had to go to the judge to get an order. Her lawyer argued that STBX doesn't want to pay the lawyers for opening the locker. The judge said he can't stop the husband from bringing his lawyer. OC quickly said that in that case he would also like to come. Now STBX doesn't want to show up herself. Her lawyer is asking if she can be excused. He will get the key and join me and my lawyer. BTW, STBX has stated many times that she does not even have the key. Not sure why or how she is found it now.

From all indications, the locker will be clean and the last visit record will be by STBX. Maybe she wants to avoid the embarrassment.

Question, is there any point in requesting her to join?
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby massdad1234 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:51 pm

1. no, its been 3 years
my paralegal says the lawyer says? What? You better jump feet first into a better answer than that, WTF?
2. No she doesn't need to be there

Let me ask you this: What is it about this safety deposit box will help you ensure more parenting time with your kids? This fantasy that she will be embarrassed. Which means what?
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby dadforever » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:55 pm

As to the probation officer report, I too went through this. The one in my case was laughably in the tank, so you are not alone.

My understanding is that the report is admissible whether or not the officer gets called (confirm this with your lawyer just to be sure). Therefore, I don't see much utility in objecting to the witness. A couple of suggestions that I wish I had tried/plan on trying next time:

1. First of all, go through the report with a fine tooth comb. Unfortunately the court is aware of this strategy, so they won't give you a copy of the report. However, you can go to the court yourself with a notebook. I suggest you go to the court with several hours to spare and write down every word of the report, verbatim.

2. Next, go through the report with a fine tooth comb. Look for inconsistencies, discrepancies, contradictions, etc....
The report in my case was a complete joke; and I'm betting most of them are.

3. When the probation officer goes to the stand, a good lawyer should theoretically have a field day with these pretenders. As you'll soon see, there is nothing scientific whatsoever about their conclusions; they lack the qualifications to make conclusions; and they never spend sufficient time with the child to come to a reasonable conclusion, anyway.
Of course you know that these people are generally all in bed together so you will need to push your attorney hard and you will need to totally destroy this person on the stand to have a chance. I would instruct your attorney to go for the jugular in totally discrediting their conclusions.

4. (idea) You could call your own 'expert' that contradicts the findings of the probation officer. To tilt the scales in your favor, this person could spend more time with your children than the probation officer, have greater qualifications than the probation officer, have a better written and more scientifically based report, and be better spoken than the probation officer (not hard).

5. (idea) Go digging into old cases and find instances where this individual drastically screwed up. Go digging into their personal life and find improprieties. Use the information to your advantage.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby whatever_works » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:18 pm

massdad, I hear you on both points.

To answer your [rhetorical] question though - there are just too many lies here. The judge needs to know that the STBX has planned this with her family for her own selfish interests - not the children's best interests. She is scheming, alienating the father and using the court for bullying etc. She has never been able to give a reason to deny parenting time to father. Yet she says she cannot agree to more than 1/3 time.

I have been reading a lot of MA cases on Lynch Owens website. Courts here do take into account one parent's bad behavior. My lawyer will have to mention these things at the trial while I focus on my contributions as a parent in the first 14 years of my kids' lives.

I know status quo is the biggest advantage you have in your case - yet it is my biggest enemy. I need to have my lawyer explain the status quo as the result of a parent's bad behavior.

dadforever, the report's findings can be explained. Older girl is making up stories because of parental alienation. The younger girl is starting to fall in the same trap. While she was saying one thing for 3 years, as soon as the probation offer was assigned to my case, she started singing a different tune. Mom has promised her a puppy. Mom has promised her a custom registration plate with her name. From the cases I am reading about, these things count as signs of alienation.
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Re: Strategy for upcoming trial

Unread postby massdad1234 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:24 pm

i am rooting for you, i really am, i just don't see how confessing the sins of the mother who has been their primary parent for 3+ years is going to lead you to the outcome you're looking for. I'm not saying it isn't happening, I'm just saying to claim alienation, you will need to have some solid documentation, well summarized on how you did anything and everything to spend time with your children and she was acting maliciously.

And what do you think will be the outcome? How do you think it will achieve your custody goals?
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