Thursday, February 21, 2013

Defending Myself In A Custody Fight

     Been up since 4:30 prepping for my custody battle with my ex this afternoon.  Having to act as my own lawyer in these proceedings has me understandably feeling overwhelmed.  It is now 9:30 and I'm arranging a legal strategy to maintain my current joint custody of my children.
I am terrified of today's events.  As I organize my thoughts and questions preparing for my defense the thought of having to face a trial lawyer with the reputation of hers as a rank amateur with so much on the line for me to lose.  You wouldn't perform your own surgery, you shouldn't attempt being your own lawyer.  Especially with something as important as your rights and relationship with your children.

     So while it's not ideal to fight a custody battle defending yourself, sometimes you don't have a choice.  Today I find myself in that situation and even prepared as I have been able to get I have to admit, I'm terrified.
     I am terrible looking things up in search engines and my local library has no legal section.  Even with my limited Internet navigational skills it is possible to find the tools you need to prepare yourself in the event you find yourself in my current predicament.
The most helpful tips I found in my research were the simplest.  First dress professionally, and respectfully and also try your best to learn and understand important courtroom etiquette.  Stand when the judge enters, always address the judge as 'your honor' and questions honestly and directly.  You want to be assertive in court but also remain un-aggressive and focused on your answers.  Let her finish her answer completely before asking a follow up question or commenting at all.  Try to use questions that should have either a yes or no answer.
     This is the part where I went wrong.  My cross examination got me in trouble with the judge because apparently, in my nervousness, I was talking over her, and going on and on too long in making my points.  The judge was very unhappy with, and scolded us both.  In hindsight, I wish I'd have been cooler headed while making the points I was making with yes or no style questions that couldn't have long answers and let her finish talking before I spoke. 
What I found out today was a huge part of court is patience, respect, and being prepared. 
It's 8:00 and we had pizza to celebrate because all things considered I feel I showed the judge good examples of how good a father I was and how unreasonable she was.
     It turns out I did.  I walked out of that courtroom with more rights than I had before I went in and, didn't go to jail.  With only a high school diploma and, one page of notes, I whipped a real attorney by myself and, you can too.
     Fathers, stand up for yourselves. You have rights, don't let ANYONE tell you that you don't.  If you can't afford a lawyer, like I couldn't, don't back down, fight back!

1 comment:

  1. That's the spirit! Every individual must know its rights.
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