Not too long ago I received a follow up call from a guy who had called
me several months before for a consultation on
International Family Law.
In his previous consultation, he told me that several years before, his
wife had left their home in the United States and moved with his girls
to her family home in foreign country. His response back then was to follow
them to their new homeland and settle down. A year or so after relocating,
his wife divorced him and obtained custody of the girls in that foreign country.
A few weeks before his first call to me he finally had gotten tired of
waiting for his now ex-wife to agree to return to the US with his girls,
so he announced that he was going to take the girls back to the US for
a visit with this family. Within the week of his return, he told his ex-wife
that the girls were not returning and he was going to stay in the US.
He called me just a few days after that disclosure. He wanted to know
what the Hague Convention said about his conduct and what he could do about it.
I told him he was in a serious pickle (actually I was a lot more direct
with him) and he needed to return the girls asap. I told him that he was
going about it all wrong and he would lose big, big time. He replied that
he had consulted another attorney who told him that everything was fine
and that he was going to keep his girls in the US. There was nothing the
ex wife could do about it.
I happen to know this other attorney. He is suddenly making a big bluster
about breaking into International Family Law. He's telling other attorneys
in our industry that he's tired of the usual family law, it is just
too boring for him now, and he thought Lnternational Family law might
be fun to try out.
To try out? You've got to be kidding me. To try out? I've been
trying international family law cases for years upon years now. One doesn't
just try out something as huge, as delicate, and as complex as international
family law. Being a neophyte in any practice area is a disaster waiting
to happen but in International Family Law it is a disaster almost certain
Well, as you could guess, the potential client didn't like what I had
to say. He liked what the neophyte attorney told him. The Manely Firm
did not get hired on that matter.
So, back to the beginning of my story, The potential client had hired the
neophyte attorney because the attorney told the potential client what
he wanted to hear. Things had not gone well for the potential client ever
since. He knew almost the first moment they walked into court that the
day was not to be his. He would have called me sooner but he couldn't
because he had spent the last three months in jail. It seems the neophyte
attorney botched the matter so badly that the potential client was arrested
and incarcerated for three months.
So, neophyte attorney, how's that "trying it out" working
out for your clients now? If I sound angry, I am. I still am. Parties
deserve better than that. At a mimimum, they deserve good advice.
There are many cliche's I could use for this blog entry. "If it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is," certainly comes to mind.
But basically what I want to impart tonight is a plea that anyone who
takes the time to call me up or visit with me to obtain my opinion about
what they should do with their family law matter really ought to LISTEN TO ME!
I've been doing this work for 23 years, come June. I've gotten
really good at it. I'm deadly serious about it because it cuts to
the core of the most critical issues to your life and well being.
And when it comes to International Family Law, when you are comparing attorneys
to hire, find out whether the other attorney actually has a clue about
this practice. The last Hague trial I had the other party had to go to
all the way to Baltimore to find experienced counsel. There are very few
of us in the United States.
Please don't hire an attorney because he tells you just what you want
to hear and then gets you arrested and locked up for three ymonths because
he's trying out International Family Law. Don't let anyone experiment on you.
That's all the rant I have tonight. Thank you for reading.