Tonight’s post, written by our Atlanta Divorce Attorney, Cherese Clark, posits the long term strategy when judges become adversaries.
Your children come to your house with faded black eyes and scrapes, stories of the other parent’s tirades, and tell you they are terrified to go home. What do you do? The short answer is ….file for custody.
You file. The judge appoints a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate and review evidence to make a custody recommendation. Time has now passed. You have no pictures of injuries, no medical reports, and only your children’s stories as evidence.
The Guardian recommends custody remain with the abusive parent despite the children’s compelling stories, physical signs of abuse and evidence of the other parent’s drug use. The judge denies your request for drug testing, historically sides with the Guardian in these cases, and you are now set for trial. What do you do: hope for the best and expect the worse? Or, do you abandon the battle and prepare for war? Let’s examine the options.
“Hoping for best and expecting the worse” means you throw a Hail Mary and pray that it falls to your side. While a Hail Mary works from time to time, this option can be not only financially draining but also emotionally taxing on you and your children. When judges stop being neutral referees and transform into adversaries and opponents, clients are left feeling battered, bruised, mistreated and defeated.
Forgoing the Hail Mary and preparing for the war may be the best path when seeking justice under unjust circumstances.
This strategy is not one of giving up and waving the white flag in defeat. Rather, it refocuses the plan on the bigger picture. The opposing party will believe they have won and the case is over, but, unbeknownst to them, the fireworks have just begun. You are now preparing for the next round of litigation long before it is even on their radar.
Remember, you cannot change a tiger’s stripes, so the opposing party’s conduct you adamantly wanted the court to see, will rear its ugly head again, sooner than later. Only this time, you are armed with knowledge: knowledge about the judge’s biased position, knowledge of potential evidence, and, most importantly, knowledge of how to use it all to ultimately win the war.
While the other side (and the judge) are preparing for an intense battle, loading up all of their ammunition to unload on you in a short window of time, you have strategically stored your ammunition for your ambush lurking just around the corner.
Be patient. Be smart. Be logical. Winning battles may feel good for the moment, but winning the war is long lasting.