If you are reading this the chances are you have already previewed a number of websites from a number of authorities, both lawyers and laypersons, making claims about bias in the family courts. Most of them fall along the lines of two common themes: people who think women are being favored and people who think men are being favored.
The reason for this is simple: either the person who wrote the website has been personally aggrieved in a divorce, and they are attempting to right the wrongs perpetrated against them by “going public” with their view, or they are attorneys who are manipulating the powerful emotions that come from these types of cases. Out of the two of them, I can only say it is the lawyers who do this that I find the most despicable.
When people come to you to solve their divorce problems, it is true that you can make more money by following their desires to destroy the other party. In fact, you will often be unable to dissuade certain people from looking for an attorney who will do that if you refuse to.
But following these desires which stem from anger, hatred, fear and often mental illness, does clients no good. It is not justice to give clients what they want if it is not what they need. And more importantly, it can cause irreparable harm to the children involved, who are without question the most innocent parties to all of this. Do you love your children more than you hate your spouse?
For example, you will undoubtedly find websites devoted to either view: how to stop your wife from filing frivolous restraining orders and taking your kids, to stopping the epidemic of violence against women and child abuse the courts have failed to address.
I know that many readers will disagree, but I believe both are partly true and both are partly wrong views. That is the difficulty.
I have seen many cases where frivolous restraining orders have been filed, and granted. In one such case, my client received $6,000 in attorney fees when the conniving perpetrator was exposed on the stand. In that case, it was a woman who had never had a job. She had three husbands, two of which she obtained houses from. One of whom paid spousal support for more than 25 years for a marriage that had lasted perhaps four. He also had been arrested for domestic violence back in 1977. He made the mistake of trying to save money by not hiring a lawyer.
He lay dying in the hospital for six months. His “wife” (they were still married) never visited him once. The day he died, she drove three hours from her home, broke into the house, changed the locks, and told her son the house was hers, even though the husband made it clear he wanted half to go to their son.
Within a month, she had filed a restraining order against her son, fabricating allegations of domestic violence.
Upon investigation, I found that she had regularly used restraining orders against her tenants. She would go to their house, start a fight with them, and then file a TRO. At trial, I pointed out that she had a common scheme. Whenever she would get into a conflict, she would file a TRO. People need to realize there are a LOT of cases like this out there.
So there is a story that supports the notion that women used the courts to destroy men. This person, in fact, had tried to destroy not only her husband, but her own son.
But I have another story.
A wife of 20 years separated from her husband. He moved in with his girlfriend who he had been with for years, in fact. He hired a “bulldog” attorney who was notorious for using unethical tactics to win a case.
He refused to provide any information, other than to tell her that the business was insolvent. He stopped paying her bills and the mortgage. When she filed in court, evidence showed he destroyed all the documents in the business and then went to court, and claimed he had never done any bookkeeping in the last several years. The court believed him and ordered zero child support and spousal support. A few days later he went to a concert. During that period he took massive draws of cash out the business while his girlfriend went to spa treatments and collected child support from HER ex-husband. The wife lost the house and her car and applied for welfare. The husband made allegations of child abuse and his girlfriend filed a restraining order against her to harass her, which was eventually dropped.
Of course, the business had been operating the entire time. It had never really been shut down. Since husband had the business, he paid his attack dog attorney $350 an hour while wife had to borrow money. Because he had both the money and an unethical attorney, he eventually simply crushed her into submission with his money by refusing to turn over any documents. Despite clearly required to by the California Family Code, the court offered her absolutely no help. Each time she asked for attorney’s fees, the court denied them, until finally she was forced to give up and accept an unfair settlement. She waived spousal support permanently so she would not be forced to pay the debt he racked up without her knowledge. She refused to file for child support because she was threatened with being forced to pay. Self-employed spouses can report their income erroneously and there is no W-2 to prove otherwise.
During the entire period, he resided in a 5000 square foot mansion owned by his girlfriend, who he had a new baby with, which supposedly was in foreclosure for three years. Girlfriend made $1200 a month. Wife lives in tiny duplex and scrapes by.
These cases, where the spouse with money destroys the spouse without money, are common in the US. Like any court case, the people with money and information win against the people without money and information.
So in short, the courts do have a bias. Women DO get away with filing false restraining orders and more often getting custody of the kids when there is no evidence women are better at raising children. And men do get away with using their money to beat women into giving up. The irony is that, at least in California, it’s usually community property.