“The court continued it yet again.”
“Not sure…I think they just wanted to give her one final chance.”
“But you said she tested positive for meth again, didn’t she?”
“Yes…She has not had a clean test–urine, hair follicle…”
“Don’t know dude. I am frustrated.”
Something didn’t add-up. After he left, I decided to look at the case to see what was going on. Clearly he is not telling me something. Officially, there is no bias in favor of mothers—fathers have just the same rights. But of course, there is a tacit bias in favor of mothers when it comes to child custody battles.
So I went to the courthouse to pull his file. I had to know why the court was denying custody to a police detective who has everything going for him—recently promoted to Captain, stable family with wife and two new kids, living in a great neighborhood with fantastic schools. Instead, they were keeping the status quo by leaving the child with a drug addict.
In reviewing the file, I could only come up with one answer: the drug addict mom had one of the best, most credible attorneys in the county representing her, while the dad had a recent law school grad that no one has ever heard of representing him.
This is not a knock to recent law school grads. Some of them are great attorneys and actually may even perform better because they have something to prove. However, the credibility that comes from a seasoned attorney—knowledgeable not only of the law, but of the local judges and their preferences—can usually never be matched by someone just starting out. This is especially true when so much is at stake.
Think of the movies you have seen with the litigator representing the “bad guys.” The criminal defense attorney walks behind the defendant and places his hands on the defendant’s shoulders in view of the jury. You think he is doing that because the attorney really loves the defendant? No, he is using his credibility to humanize that defendant in the eyes of the people that have his fate in their hands.
Judges, after all, are mere mortals and subject to psychological manipulations as well. If a well-liked, local attorney gets up and says, “Your Honor, my client is really trying and she just started a new rehab program,” the judge may very well be more inclined to give her another chance—just as much as they would likely deny that same exact request if someone with no credibility with that judge made it.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” I find it amazing that people will spend top dollar on their cars, clothing, and eateries, but when it comes to investing on their future with their children, they skimp.
Having a respected and skilled child custody lawyer in Southern California on your side is key during this time. Have questions about the next steps? Call the Edgar & Dow.
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