Robbins & Onello recently represented a Dad in a matter of unique circumstances – specifically, Dad was not aware that he had a child until several years after the child was born. Mom and Dad were never married and stopped communicating several months prior to the child’s birth and Dad’s first actual notice that he was a father occurred years later, when Mom attempted to collect child support.
Initially, Robbins & Onello did not represent Dad; our services were retained mid-Discovery. At that time Mom and Dad were not communicating well and Dad was frustrated in all respects, to say the least. Dad had previously received a temporary order, granting him a “graduated visitation schedule,” which Mom was not following. Dad would show up to pick up the child; Mom would not be there. Mom would send Dad medical invoices, requesting reimbursement for medical devices and treatment that Dad had no knowledge of. Mom would send Dad vulgar and threatening messages. Mom was not cooperating and Dad had enough.
Under the advice of Robbins & Onello, Dad documented EVERYTHING. Dad called the police, as advised, when Mom would not follow the Court order; the police would assist with enforcement. After a few months of working together with his attorney, Dad had a well-documented case and could show that Mom was interfering; the evidence was substantial. Best part – Dad had everything in writing.
Although never ordered, Mom unilaterally decided the minor child needed to see a therapist. In fact, Mom also unilaterally changed the therapist on a few occasions, likely to interfere with Dad’s participation so that she could later argue that Dad refused to participate. As advised, Dad made an effort to be involved in the therapy process and he was diligent. After only a few phone calls to the alleged therapists, Dad uncovered that Mom had not been sincere about her representations regarding the child’s therapists. The therapy was infrequent and was basically used as an attempt to show the Court that the child was not adjusting well to Dad. Mom was attempting to fabricate a problem to strengthen her case. Dad listened to his attorney; the information he obtained was the reason he succeeded in obtaining joint custody at trial.
Dad succeeded at trial because he listened to his attorney along the way. Dad now has joint legal and joint physical custody, week-on/week-off and pays zero child support, as Dad also was able to show that Mom’s income potential was much higher than previously stated to the Court. Dad was also not required to pay for the past unnecessary medical expenses, as Dad was able to show that Mom either did not incur those expenses, or she unnecessarily incurred those expenses.
Dad succeeded on every issue and saved himself money that would have been spent in additional discovery. Why? Because he listened to his attorney and he was diligent. Dad made a few phone calls that he would not have made otherwise; Dad documented everything and only involved the police when necessary; Dad timely provided his attorney all records that he received along the way. With just a little extra effort from Dad, and guidance from his attorney, Dad succeeded. Find the right attorney, listen to him/her, and you can do the same.
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