I have always been honest to a fault. In fact, one of the things that bothered me about my abusive situation was the need to hide things in order to feel safe. I didn’t like living like that and it wasn’t who I was. So, the fact that my ex’s attorney and my ex are watching this blog and have been voyeurs in my life since the get-go, doesn’t bother me. I write nothing that I have not said or would not say to their face given the opportunity. I think what makes my situation unique is that I felt his attorney, who was our attorney when married, was a friend to both of us and wanted what was best for our children. I was pregnant when my ex and he played in a band together. This is a man who would change lyrics to include my name. I made him laugh while he was singing by pretending my hand was singing and adding silly eyeballs. This was a man, after the first restraining order who called me at home and said ” I want things to be okay for you two. I told “X” if he can’t behave, then I’ll take him one floor down to divorce court and file the paperwork.” For a while, he appeared to have my back. He appeared to care for the well-being of the family as a whole.
Now my ex uses his attorney to abuse me. My divorce cost me way more than it should because there was a lot of grandstanding and my attorney was inundated with unnecessary paperwork. When I talk to other attorneys about my ex’s attorney, they all use the word abusive to describe him without even knowing what my issues are with him. Having been a paralegal, I can tell you that there are many attorneys who have an immense amount of respect for one another. Think about during a football game where the competition has high stakes in some cases but the players help the other team up. A lot of attorneys will talk on the phone and try to come up with the best solution for all involved. I have worked with attorneys who have sat their own client down and said, “I think this is fair. Keep in mind the children etc…or whatever the case may be…” and they have advised their client to do what is in the best interest, the fairest interest for both parties. However, when one attorney, who is a friend, says to me “When I see that your ex’s attorney is on the other side, I have to decide if I want to be abused or not. Life is too short to be abused by that man.” I wasn’t shocked to hear this. In fact, I remember a time as a paralegal where my ex’s attorney, who was not a friend of my husbands at the time, called the law firm where I worked and refused to talk to me because I was not an attorney. My attorney, who was a highly respected professional said to me, “You are my right-hand person. If he doesn’t want to talk to you, then he doesn’t want to talk to me bad enough. I hired you for a reason and you can relay that message to him.”
So, your ex’s attorney is now abusing you, (although he will tell you he is doing his job but clearly from the tone of his letters, he is not just doing his job), what can you do? Well, I started responding to his letters. I started letting him know when his client was being less than stellar. When he wasn’t available to be a Dad. When he bailed on the kids. When he didn’t pay me on time. When I had to call the police because he threatened me. I have answered his papers, refused to engage in some court filings and come out with the exact outcome I wanted by communicating by letter and over the phone with the judge. I’ve called the Monroe County Bar Association and spoken with people there about what other attorneys are saying about him. You see, I’m doing my research because he can’t hurt me anymore than my ex already has. Call some other attorneys and ask how they feel about your ex’s attorney. I have nothing to lose. What am I going to lose? My equity in the marital home? I’ve lived with financial abuse my whole life with my ex. What’s one more time? I’ve been called names, horrible names that even enemies wouldn’t say to each other. What’s he going to do? Show people pictures of a just moved out of messy/dirty house that needed to be cleaned? So what. I own who I was in that marriage and I now understand the psychology behind it. I also have pictures of how he left the place when he walked out. The receipts and changes and improvements I made, some internal which took money away from the cosmetic and I have pictures of the sparkling clean house I left. I have witnesses that I am the one that cleaned that house out by myself after 20 years of living there. I have witnesses to the abuse. I have Restraining Orders. I have pictures of bruises and medical reports of doctor’s visits. I have marriage counselors and counselors who helped me through. I have a record of my life with my abuser. Pages and pages of diaries and notes. I cannot be hurt any more than I already have been.
So, yesterday’s blog was about suing your abuser. Yeah, I could do that. I certainly have the basis and the evidence but I’m interested in ending the cycle of abuse and being happy and enjoying the love in my life. I’m not interested in dragging the ex into court and dancing with him any more than I already have to, but you do have the option and I will continue to write on the subject.
Listen, it’s time to start recognizing the abusers. Even when they come in attorney form and it’s time to start sticking up for yourself and saying, “You are allowing my ex (or my abuser) to abuse me through you and I’m not going to stand for it.” Call them out. Copy in the judge. Just be careful to not to misconstrue true legalese for abuse. It’s a hard call. If the paperwork sounds like projection, then there is a good chance that some of it is your ex abusing you through his attorney. Which means, if the attorney sounds too much like your ex, your ex is using his attorney to do his dirty work. Always remember to be respectful and as logical as possible. It’s important not to be abrasive and abusive yourself to the attorney especially if you are copying in a judge.
Any questions? Drop me a comment or private email.