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  1. #1
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    Sep. 18, 2004
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    Default Divorce/Custody/Murder/Suicide UPDATE !! ANOTHER ONE ON CNN

    Today is the funeral for the two little girls in Mechanicsville murdered by their father, who then killed himself. There are more and more of these incidents every day. At what point do we start to ask ourselves how culpable the attorneys and our legal system is ?
    I am a CASA, and am constantly disgusted by the prevailing adversarial system when it comes to custody matters. The whole format needs to be revamped.
    Children are entitled to find their own path to a relationship with EACH parent, totally separated from the toxins spewed about the exes.
    Custody needs to BEGIN with common ground, with the goal being the continuing involvement of each parent.
    Thoughts ?
    Last edited by Stellaspeed; Feb. 5, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength



  2. #2
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    May. 10, 2009
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    There is nothing I despise in a person more than the inability (and face it, it's not inability, it's complete selfish unwillingness) of parents to put aside their differences for the common good of the children they put in this world. If you can't live together, fine, but suck it up and do right by your kids. They didn't ask to be born, you made that choice, and now you are responsible for their wellbeing until they reach adulthood. That includes their physical AND emotional wellbeing. Pitting kids against the other parent is wrong and it's disgusting. They can make their own judgements about their parents, that is their right as a human being. Parents have NO right to use their children against each other in an ugly breakup.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Tragic. But I don't understand why you are blaming the attorneys. They can't make parents get along and work together. They didn't split up the marriage -- the marriage is usually long over before the first attorney is involved. And the parent was, in fact, the murderer here.

    Blame the real culprit -- parents who hate each other and take it out on the kids.

    IME, family law attorneys spend much of their time talking the parents down from truly extreme positions. What you see in court is the most reasonable they can get the parents to be.

    In most of these arrangements, there is no common ground.

    And perhaps there was a basis for denying this guy custody. It is probably reasonable to think kids should be kept away from the kind of guy who murders his own children.



  4. #4
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    I just think that the attorneys are in the best position to intervene and get everybody back down to DEFCON 1 before things explode. In so many of these situations it comes to the surface that there were warning signs beforehand.
    There needs to be some mechanism to limit the adversarial approach to custody issues . Unfortunately that wouldn't be as profitable though would it ?
    Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength



  5. #5
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    I think you greatly overestimate the ability of attorneys to influence their clients' actions, especially their relationships with their exes.

    Attorneys are advocates, not social workers/psychiatrists/magicians/etc.


    Hindsight is 20/20. I am sure if the attorneys really thought he would kill the kids, they would have tried to prevent it. Even if they did, there is precious little an attorney can do. Paperwork rarely saves lives, much to our frustration.



  6. #6
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    Jun. 24, 2009
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    Default

    Code:
    I just think that the attorneys are in the best position to intervene and get everybody back down to DEFCON 1 before things explode. In so many of these situations it comes to the surface that there were warning signs beforehand. 
    There needs to be some mechanism to limit the adversarial approach to custody issues . Unfortunately that wouldn't be as profitable though would it
    Attorneys usually ARE trying to intervene and talk sense into these people. To blame them is really ridiculous.

    If you're going to go around pointing fingers at people WHO WEREN"T HOLDING A GUN, maybe try family members, friends, police who were previously called in a domestic dispute, the kid's teachers, the "other lover" who broke up the marriage, etc.

    Or you could just blame the person who pulled the trigger.

    -from someone who works in a law office and sees all kinds of custody/access/divorce disputes



  7. #7
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    Sep. 18, 2004
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    I am frustrated with a SYSTEM that has an ADVERSARIAL basis where there should not be one . And sorry, but not every attorney invests 100% in ensuring that the situation does not escalate. Like you said, they are not social workers, but that is my point...somewhere in the process should be a detour or a mechanism when the possibility of violence arises. Custody has become a scorched earth approach where the children become collateral damage and get killed in the crossfire. Increasingly.
    Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength



  8. #8
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    Jun. 24, 2009
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    Default

    I'm in Canada so maybe things aren't as adversarial here?



  9. #9
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    Mar. 1, 2003
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    If you are frustrated with the adversarial system, then you should be looking at the legislative part of government (the people who make the laws), not the judicial part (the court system which tries to apply them, in the framework they are given).

    In other words - the SYSTEM is there because of the laws that are in place - laws that we, as a society, have basically agreed to in our "social contract" by living here.

    Your complaints should be directed to your government representative - with a constructive way of changing the system to be less adversarial.

    I have often thought that kids in middle school should have to take some sort of hands-on course that includes things like changing diapers, managing finances (single parent/child support), going to open court to see custody battles in action etc. Maybe it will make them think twice about the actual consequences of their actions.
    Last edited by Blugal; Feb. 3, 2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Refresher on the 3 branches of gov't...
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  10. #10
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Well, attorneys can be part of the problem, it IS an adversarial system. When I was divorcing way back in 1993, I interviewed several attorneys. I was the one leaving. 3 out of 4 attorneys I interviewed had a serious "we'll get him!" attitude. I chose the 4th. There was nothing to "get him" over, I just wanted out and I wanted to do it as peacefully and cooperatively as possible. My ex husband WOULD have turned into an asshole and, it would have damaged his relationship with our son, if I'd been adversarial about it...he was and is a very immature man. I asked for nothing and gave him 50/50 custoday, to keep him calm and keep the peace. Mass law doesn't actually support that setup, I had to fight tooth and nail to just seperate, not exchange money and split custody of the kid 50/50. Finding a lawyer who would just make what I wanted (because I know the ex better than anyone and know what's going to protect the child) legal wasn't all that easy.

    SOMEONE has to be the big person in a divorce with kids, it means shutting up, putting up and maybe getting less than what's technically "fair" or less than what you might ideally want. If both people are grownups, great, you probably wouldn't be getting divorced in the first place.

    My current husband his and his ex were both immature and incapable of sucking it up on the ego front when they divorced and their former family has the carnage (metaphorical, THANKFULLY, not literal) to show for it.



  11. #11
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    Jun. 24, 2009
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    What, specifically, needs to change about the system? If both parties are amicable, around here anyways, then it will be an amicable divorce/custody.

    It only becomes "adversarial" if the parties make it that way.

    There are also several programs in this area (collaborative law/mediators) to get the parties together to discuss the issues as adults, without going through the court system. Minutes of Settlement as agreed on by the parties get attached to the divorce application and filed in court -- the "system" is not trying to pit people against each other. jmo/jme



  12. #12
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    I'm a child of parents who divorced in the early 1970s just as it was becoming fashionable and before anyone knew how to do it well for the kids.

    Divorce is adversarial because it brings up the truth that marriage is an economic deal... when everyone was taught to believe that is was only about love.

    Nothing feels worse than losing love, support, self-esteem and economic security at the hand of someone who promised lots "'til death do us part."

    So many divorcing folks feel an ungodly amount of pain and do stuff they never had planned on. They do damaging things to their kids and don't see it.

    None of this excuses these consenting adults. None of it excuses attorneys who capitalize on the adversarial nature of a deal gone bad. But attorneys didn't cause the problem.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  13. #13
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    May. 21, 2008
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    Nothing to add, but as a former foster parent, just wanted to say THANK YOU for you giving your time as a CASA.



  14. #14
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    Aug. 10, 2008
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    I don't think it is the lawyer, or the judge, or even frequently the mom. WARNING: A very sexist comment coming up. It is the MEN who think they own their children and/or their wives. For every muderous mom, there are a LOT more dads who will kill what they can't control.



  15. #15
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    I agree that the fault is really with the parents, and there's only so much lawyers could change. Some people just WILL NOT be amicable in a divorce, and there is no way to make them so.

    That said, my opinion of some law practices just from their advertisements I hear is sometimes not the effect they intended. I remember hearing a commercial from a practice who handled custody and also accidents. They had a few former clients giving their 10 seconds of how awesome this firm had been for them. One of these former clients, though accident and not custody, stated proudly, "(Practice) got me every cent I had coming to me - and THEN some."

    Yes, they actually used that testimonial themselves in their own commercial. I immediately made a note that I would never hire that firm for anything, as I could never trust their professional morals based on their own advertising. We shouldn't want every cent coming to us and THEN some. In certain circumstances, we shouldn't even demand every cent coming to us.

    There are good court officials and lawyers, though. Ultimately, the blame does lie with one or both parents. Not always both. Some people simply cannot be reasoned with, no matter who tried. Another thing Mom's first marriage taught me that it does not always take two people to start a fight. One person who is mentally unstable can start one on his own, and it cannot always be defused before blast-off, even by folks who know him best.



  16. #16
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    God bless those little girls ...

    Yet honestly, the system is made up of people. So were/are the parents. This is a people problem that goes much deeper than legislature or old laws and those who work to keep, bend or maintain them.

    As a whole, if people would just strive to be better humans we would need no laws.
    "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"



  17. #17
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    Sounding in again. Poor little girls, and poor family. Pity he didn't shoot himself, too. Of did he?

    ETA: Oops, saw that he did kill himself. That is a lot of anger.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 11, 2004
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    Many divorce attorneys do make it worse...Ex-Mrs. Trakehner went for a nasty junk yard dog of a lawyer. My lawyer was amazed at this guy (I had a female attorney) and really wanted to go to court to go after the guy. I've told friends going through divorces to try and keep it civil and don't go to war if you don't need to.

    Far as kids and custody. 70% of all divorces are initiated by the wife, who tends to get the kids...the mother. Men rarely get custody even if the wife was the "guilty" party or a real lowlife. There's always the nuclear option they can use, "I think he may have molested the girls" and he's instantly guilty. Judges are less than understanding or fair.

    It's only getting worse. It's not that men see the kids as their property. It's the courts and wives/mothers who see the kids as only hers and him as a wallet.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"



  19. #19
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    Jun. 18, 2011
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    Okay several years ago there was a man who lived w/ his girlfriend and they had two kids. they were never married so when they broke up there was no lawyer, I don't believe there were any domestic abuse problems.So one day he calls up his x and says I'm taking the kids. She knew he was up to no good, called the police and as was on the phone w/ 911 she found that SOB and her two small kids (like 2 and 4) all hanging from trees. Another situation - a man shows up at his ex's house, kills her, then goes picks up his stepson from his sleepover - there are photos of them at a gas station and some other store both looking happy. The SOB then takes this sweet innocent child to the woods where he proceeds to bash his head in with a baseball bat and leaves him there alone, scared, frightened to die. Is that the legal systems fault, is that a lawyers fault who's been done w/ the case? No. Unfortunately this society has bred some sick bastards out there -and who knows why but we need now NOT to blame society or the lawyer or anything but the SOB who killed his family. I am so sick and tired of things being everyone else's fault but the perpetrator.



  20. #20
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    There are different factors in every divorce that come into play - but the key is the relationship between the two individuals going through the divorce.

    In this extremely unfortunate incident, the father had been laid off, unemployed for an extended period of time, and other factors were at work. Not just an adversarial relationship between him and the not-yet-ex-wife. There were clearly other issues at work with this man - this happened near me and I have followed the story closely.

    So - I don't think that the blame for this incident can be laid 100% on the attorneys.
    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post

    Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.



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