1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

The Unwritten Rules of Divorce

By November 7, 2007

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If you have been through divorce then you are familiar with the rules and procedures that govern the legal process. Divorce is a civil action, and every state has rules of civil procedure.

What you don't hear about — but have probably fallen victim to — are the unwritten rules. These are the rules that define how judges and lawyers conduct themselves with each other. They have more to do with the outcome of a divorce case than the written rules.

In my next few posts, I'm going to talk about the unwritten rules. It's my opinion that when it comes to the Family Court system, the only interests served are those of divorce lawyers and Family court Judges.

Rule #1. Lawyers and judges cover for each other.

Most judges and lawyers will not report each other for misconduct or violations of judicial ethics. Judges especially can get away with bad behavior, because lawyers don't want to get on a judge's bad side. Lawyers know they will go before that judge again, and staying chummy with the judge is more important than their client getting a high standard of care.

I have a close friend who took her ex spouse back to court seven times to try to collect child support. She had a court order that he pay a certain amount and her attorney had requested that the judge sign an income withholding order so that her ex spouse’s wages could be garnished.

Nearly two years later she is still waiting for the judge to sign the income withholding order and still living with her ex slow leaking child support payments to her at his whim.

What has her attorney done? Nothing, he is afraid of “pissing” the judge off. There are several legal avenues open to her attorney but he refuses to take any of them because whether or not he stays on the judge’s good side is more important than his fiduciary duty to his client.

Therein lies one of the problems with the Family Court System. How can the system hold an ex spouse accountable with the lawyers and judges who run the system can’t held themselves and each other accountable?

How to Protect Yourself Against the Unwritten Rules:

Know your state divorce laws.

Know what to expect during the divorce process.

Know how to handle an adversarial attorney. .

November 12, 2007 at 11:35 pm
(1) Lisa says:

Going through a divorce it took two years to have it finalized which was only three months ago and why I ask because the judge was busy. Till this day I am still asked to send money out for 401K and retirement packages which I feel should have been done during the divorce proceedings. I say it’s rediculous because I am a single mother and cannot afford these fees which my ex served me with papers due to his infedelities. I think it’s a crime these judges and lawyers and wish I can stand up for those than cannot afford this. It’s criminal and frankly all I did get which was not much my lawyer really did not fight for much. I had a breakdown and all he kept saying to me was “you have to be strong”, “you need to work”, you need to move”, “how can you let this man do this to you.” Well, after two silly years I am reliving all this still and what can I do, sue? I am at loss and my two children 9 and 10 have no clue how much money I have paid out for all this and I’m sure will more even again with these papers being passed back and forth still with my ex’s lawyer and my own. I need help. This is upsurd.

March 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(2) Charles says:

All you women complaining about not being paid child support are acting like spoiled little greety children. It is a privilage to have custody of a child. You should not receive payments on top of custody. As a matter of fact, you should be paying your ex since he does not have the privilage of custody. Stop whining and act like an adult.

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