Kate’s husband Mark served her with divorce papers 2 years ago. He then moved into the basement and started living life as a bachelor. He came and went as he pleased.
Kate found Mark’s profile on Bumble and Hinge. She was devastated. She felt blindsided. Kate asked him to leave but he refused without the promise of a 50/50 parenting arrangement for the kids. Her world was upside down.
The kids were 10 and 13. A son and a daughter.
Kate had always been the parent with the boots on the ground. The kids would come to Kate for any and all problems – from a skinned knee to friend drama. She was the parent who did homework with them and arranged all doctor appointments. There was no way Kate was going to agree to a 50/50 parenting arrangement – especially if the kids wouldn’t want that. And they wouldn’t.
Kate’s hired a nice young lawyer with a reasonable hourly rate. Her first appearance in court sucked. Mark’s lawyer ran circles around Kate’s lawyer. What a fiasco.
Kate started to wonder if she should agree to a 50/50. But here’s the kicker. Kate was also the higher earner. If she agreed to the 50/50, she would have to pay Mark child support. Not only would the kids be unhappy, but so would she. There was no way Kate was giving this lazy underearning philandering f*** a penny. He can keep living in the basement on the pull-out.
Kate found me just after that terrible court appearance. I helped her fire the ineffective lawyer and get a better one. Kate had no idea that she needed to switch lawyers until we spoke. Fast forward 12 months:
The cheating ex has vacated the premises. Kate lives in the matrimonial home, which has yet to be divided. He has the kids every other weekend and Wednesday nights. The kids are pretty happy with this schedule.
The children got to speak to the “nicest” social worker who completed a Voice of the Child Report. The kids told her that they didn’t like how dad gets angry. They also declared that they don’t want to spend any additional time at his house. All their friends live near mom’s place. It is all written down and ready for a judge to read and make into a court order.
The ex is about to be ordered by the judge to pay child support. Mark is sending Kate emails asking her to call off her lawyer. He is begging her to negotiate an agreement instead of going back to court. He seems desperate.
Kate is starting to think about how she can get what she wants to maximize her financial settlement. Maybe she will let him off monthly support by taking a larger portion of the equity in the house. Maybe she will keep the entire joint investment account in exchange for his monthly. Kate is having fun considering all the ways she can use her leverage to make a deal that is perfect for her and her kids. Kate is feeling powerful and excited to settle this on her terms.
How did we get here?
How did we get from chaos in family court to Kate sitting pretty on the brink of settlement, holding all the cards?
Here’s how – after some strategic coaching from you-know-who, Kate switched lawyers. Sounds simple enough, but it isn’t. In fact, this is the most common skill lacking in divorce litigants. Knowing when to listen to your lawyer and when to switch.