Assisting Legal Counsel
Attorneys are trained in the law -- a technical set of rules and procedures. However, child custody cases are not like fighting an insurance company over a claim. When developing a legal strategy for a child custody case it is essential that a parent’s personality and behaviours as well as the long-term parent-child relationship be considered. Knowing these, what judges prefer, and possibly modifying them will impact how the immediate case proceeds.
I have vast experience in child custody cases handled in the courtroom and have had numerous candid conversations with judges about parents. From those experiences I have gleaned the knowledge of what judges see as parental strengths and weaknesses as well as the behaviours that they find favourable or unfavourable.
Child custody cases are more of a psychological experience rather than a legal one. To get the best results from your attorney it is essential that the psychological aspects be integrated into the technical framework of the case.
Likewise, it is essential that you and your attorney agree on the objective. By their nature and training attorney’s will seek to satisfy an immediate outcome -- win the case. For a parent though, the object may and should be the long-term parent-child relationship which will extend for many years after the court has lost jurisdiction.
Beyond integrating the psychological and legal aspects of a child custody case I have experience doing the extremely technical and analytical craft of writing appeals. When Craig Scarberry had his children taken from him because he changed his religion from Christian to Agnostic I got the State of Indiana to pay $3200 for a transcript and then got the ACLU of Indiana to take the case. I suggested and wrote for the ACLU a Motion to Stay the order pending appeal. Mr Scarberry had his children returned to him within a few weeks.
When Brian Moore was found in contempt of court for failing to pay child support and sentenced to jail I wrote an appeal brief arguing that he was denied the right to counsel at the state’s expense. The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with me in the published opinion Moore v Moore (Ind Ct App 2014). This case law requires that, when jail time is sought for contempt, judges advise alleged contemnors of their right to counsel and to do an inquiry into the accused's ability to pay for counsel and to appoint counsel if the accused cannot afford one.