With a new family court judge in town, I decided to make another attempt to get an order to see my kids. I talked to a lawyer, explained the facts, and he said that I had a strong case.
At our second meeting, I paid him a $2000 retainer and signed a contract. I never got a copy of the contract, and had no time to read it, so I have no idea what I signed. I gave him the pertinent documents, and explained my case in greater detail. I gave him a 5-page draft of the motion I wanted him to bring to the court, along with the supporting documents.
I had another meeting with the lawyer yesterday, and I expected him to have a revised draft of the legal brief that we could finalize and submit to the court. Instead he said that he had reviewed the file, and we needed to have a talk.
He said that I would have a better case if I had actually abused my kids. Then I could be sent to counseling to make sure I don't do it again, and then get my kids back. But as it is, there is no remedy that suitably punishes me for what I did not do.
He said that he searched the file and could not find anything that I did wrong, but he said that Cmr. Irwin Joseph and CPS must have had some reason for disliking me. He can't figure out what it is, but if I won't admit to some wrongdoing then he doesn't want to help.
Then he tried to get me to admit some responsibility for Elizabeth Lee refusing to do an evaluation. I said that Ms. Lee told the court that she was unable to do the evaluation. He said that she was probably lying to the court, and was actually refusing because she didn't like my attitude. Then he said that I was lucky that she refused because she is a horrible evaluator. Jay Muccilli is a better evaluator, he said, and if only I had not described on this blog something that Muccilli did in court a couple of years ago, maybe he would be willing to do an evaluation of me.
The lawyer tried to convince me that I should welcome an evaluation from a psychologist like Muccilli. They have white middle class values just like me, he said, and Muccilli would give an honest evaluation. I asked him if he had ever heard of Muccilli giving a recommendation that went against the outcome that the court wanted. No, he had not. I really don't think that Muccilli shares my values.
The lawyer tried to get me to admit that I was a danger to my kids. I explained to him that I was not even accused of being a danger to my kids, and the court made no such finding. He said, "It is implied. Why else would Cmr. Joseph take your kids away unless you were a danger to your kids?".
He said that Cmr. Joseph did find fault with me setting the alarm clock for 7:00. He said, "That's f***ed up. You should have let them set the alarm clock for whenever they want, and maybe they would discover for themselves that 7:00 was a good time."
At this point I told him that I was not paying him for parenting advice, but to protect my legal rights. The lawyer said that I should not tell him what his job is, and that I do not have any legal rights. My kids have a legal right to see me, but I have no legal right to see them, he said. Furthermore, he said that as long as I was going to argue about my legal rights, the authorities were going to punish me for my attitude and not let me see my kids.
I was flabbergasted. A lawyer who is not willing to speak up for my legal rights is of no use to me. He said that he would refund the unused part of my retainer. I don't see why he should get to keep any of the retainer. I didn't pay him to just read the file and lecture me on how my legal position is hopeless. I paid him to bring a motion to the court. He has failed to do it.