“And I rule that custody of the boys goes to the father,” the judge said.
That was it. I lost it.
Here I was taking notes at the end of a two day contested divorce hearing. I was a glorified note taker for my then boss at the time. It was almost 25 years ago at my first job out of law school and I was still a newbie in my first year of law practice.
Our firm represented the wife, a soon-to-be divorced mother of two teenage boys, a stay at home mom who had been married for almost 20 years, and bookkeeper for her husband’s small business.
Tears were flowing down my cheeks and I was trying hard not to snuffle too hard the snot running out of my nose.
Our client and my boss were stunned, too incredulous to speak.
Our client lost custody, the marital home, her interest in the business she had helped her husband build from scratch, was denied even temporary alimony so she could go back to school (she had dropped out of college to get married), and, talk about kicking someone when they’re down, she was ordered to pay child support to her husband based on imputed minimum wage income. The judge said she was qualified to get a job at McDonald’s for minimum wage.
Even though I was not the attorney on the case (thank God!), I had spent countless hours with our client getting her ready for the hearing and had gathered and organized hundreds of pages of financial documents to show her husband had been hiding money during the course of the divorce proceedings.
No matter, our client got scr’ood (yes, this was an intentional typo, Mom).
It was then, sitting around a table in the judge’s Chambers on full display of the judge, clients, court reporter, and other attorneys with tears streaming down my face and snot running out of my nose, that I vowed I would never practice family law. I just don’t have the stomach for it. I obviously get too emotionally involved with my clients.
The next day I informed my boss that I did not want to practice family law and could I instead take over his estate planning, probate, and guardianship practice. Thankfully, he agreed.
[Oh, and don’t think that I’m bashing men with this story. I’m just telling you the facts as they were. We also represented many men that I thought got the shaft in their divorce. This particular case, however, hit me really hard because the outcome was so egregious in my opinion.]
So now you know the real story about how I began helping clients with their Wills, Trusts, and Estates.
Once I got my feet wet, there was no turning back nor second guessing where my legal passions lie, helping clients plan and organize their affairs to protect their loved ones from unnecessary government interference, exorbitant legal fees, and outrageous time delays.
If you are unclear if your family is protected from the above, you can schedule a time for me to review your plan and situation here (choose the Family Succession Strategy Session option):
So, now you know my embarrassing confession of crying in the courtroom.
I promise I won’t embarrass you when we get together.
Kristen “Embarrassing Herself in the Courtroom” Marks