Sometimes, it’s helpful to think about a divorce or custody battle as a series of contests that you need to master before you may be able to obtain a successful result. That’s not to say that this is like a board game – there are real-life consequences here to winning and losing – but there are things that you must do almost perfectly when the stakes are high to avoid disaster. We’ll explain what we mean here using the example of the Netflix show Dirty John.
Now, mini-spoiler alert – if you want to be surprised about all elements of the show stop reading now. We don’t want to ruin anything for you. Ok, we warned you. Last chance. Last last chance…..
At a very high level, the show is about a married couple who winds up going through a very bitter divorce. In the early stages of the couple’s marriage, the wife had supported the husband, a licensed physician who ended up going to law school and became an attorney in the San Diego area.
When it came time to find an attorney to represent her in the divorce, the wife had a hard time getting anyone to represent her. Most attorneys did not want to take on someone who had such a high profile in the local legal community. She eventually found an attorney and that is when things started to take a turn.
Throughout the divorce, the husband would document instances where the wife would make statements or do things that portrayed her in a bad light. When this evidence was used at trial, it was a situation where the wife’s own words and actions were being used against her. She had a very difficult time being able to play any of that down in courtroom, and ultimately ended up leading to…well, you will have to watch the show to find out more.
But, this is a prime example of what we mean by having to be perfect to avoid problems in your case. You almost have to get everything right all the time so that the other party does not have anything to use against you. You do not have the benefit of being able to show the court the context in which these words and actions came from – all the court has in front of it is what you said and what you did. The surrounding circumstances are almost always lost to time.
It’s extremely important to have an experienced attorney on your side if you are going through a divorce or custody situation. You need someone to advise you on the practical issues while you deal with the stress of the matter. You have to work with someone who knows how to play the game, and can help you when things get overwhelming. Remember – winning or losing here has real-life consequences.