The lawyers call it - "Pre- Divorce " planning and it serves to harm families and children more than any other legal abuse out there.
Secret recordings taken from a conversation of divorce attorney Nicole Ford and Michael Clark following a Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council meeting reveal a scheme being used in family court to earn more money for lawyers impacted by COVID. Meaning with courts closed, lawyers are attempting to use domestics violence cases to move to the front of the line and assure cases will be heard and fees will be paid sooner than other motions.
Divorce lawyers are reportedly working with bailiffs in courthouses to identify couples ripe for a false domestic violence claim. According to the Mitchell Papers left behind at a San Jose private school, divorce lawyers are working with clients years before a divorce case and setting up former spouses for a nasty and corrupt divorce that include a claim of domestic violence in the family court.
Unlike criminal domestic violence cases, in family law a single judge, not a jury can hear a case. A CLETS DVRO will render a former spouse support less and struggling to find employment while being sanctioned, fined and discredited such that no judge will rule favorably for that spouse and few lawyers will take a case involving a spouse tarnished with a DV.
Because family court requires only a ponderance of evidence not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, divorce lawyers need merely allege , have a client testify to those allegations, and a judge can consider that proof.
If you get a DV finding, or FC 3044, you are 10 times less likely to get spousal support and may find yourself on supervised visitation with your own children.
A court order for domestic violence is entered into the law enforcement database and will find the person restrained is prohibited from owning a gun and from most types of employment.
Most alarming , these cases are generating $50- 150,000 more in fees for lawyers and appear to be reaching record filings, with little evidence they do anything to protect actual victims.
Three year old emails, hearsay and even tossing a pillow can get folks subject to a CLETS DVRO these days, and judges are approving them for lawyers they favor.
DRAIN THE BANK ACCOUNTS AND HIDE THE MONEY
Hiding money is not a new concept in a divorce, but when the hiding starts years before a divorce is filed, a former spouse can be blindsided and left in the dark about what needs to be done.
Lawyers will rarely tell their clients how a divorce can go, how long it will take or how much it will cost. There will be experts, false claims and lots of fighting until the money that was not hidden is gone.
Jim Hoover of the law firm Hoover Krepelka told a group of victims at a WomenSV meeting that silent violence is otherwise known as coercive control. Meaning an abusive spouse may often hire lawyers to cover their real crimes and bias the local legal community with false claims of abuse.
This control can also mean taking children and the family home. Money hidden for years before a divorce is filed is usually never recoverable.
Divorce lawyers also appear to be failing to file fee requests and with COVID causing pressure on these lawyers, many are shaking clients down for excessive retainers for as much as $100,000.
This often leaves an " out" spouse out of money, out of the house and out of luck when it comes to hiring a lawyer.
LAWYER AND THE COPS
Insiders working in local police departments note that divorce lawyers pay cops to provide information about court proceedings. These lawyers are then soliciting busienss when a case appears to have real property or cash in the bank to pay attorney fees.
Several area police officers also appear to be writing reports, for a kickback, that will win in court for domestic violence or custody matters.
COMBAT EARLY ON
If your spouse files for divorce and you have not had access to bank accounts or business records, you may be out of luck . Lawyers will tell you your half will come later, or will be subject to reimbursement. Rarely can lawyers be hired to collect these monies.
A spouse willing to hide money years before a divorce is filed may have been working with a divorce lawyer early on to rig a win.
THE LOCAL DA
In case you missed it, your local DA has the power to prosecute domestics violence and white collar crimes , but rarely does when clients of certain lawyers request an investigation. In Santa Clara County private judges have been ordering private property sold and children to be kept from parents as part of a scheme the DA has ignored for decades. Further, the DA us usually silent on family law related cases including DV, and fraud., which allows criminals to hire a divorce lawyer to cover up their crimes.
Most insidious is that the Santa Clara DA told dv victim at Women SV that they know cops get it wrong, and victims will be arrested , but offered little support for victims failed by the courts.
In Contra Costa , former DA Mark Peterson was apparently turning away complaints brought against CPS and police. New pressure is mounting in that county and Orange, after the death of a lawyer involved in a federal case arising from a divorce where crimes were ignored by the DA.
If you have a real domestic violence case, or have been falsely accused in a divorce to get your spouse's lawyer more money, we want to hear from you.
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