For most people a divorce is a personally painful experience that can be navigated privately and with the help and support of family and friends. For those who married abusive partners, a California divorce case can mean a slow emotional, financial and even physical death, Once an attorney connected socially, financially and professionally to the family court judges is hired in your divorce, you will lose your dignity, your money, your children and even your freedom. Divorces that once took 6 months to a year, are now taking the average California family 5-7 years, and if an appeal is filed 10-12 years. Judges are not following the law, and every thing you saw on tv or learned in school about fairness in the court does not apply where incompetent judges and crooked lawyers work to prey on your family and deplete your community property estate for their own personal gain and political advancement.
How To Find a Divorce, Probate or Custody Lawyer
AndFinding a lawyer can be tricky. You can use the recommendation of a friend or family member, but odds are when you are looking for a divorce lawyer your married friends will have no idea how to help you. Rest assured, if your former spouse seeks you ill will in a divorce case, they will hunt down the most crooked lawyers in your community and conflict all of them out. This is done by meeting a lawyer in advance of filing for divorce. Many spouses report that it is in these meetings that collusion with a lawyer begins. Divorcing couples often find that the spouse willing to play dirty and hard in a divorce, often consulted with an attorney long before a divorce was filed. This allows assets to be moved around and conflicts to be created so the other spouse is screwed before they even end up in court. By paying for an hour consultation with 10 of the worst lawyers in the area, the other spouse is prevented from hiring a lawyer who can assure a fair divorce or custody outcome. These lawyers all belong to the same clubs and local bar associations and they trade wins and losses in court like poker chips at a school fundraiser.
You can try to find a lawyer on YELP , but be wary, the most corrupt lawyers in your community likely send takedown notices and threaten YELP if bad reviews are left on their profile. The local bar association may actually refer you the most corrupt lawyers in your county. Because the local district attorney does not report lawyers under criminal indictment, you might even hire a lawyer who is an outright crook and could be disbarred before your divorce is ever finished.
The Retainer - Or Fee Agreement
Once you are completely frazzled, an attorney who agrees to represent you will likely offer you a retainer, or fee agreement. This will spell out all the legal jargon, but be wary, this is all to protect the lawyer, not you.
What they don't explain is, even if they commit malpractice, you will not likely be able to sue them. No lawyers in the area will take your case. In fact only about five lawyers in the state will sue for malpractice and one is the husband of Victoria Henley, the woman who used to run the Commission on Judicial Performance, the state watchdog, which has done little over the past 20 years to protect the public from judge crime.
California's State Bar is equally corrupt and chalked full of cronyism and filing a complaint against an attorney who steals money, acts unlawfully or commits malpractice, will likely never go anywhere as long as the lawyers are charged with protecting themselves before they protect the public seeking to hire lawyers in their most vulnerable moments. To file a complaint with the state bar, follow this link.
More importantly - use an anonymous name (to prevent retaliation) and be sure to patriciate in the public comment the state agency has to allow. Or get a copy of the ethics lawyers are supposed to adhere to, but never do. Judges are in fact to control attorney misconduct as a matter of law, but when these folks mix and mingle, drink and dine, or exchange personal phone numbers they lose their inability to ever be fair. And while judges are rarely in trouble for failing to follow the law, if you really want to read up on how the system should work when it comes to protecting the public from bad judges and lawyers, this recent decision may give you some incite, it was published in June 2019.
Bottom line. . .lawyers must get you to sign fee agreements before they formally represent you, but if you hire a crooked lawyer, that fee agreement is going to protect their criminality, not you.
Attorney Fees & Costs
After the shock of the retainer you have to pay a lawyer, you may become subject to court appointments. These can be made voluntarily ( you agree), or involuntarily where the court just uses a rote recital and puts their buddies into a case. There is no expectation these lawyers will follow the law, or really do anything in the best interest of anyone's children, other than their own.
How much will this cost you and your children? An audit from 27 counties show that the cost can be $20-100,000 a year for these appointments. You may not object and the lawyers can often stay in a case for 5-10 years until your children age out. These payments are assured to lawyers who can place liens on your home, your business and your bank accounts by court order with the judges they are friendly too.
Attorneys cheat on their bills. That is a fact. They over bill, they charge for " work" that is not really work and they double or triple bill multiple clients. Then once they get you totally under duress, the settle out your case and withdraw, taking all of your money and children's futures with them. It is an unregulated racket and if you end up in divorce court, you will come out with nothing, unless you conspired with your lawyer, then you may get caught in a civil or criminal case that will cost more than your divorce ever did.
Cost of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is the new cash and carry billing in family law cases. Not only are family law attorneys getting in on the game but criminal defense attorneys are now popping onto the scene where domestic violence can be alleged in both a criminal case, and a family law case. Family law attorneys are reportedly colluding with local prosecutors to take on, or dismiss, DV claims brought by self- represented litigants, or spouses who can not afford to hire a lawyer " inside the local family law tent".
Bailiff Carries a Gun
Spouses who believe a fair day in court still exists often ask why the lawyers and judges do not follow the law. The answer is simple, the bailiff carries a gun and judges are known to arrest and jail a spouse for speaking up, or for merely being disliked. This photo was taken at a holiday party for a local bar association. Judges, lawyers and deputies in full uniform ate, drank and entertained court clerks and staff by mocking spouses who had to represent themselves in court, or who had a lawyer not part of the local collusion. Whistleblowers from the event report the bar didn't even pay the photographer for the photos they asked that photographer to take.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy Oliveri had been assigned to courtrooms for Judge Mary Ann Grilli and James Towery in both the Sunnyvale and San Jose family courthouses. He was reported to be taking cash bribes for judges disguised as payments for court transcripts and he was known to favor celebrity athletes, lawyers and others whom the judges in his courtroom favored. Oliveri reportedly used the money he made in overtime and bribes to pay for his wedding to another Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy following a controversial 2018 election.
Attorney For The Children
This is a sample of the form that is required when a judge appoints an attorney in a divorce case to represent the "Best Interests of the Children. What a judge does not tell you when they make these appointments, is:
#1 The lawyer is required to file an FL322 within 10 days of this appointment and the county's presiding judge is required to keep a list of qualified lawyers who have taken special courses and demonstrated unique qualifications to represent children. Most lawyers, and judges never follow the law where this is concerned, especially when the judge is a former attorney connected to the local prosecutor's office.
From interviews with children who grew up in the system, we know family courts have done nothing to act in their best interest. In fact in the case of attorneys and so called experts including Valerie Houghton, Keri Evilsizor, Elise Mitchell, Bradford Baugh, Nat Hales, Richard Roggia, Rebecca Bailey, Irwin Joseph, Keith Dolnick, Tom Tuttle, David Weinberg, Nancy Perkovich, Diana Richmond, Dominic Porrino, Michael Kerner, Sean Onderick, Hector Moreno, Annie Fortino, Paula Salinger, Jason Pintar, Donelle Morgan, Catherine Bechtel, Travis Krepelka, Ellen Mulden, Jim Hoover, Rory Cortezee, Debra Crawford, Katherine Dorest, and Heather Allan, these lawyers were actually paid with court ordered fees to destroy the lives of the children whose parents had the misfortune of divorcing in Santa Clara, Solano, Napa, Marin, Sacramento, Contra Costa, San Diego, and Orange County.