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The Ins and Outs of Litigation Part I — 21 Comments

  1. Joyce, I think that maintaining our dignity and decorum during legal matters is a personal imperative. Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, it’s unfair that we even have to go to court, for any reason. And, yes, we’re going to likely experience “Victim Blame” no matter what the action is. But, remembering that we didn’t deserve whatever was done is the catalyst for personal dignity. I screamed and cried at home, and in sessions, to purge as much as I could of the negativity instead of taking all of that into the courtroom with me.

    The Judges do not, and CANNOT, “care” about the emotions involved in every case that is on their dockets. They simply can’t. And, my attorney put it very bluntly by saying that attorneys and judges become “jaded,” over time – they’ve heard it ALL.

    We, on the other hand, are new to these experiences and we cannot imagine that our emotional states do not factor into decisions. How can someone’s emotional state be unimportant in a court of Law? Well, it just isn’t, and I had the option to either accept that fact and work with it, or deny it and paint myself as a ranting, raving nut bag. I had a choice as to how I was going to approach these matters – there is ALWAYS a choice, even if none of the options are comfortable or pleasant.

    • Hello everyone –
      I am brand new, here and reading as fast as I can!!

      My divorce began in Aug2012 and ended in Aug2013. I knew it was going to get rough. He: six continuances. Me: many recordings of him 🙂

      Good luck to all that have decided to get out.

  2. You did a nice job with this article Truthy, pointing out some good things that we should be aware of IN ADVANCE of the court day.

    I’ve been in court various times and always been anxious, sort of like “stage fright” I guess, and in one case where millions of dollars hinged on it–and I lost–but I will say one thing about that loss, it was somewhat disappointing but not devastating by an stretch of the imagination. It was a suit my husband had filed before his death against a major aircraft company that had stolen one of his inventions and sold 10 million dollars worth of them unknowing to us, and we would have gotten a judgment against them except we had a judge who was in the back pocket I think of that company which was the major employer in the area…I was not surprised we lost even with the evidence we had, but with out my husband’s testimony because of his death, the “rules of evidence’ wouldn’t let us use a lot of the documentation we did have. But you know…stuff happens and all courts don’t dispense justice or right. Just the LAW. And sometimes not even that. LOL

    Were you said “don’t try to predict the outcome” I would have said “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

    We can all give examples or multiple examples of really UNJUST outcomes in court. (sigh) so we have to prepare the best we can and then accept what ever the outcome is.

    THANKS for this article Truthy!

  3. Truthy ~

    Great article, so much useful information. Sticking to the facts and keeping our emotions in check was absolutely the hardest part for me during our custody hearings.

    My therapist told me – talk to your attorney about the facts and legal strategy, call me when you need to talk about emotions. Some of the best advice I got at the time.

  4. Well written article Truthy. Good job and I’m glad you were able to make it thru to the other side, rinse yourself off and move on in life.

    Karma knows no boundaries and we all truly reap what we sow. Like begets like and I recently had the opportunity to spend a few hours with someone I highly respect and would love to pick their brain. It was a beautifully brilliant day.

  5. Good article Truthspeak. It’s important to know that courts do not always impart justice. Since it is an adversarial system, it will tend to attract adversarial people to work in that system. Rather than truth and justice they aim for maximum drama.

    Knowing what to expect helps keep us from being knocked off our feet when the situation doesn’t go our way.

  6. Good comments, all. Keeping EMOTIONS in check is the key point…and boy I am here to tell you that is NOT AN EASY THING TO DO…I remember “losing it” emotionally in various court involved things…even if I won it TORE ME UP inside…whether it was suing a renter for failing to pay rent (even if you get a judgment YOU have to collect it LOL Yea, that’s a joke)

    Of course I am learning to look at things more logically and not allow emotions to take over, but it I don’t think is ever going to be EASY for me. Even if it is not my case, I hate to see someone screwed over by the system. Whether or not it is an innocent person accused of a crime or someone who has had their life savings taken away by a con person.

    I am sure that Truthy and Sky can testify to that situation.

    Custody is another emotionally difficult process too…I remember when Milo was tearing out her hair because of the crooked therapist that was supposed to be respresenting her grandson’s interest and all the woman was interested in was to INCREASE BILLING HOURS. Sometimes attorneys do the same thing.

    I am so fortunate in my parole protest attorney, he is an honest man and while he does charge me, it isn’t nearly what most attorneys would and he puts a LOT of work into it. I am grateful to God to find not only an excellent attorney but an HONEST ONE.

    • Joyce, by the time we find ourselves in front of a Judge, we’re so emotionally ramped up that it’s a tremendous challenge to separate the emotions from the business-at-hand. It was for me, that’s for certain sure!

      “Feelings are not facts,” became a mantra for me, and remains so, today. How I “feel” may have nothing to do with the “facts,” in any situation.

      Our legal system is, indeed, ADVERSARIAL – the attorneys aren’t necessarily interested in what is right, what is true, or what is fair. They are interested in WINNING. Whether it’s a bitter divorce/custody battle, or defending a drunk driver, they are interested in the WIN and we – their clients – pay dearly for their narcissism.

      Once the motions, hearings, and trials are done for the day, they gather together at the nearby pub, knock back a few scotches, and puff their chests up and knuckle-walk around the day’s “losers.”

      Approaching any legal action as a matter of business is the key for us, the litigants and clients. And, it ain’t easy, either. I expected everyone to “feel” as outraged as I was, and that simply wasn’t the case. From my boss to my attorney, people were interested in the details for whatever reasons, but, they were not going to be emotionally connected to my traumas. So, there it is.

  7. Part of it I think Truthy is that we are in an UNFAMILAIR ENVIRONMENT and we are consequently nervous…I remember when I first went into an operating room as a observer in school, there was quite a bit of blood and a couple of my classmates fainted. I didnt’ faint because having grown up butchering animals for meat, I was FAMILIAR with blood and it didn’t bother me…my classmates finally got used to it though and quit fainting.

    I think also if it was ME being operated on I would have been a bit more nervous…LOL and any time I have had to go into surgery as a patient I was a bit nervous..and yet not terrified. But with the court and so much usually depending on the outcome and feeling we have NO control over the outcome, can definitely mess with your head, heart and emotions, and we all know that stress can derail our sanity and good judgment.

    Sometimes we learn this all too late.

  8. Joyce, hopefully, as long as we’re still alive, it’s not too late.
    Sure we pay a huge price for coming late to class but better late than never!!

    It might just be that we can only learn when we’re ready. The lessons were all there, for years, I just couldn’t see them. I couldn’t understand what any of the behaviors I was witnessing meant.

    It reminds me of the story of Helen Keller. She became deaf and blind as an infant. Without communication she simply couldn’t relate to the world around her, until one day, her teacher put her hand under running water and repeatedly signed the word “water” into her hand. Finally, a lightbulb went off in her head and she became an avid learner from then on.

    • Sky, what a terrific analogy! And, you are spot-on about the lessons always being there – I saw, I witnessed, and I experienced. And, yet, I remained in denial about what was so very clear: I could NOT alter how another person treated me, or responded to me, by my own choices, actions, and behaviors. It took two horrid contracts of marriage and countless platonic experiences to “teach” me this simple fact.

      This may be the reason why I have an appreciation of the legal system – it’s NOT about how I feel, but what “is.” The legal systems were my first experiences in the separation of feelings from facts, and I actually “appreciate” this concept, such as it is. It’s a realm that I have been completely unfamiliar with throughout my entire life. 😉

    • Great point Sky!!!!! and a great analogy! I’ve always used the one about what Jesus said “haviing eyes and see not, having ears and hear not” meaning that they COULD hear, but refused, and could see but refused…HELEN KELLAR is the perfect example of a person without eyes that saw and without ears that heard!!!! She actually is one of my heroes, and you know I want to say THANK YOU to YOU for reminding me of that. She’s right up there with Dr. Viktor Frankl who endured the Nazi prison camps and didn’t become bitter…Helen and her teacher are both wonderful examples to us all.

      The legal system’s many rules and “interpretations” of those rules, sometimes splitting hairs to the n-th degree about what is and what is not admissible as evidence etc. frustrates me no end. It allows the guilty to go free and penalizes the innocent victims many times…and don’t get me started on FAMILY court that assumes that “every child needs BOTH parents”—no, a child needs at least ONE nurturing parent but if two are not available, they do NOT need one nurturing and one abusing. A positive and a negative added together equals a ZERO.

  9. Joyce & Sky, what is SO ironic is how it seems that so many people (men AND women) begin this journey after 45, or so. It seems as if that youthful exuberance becomes tempered with the wisdom of experiences. I’ve known people who have remained connected with offenders (both convicted, and never charged) for DECADES in the hope that their loved one would change. The literal fear of the legal processes is one of the primary excuses for maintaining that toxic connection.

    No, our legal systems are not perfect, especially Family Court. My belief is that, if we are made aware that the systems are ADVERSARIAL and have little to do with US, as litigants, we may be better prepared for the disappointments and utter stupidity of outcomes.

    Joyce, you are 100% spot-on: a positive added to a negative of equal value definitely adds up to ZERO. A child has no part in determining WHEN they will be created, or to WHOM they will be produced by. They have no options, no say, and no voice in the matter. And, it seems that people are producing offspring without one thought of how these innocent souls will develop. Eugh…..

  10. It is interesting to me how the courts and laws of one country vary from another…and how they vary in our country from state to state and decade to decade….and judge to judge.

    Of course the only thing that is CONSTANT is “change” LOL

    I sued a renter once to get him to move out, he had apparently figured out that if he paid the first month’s rent, and a deposit, he didn’t have to move until he had been there 3-4-5 months when the land lord finally took him to court and then he still had another 30 days before the sheriff would show up. LOL

    He had of course given me phony references and so on.

    Then he counter sued for $500 for the CAT I had told him he could not have in the house BEFORE he moved in, and he wanted me to pay for the cat and his daughter’s pain and suffering becauase he had to get rid of her cat before he could move into my house.

    I did NOT allow male cats, even neutered ones, because I had to practically GUT a house once because neutered male cats SPRAYED everywhere. I could write a book about litigation with renters. LOL I finally sold my rental units because I got tired of dealing with it, and glad I did as the RE market took a nose dive right after I sold them.

    Civil litigation can be a help in some cases and in others, it gives the true victim little assistance. Usually though, SMALL (meaning just a few hundred or few thousand) cases should be taken up in “small claims court” where you don’t have to pay an attorney $3-5 an hour to go to court with you…and if you do recover a judgment you’ll still have to find a way to collect it.

    • Joyce, 100% spot-on!!!! I’ve never had rental property, except on one occasion, and that was handled by an agent and only lasted for 6 weeks. But, I had a friend who inherited a property that had a renter who refused – simply REFUSED – to pay his rent, and I attended Court with her to have him evicted. I knew that there were “renters’ rights,” but I had no idea how ludicrous those “rights” actually were!!! If that tenant had wanted to draw it out, he could have remained in the property for about 6 months. Luckily, he left a week after the Court ruled for an eviction.

      I think what people are never made aware of about the Legal Systems is that it isn’t always going to make sense or be “fair” in its decisions and rulings. There’s no real way to prepare someone for what actually happens, even IF a judgment is entered. Collecting a judgement is one of the most difficult aspects of the whole process. Sure, a litigant may be awarded damages, but the defendant can easily bankrupt that judgment in a Federal bankruptcy action. And, where does that leave the plaintiff? They’re still out of whatever they lost, and they’ll never collect a plug-nickel of their judgement! That’s precisely why I never sued the exspath in Civil Court, and I don’t regret that decision, one iota.

      And, what I find truly amazing is how the entire courthouse is this place of dominance and knuckle-walking. From security, to the attorneys, to the judges, and even to the clerks, being employed in a courthouse is like being a member of the Knights Templar – it’s a CLUB of adversaries and peons that exert their dominance and control with very little oversight. I mean, Judges make rulings and decisions that are supposed to be based upon evidence and facts-at-hand. So, who do they report to when they place a child with a disordered parent who later murders that child to punish the other parent? What happens to that Judge’s position and career?

      Crazy stuff………..just crazy stuff.

  11. Nothing happens to a judge when their ruling results in an injustice. They get paid the same either way. This is because power and responsibility have been separated. The people working the legal system are protected from responsibility despite the tremendous power that they wield over peoples’ lives. That separation is a hallmark of psychopathy.

    I remember when I was on the board for our neighborhood water association, I learned that we were indemnified from any consequences even if our behavior was deemed “misfeasance” but not if it was “malfeasance”. Even though the other board members were committing malfeasance constantly, they were masking it, pretending they were ignorant and simply didn’t understand. It was blatant malice but they skated because nobody else wanted the job.

    That is why nobody in office is held responsible for their actions: if psychopaths don’t take the job, then nobody will.

  12. I remember studying “business law” (civil) when I was in the 11th grade and the course was simple, of course, but it did define what a tort was. etc. and through the years I have read a bit more on different legal things, and I’m sure no expert, but the thing that has taught me the most is the various civil court proceedings I have experienced, both with and without an attorney. One for 10 million dollars (I was the plaintiff in all but 2 cases) and one for $`1000 where I was the defendant (I won) LOL

    I did pretty much know enough of the civil laws to operate a business.

    I found out though that the various states differ so much on civil law. (This has changed now ) Bankruptcy is a federal thing….and it can either eliminate the debt of someone completely, or it can help him repay the money.

    This law arose from British laws before the revolution of putting people in prison for debts. Of course in prison the person couldn’t work etc. but it was hoped that his family would some how come up with the money to ransom him. Many times that was not even possible.

    When the US laws were written prison for debt was one of the things the founders wanted eliminated, so thus “bankruptcy” Well, though the right to bankrupt is FEDERAL the various little things about what you can KEEP varies from state to state.

    From earliest times a man could keep his working tools and didn’t have to sell them to pay as MUCH OF THE DEBT as he could before the rest was excused, because that would make him unable to support himself. etc

    Here in Arkansas a man could keep his house and 40 acres if it wasn’t mortgaged. This provision was to allow the family to scrape out a bare living and not starve or be on the county poor roles.

    Well this provision was left in the state details. They varied widely from state to state.

    In modern times most folks had a mortgage on their house, and the house would have some equity….but not usually a lot of equity, but a person was allowed in various states to keep X number of dollars in equity of if his equity was lower he could keep his house, if it was more than X, he had to sell the house and pay that extra money on his debt before he was bankrupted.

    Well in Arkansas it didn’t matter if you had a paid for 10 MILLION DOLLAR house and 40 acres of down town Little Rock, YOU COULD KEEP IT ALL. Once your bankruptcy was done you could sell it and be rich again, with all your debts paid off. LOL Do you think folks didn’t take advantage of that if they knew their business was going to fail, or they were in trouble and knew they’d eventually get everything they owned taken away? Of course not. So before the shiat hit the fan, they would gather up all the cash, borrowed or otherwise and buy the biggest most expensive house they could and have it paid for free and clear. Well, that being the case….they had found a way around the bankruptcy law that was put in place for folks that needed it.

    OJ knew he would lose the civil suit for “wrongful death” in court so he managed to give away to his kids or hide his assets so that when he was “unable” to pay the judgments Nichole’s and the other families didn’t get squat.

    I was pleased to see that his criminal appeal saying his former lawyer told him it was okay to go in to “get back” what he said belonged to him (at gun point) was OK was denied.

    But I do believe that there is a completely fair judge, whose laws are unchanging, that we will all one day meet and that He will judge these folks who use the “law” as their excuse to cheat others or hurt others, and those judges who rule unfairly or who take bribes will find that those bribes don’t work in that one true court!

  13. Dear Trustingsoul, welcome to FA blog, glad you arrived here…I’ve been through the wringer as well for about the same period of time with my son and other psychopaths and offenders who have made my life a living hail at times. But with support and educating ourselves we can pull through it all and find peace…and stop hitting ourselves over the head with a mental rolling pin for not getting out sooner. I think forgiving myself was one of the most difficult parts of the entire process…and I do believe that healing is a “journey” not a destination where we get there and all is rosy. In the past when I was hurt I tried to “get over it” and put it in the past, but when I would consider myself “healed” something else would happen and I was back to square one.

    Now, most of the time I cope well with adversity and new hurts, but even if I do melt down with a new hurt that wasn’t expected, I do get back up and crawl out of the hole and back on the road to healing again. The lessons are hard learned but very valuable and we each learn them when we are ready. You can’t teach a newborn baby the ABCs and a certain level of maturity is necessary to learn some things, so we learn it when we are ready and willing to accept the lesson. God bless.

    • Thank you Joyce. Your words are so kind. So helpful.

      Sometimes, though, I feel at times it is me. I am just as messed up as he/they, too. (Although I am the only one HERE that I am sure of seeking help, right?)

      I just hope I can remove all of their negative. For I am thru with it. Been unhappy for too long while trying my darnedest to please, and comfort and jump thru the hoops.

      🙂

  14. Trusting, don’t worry, everyone of us here has been “too trusting” and “too giving” and “tried to appease” the monsters but you know, it WILL get better…we all have our pity parties, and our shame fests from time to time, or our spin cycles and melt downs, but you are safe to do that here because NO ONE will make fun of you or flame you, or if per chance they did they will be SO GONE it will be like a tornado has whisked them away. LOL Neither Sky nor I tolerate any flames here….or on 180 so feel free to be open.

    If you want to tell your story, introduce yourself and your background, fine, if not that’s okay too. Just do what feels good to you. If you don’t understand something then ask because people here are very good, caring and all HAVE WALKED IN YOUR SHOES.

    Welcome.

  15. Trustingsoul, welcome to FA, and rest assured, the core group on here has walked in your shoes, trod your path, felt your pain, and we are each on our own Healing Paths, at various points. We have experienced the betrayals, rage, fear, desperation, poverty, and hopelessness, and you may “see” that each poster rants, raves, and then posts of their recovery and healing processes.

    This is a site of encouragement, support, and practical techniques that we each either apply, learned, or are in need of learning, ourselves. So, there’s no online flaming or judging.

    Again, welcome, and Happy Holidays to you.

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