I was a stay at home mom (working p/t after each birth) of 3 boys until 2 1/2 years ago. I then went to work full time because my husband had been laid off from his plumbing job. I worked f/t including 3 evenings per week and my husband stayed home with our boys; then 3, 8, 11. My house was a complete disaster and he became a "gamer" spending up to 5 consecutive hours on the PC. Our boys did not suffer, however our marriage did and our home did. He filed for divorce in April 2009. He was verbally, emotionally, and twice physically abusive to me. Apparently pulling hair and throwing full beer cans at one's spouse is "mild Physical Abuse". I removed myself from the master bedroom sleeping on the couch. He woke me nightly to yell and belittle me. He regularly undermined my authority with the boys and spoke negatively to me in their presence. My family, friends, coworkers and lawyer thought it would be in my best interest to remove myself from the situation and find a new home. I rented a townhome to escape and also to provide a home for my 67 year old mother that he had filed a restraining order against because she stood up to him and he did not like that. He felt threatened and removed her from the boys lives. After 6 weeks of being in the town home and the boys going back and forth between the 2 homes, I returned to the marital residence and continued sleeping on the couch. For another 10 months, my income went to the rent and utilities housing my mother for the duration of the lease. His lawyers argument was that I vacated the home and they painted a picture in the Judge's mind that I am an alcoholic. I am not. I am an active PTO mom, work f/t, never had a DUI, never harmed or injured anyone, have neighbors, coworkers, friends who are willing to vouch for my character. The only evidence the Judge saw were pictures of alcohol bottles, cans in recycling bins and an unopened bottle of wine on my kitchen counter. Also a book from Alcoholics Anonymous that I had from 4 years ago. I admitted to going to one meeting because we were having problems and I was curious if our drinking was the cause; I wanted to see if our issues were similar to those members of an AA meeting. They were not and I never returned to another meeting; I believed I did not belong there. I admitted to consuming alcohol on a social basis; wine with dinner, girls nights out, etc. He lied and denied any alcohol use. Needless to say, I lost custodial custody of my children. We have Joint Custody but the Judge felt that the children should stay in their home with their father. With that being said, I feel that my lawyer completely dropped the ball and did not represent me properly. Many of the documentation I had throughout the 3 years of this "hell" she did not disclose during the trial. She never mentioned to me to bring character witnesses in, even though I told her I had 3 letters from neighbors/my boss. So much was missed and I feel that I was poorly represented. What can I do???
State/Country relating to question: Illinois
The Judge's verdict was 1 week ago. I am meeting with a new lawyer today and he will dicuss the process of a Post Trial Motion with me.
Thank you. This was helpful. I am going to meet with an attorney now...
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