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ANDREA,, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs Family Law, Real Estate & Business Law, Criminal Defense, Immigration, Employment Law
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Can a mom serving in the military and under medical treatments

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Can a mom serving in the military and under medical treatments for injuries sustained during war, lose custody of the children simply because she has not been in the children's lives for over a year to the father a non military person? Currently filing for divorce. Court date set.

Good evening, Esther, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service,


1. What are the present custody arrangements ?



2. What do you mean by, "...has not been in the children's lives for over a year.......... " ?



3. Did you visit at all or communicate with the children ?




4. How old are they and what type of contact did you have with them ?



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The custody arrangements have not been determined. I want primary custody but my attorney just today told me that I may lose that battle in next months hearing because I have been away from my children for over a year while serving in Afghanistan and now as a wounded warrior recovering from my injuries.


The last time I visited my children, I was a victim of domestic violence that sent me to the hospital. My children are in Texas and I am in San Diego at a Navy medical facility recovering from many surgeries and physical therapy.


They are 3, 4 and 7 and I have no contact since March when I sustained the beating on the street from him in front of the children. Yet I'm being told that because he has been with the children all this time since my initial deployment that he may get primary meaning I will have to pay him everything.


I think its not fair to be penalized for serving my country and now a wounded veteran where my soon to be ex can obtain custody because he was a stay at home dad while I was fighting for the liberties we all enjoy.

1. Will you be staying here, or will you be deployed again ?



2. If so, where will you be deployed and for how long ?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No as a reservist, I will not be deployed again. Once I am medically cleared by the attending physicians, then I will be demobilized and return home to Texas. I want to have my children and be primary and I am frustrated and scared that what I was told today may in fact happen and that I would be penalized for not being in my children's lives for serving.

Hi, again,



1. If your attorney is telling you that you might lose custody, I would suggest changing Attorneys. What he or she is really saying is that they cannot be bothered fighting for you. He knows that custody matters are a lot of work and by saying that you will probably lose custody, he is really saying that he is not planning on putting in too much time to obtain custody for you and that he will not have to put much work into your case;


2. You need an Attorney who will fight for you and present your case in the most favorable light, such as -


A. Your Honor, we cannot think of Mrs. ____________ as "not being around her children". We must put everything in proper perspective, Mrs. __________ did not abandon her children; she was fighting in Afghanistan;


B. Are we going to penalize Mrs. __________ for being in the armed forces ? What kind of message will we be sending out if we use her service to her country against her ?


C. Are we going to penalize Mrs. __________ and reward Mr. _________ for abusing his wife, subjecting her to more physical abuse here than she had in Afghanistan ? Physically and verbally abusing Mrs. __________ in front of the children? What kind of example is Mr. ________ setting for these children who are at such an impressionable age ?


3. The test applied by all Family Court Judges in all the States, in all custody cases is, "What will be in the best interests of the children" and what is in the best interests of these children is to be with their mother who serves as a role model of what's right, how to serve your country, someone whom these children can look up to and know that this person is their mother, not a father who beats their mother in front of them. No, he is not a role model, and awarding Mr. ______ custody will not serve the best interests of these children, not in this situation, not under these circumstances;


4. Did Mrs. __________ call her children every week ? No, how could she ? She was fighting in Afghanistan. Did she call her children every chance she got ? Absolutely and without fail,




Do yourself and your children a big favor. Get another Attorney. I gave you only a very, very brief glimpse of how custody cases should be presented and you need an Attorney who will convince the Judge that the "best interests of the children" can only be served by awarding primary physical custody to their mother with liberal visitation to the father, but only if he enrolls in anger management classes and only if the visits are supervised for at least the first six months.


You always have to say that the father will be allowed to visit because Judges want children to have a relationship with both parents and if they hear one parent talking against the other parent, they get a very bad impression of the parent who is maligning the other parent.


It would also certainly help your case if you had pictures of the bruises he inflicted on you. His lawyer will object and say that this is not a hearing for a Protection Order or a Restraining Order and the Judge will sustain the objections, but that's okay; as long as the Judge gets to see those pictures, they will stay in his mind when he is deciding the case.


The right Attorney can build a very strong custody case for you and you can be awarded primary physical custody of your children,


And, if nobody has told you today, Thank you for serving in our Armed Forces,



Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,


Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,





Customer: replied 4 years ago.

WOW Andrea,


I'm in tears from your answer. I truly appreciate your reply and your kind and thoughtful gratitude of service is just beyond humbling. I am nervous at all this and so much is going on. I have spent so much money already and with my court date already set, how do I change midstream? How difficult and expensive of an endeavor will that be? I'm sorry I keep asking questions but I miss my children and I'm a nervous wreck that I have to be subject to accusations and ridicule by him to the Navy when all I've ever done was be a good mom.


Thank you for your time. I really wish you were my lawyer. I really need to find one that would take my case and fight for me the way I need them to as you said. Have a good night. God Bless.

No thanks are necessary, I am a mother first and an Attorney second


How much of a retainer have you paid this lawyer ?

What has he done so far ?

When is your court date , and is it for the custody trial ?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



$17,000 plus so far.


Mediation the 22nd July and Court date on the 29th. I'm not sure if its custody or not, but today we had to answer questions What have they done? Well, we had a long teleconference for discovery requests that included Petitioners Request for Production Docs, Petitioner's Interrogatories to Respondent and Petitioner's request for disclosure.


I had an Restraining Order placed on him for harassing phone calls and emails and for harassing family members and making unfounded allegations to the Navy of adultery and lack of financial support all of which was dismissed by the Navy after investigations yielded unsubstantiated. And mind you Andrea, this was in Afghanistan and then now most recently violated the order again and called the medical hold supervisor here in San Diego demanding information on my medical condition, orders for release and again a stab at allegations for financial lack of support and affairs. The Navy is already tired of his violations and is protecting me under the advocacy program for domestic violence so no information is given. But I don't understand how he keeps on getting away with it. Also, before my deployment he had ripped my personal laptop away from me that I use for the Navy and hacked into all my contacts and has sent a myriad of defaming emails to family and claims he has nothing to do with it.


Sorry for my carry on, but I feel as though you are actually helping me answer questions more than my own attorneys at this point.


Again, No need to apologize, you've been through hell with your soon to be ex husband.


1. With reference to the attorney - It is against the Code of Ethics, Code of Professional Conduct, and the Code of Professional Responsibility for any attorney to keep a client's money which the Attorney has not earned. And, if the Attorney does so, he can be disbarred;


2. Ask the Attorney for an "Itemized List of Legal Services Rendered". Every client has a right to this. It is a bill in 3 column form. Left column has date, middle column has a "Description of Legal Services Rendered, and the far right column lists the amount of time each service took. This question page does not format anything and it turns out lopsided, but let me try by putting periods in the middle of each:


Date........................Description of Legal Services Rendered ..................Time


6/1/2013.................Meeting with client, signed Retainer Agmt..................... 1.0

6/2/2013.................Draft Complaint in Div., Affid. etc.,................................. 3.8

6/3/2013 ................Review & Revise Compl./Div., letter to client ................ 3.2


Etc. all the way down to 6/30/2013, Then hours are totaled .........................8.0



8.0 Hrs. @ $300 Hr. .................................. $ 2,400.00

Retainer Paid 6/1/2013 ............................ $10,400.00

BALANCE DUE .............. -0-

CREDIT TO CLIENT ................................$ 8,000.00


This gives you a rough idea of what a bill should look like. My clients never have to ask where their money went because everything is listed.


This is the kind of bill your Attorney should give you. Notice for the Production of Documents, Interrogatories, etc. Asking for these is 5 minutes work and another 5 minutes for his secretary to print them out from the computer. These are pretty much standard in all divorce cases, so do not let him snow you with some nonsense that it took him X number of hours. That's horse manure.


If you paid him $17,000 he owes you about $14,000. The decision, of course, is yours, but I do not feel comfortable with this person representing you. you are still at the beginning of your case. It is not difficult to find a replacement Attorney at this stage. A client can fire their Attorney any time they want. Think about it, you still have time. You need a very strong forceful Attorney, one who will stand up to your husband and not let him or his Attorney get away with anything. The Attorney you presently have does not even want to fight for your rights, do you think he's going to fight your husband and his Attorney ? I doubt it. You can always come back and ask me any questions you want(NNN) NNN-NNNN He is definitely not looking out for your best interests. If you feel comfortable with him, then that is fine, that is the most important thing, but you must also feel confident that he will be fighting for you, not making sure he gets paid his next bill without doing anything. If he hesitates when you ask him for an itemized bill for legal services rendered, then that is the tip off, he has not done anything for the money you have paid him




Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,


Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,






ANDREA, and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Totally Satisfied with your response. Thank you so, so much.

Thank you for the Excellent Service" rating, and the bonus, That was both very kind and generous of you and I appreciate it greatly. Please let me know if you have any further questions. It bothers me when I see people like this Attorney. it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the reputation of all the other hardworking Attorneys. If you have questions in the future, please feel free to ask for me by typing my name at the beginning of your question, like this,



"For Andrea .......... "



You know how to reach me, so Please let me know what you decide to do with the Attorney. I can give you the Texas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service if that is where the case is filed



Thank you once again for allowing me to assist you, and I wish you all the best,






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