- Do not allow your attorney or opposing attorney to strong-arm, influence, or rush you into accepting an appointment of a guardian ad litem OR psychologist OR ANY OTHER COURT APPOINTED PROFESSIONAL (cap) under ANY circumstances WITHOUT running your own background check, gathering referrals, credentials, even checking into OTHER cases of said guardian ad litem, and/or psychologist … take the list of the names they offer you (it WILL BE A SHORT LIST!), and look into who they are offering – your life depends on this. You HAVE the RIGHT to take time to run background checks, you have the right to take TIME to do this, YOU EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO ALTERNATE NAMES OF PROFESSIONALS, if you do these things before the gavel hits … please do not underestimate this.
- BY INVESTIGATE … please first run FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request on ALL professionals involved in your case, in the county of your jurisdiction. The purpose of this is to find out if/what they are being paid as private vendors from your county of jurisdiction funds … again, you WILL BE SURPRISED. This is how you follow the money. Not complicated – more on this later. It’s also easy enough to run all professionals names through your State’s Secretary of State database for corporations they own, are officers, or holders in … again, it’s following the money. Please take this step very seriously – it can change the tide of the whole case, and QUICKLY, BEFORE you have a FINAL HEARING.
- Go to your county of jurisdiction, pull your own court file, go through it with a fine tooth comb … look for missing documents, stamps, dates, evidence, missing documents, hidden, stapled, etc. You would be surprised how few attorneys take the time to go through your court file, and, you know your own file better than anyone else. Make notes, or better yet, ask for a complete copy of your file, and update it every few weeks, days even, if you can. Documents turn up missing, added, misplaced, placed out of order, “hidden”, etc. ALL THE TIME. This is less likely to happen if you keep up with your own case file and what has been submitted for the court’s record. Keep an eye on items that are “tabbed” for quick review … it gives clues to documents hurried “professionals” flip to automatically without taking the time to read your entire case history. After all, that would require a lot a time and effort on their part … it’s just your life, and the lives of your children depending on them to do so … are you willing to take the chance that they are THAT invested in your fair trial, treatment, case?
- Find out how, when, yes, even IF, the court appointed professionals are communicating with YOUR attorney (again, you’d be surprised how often they communicate with only ONE side). Insist on copies of all communications between your attorney and the court appointed professional (cap) … you can dissect this information on your own time and will surely have more invested in it than even your own attorney. Good attorneys are often naive to the manipulative, underhanded tactics “biased” professionals use in order to leave a party out of communications, correspondences, etc. and often end up blindsided, surprised, in court … leaving you, and your children, no recourse (aside from time-wasting threats of appeals, reversals, reconsiderations … you’ll all be too tired and old to make it that far, very few do, trust this).
- Addendum to 4, but deserves section of it’s own: It is not unusual for court appointed professionals (caps) to hide, send by “error” OOPS … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED, I THOUGHT I WAS USING YOUR/YOUR ATTORNEYS PROPER EMAIL ADDRESS … or, LET ME CHECK WITH MY ASSISTANT … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED … WHY WE MISSED THAT … HOW YOUR EX RECEIVED COPIES OF REPORTS YOU DIDN’T … COPIES OF YOUR PERSONAL EMAILS … anyway, the list is infinite, I’m just adding some I have heard personally. This section simply means, do not be surprised by ANYTHING, ask questions, who’s talking, who received what, what is going on, what they are doing/teaching/counseling/advising … do NOT allow yourself to be shamed into thinking you are being overly pesky or paranoid. Easier said than done, I KNOW, but, I assure you, the alternative is much worse, much more final, much harder to bear, years and tears later. Ask the questions, even if they make you feel it, or you, is/are STUPID … remember what we teach our children? … There ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!
- KNOW the HIPPA laws and do not fail to use them in your conversations with cap’s (this should be a given but turns out it is often a slam-dunk in getting their attention). It’s hard, but you’ll have to learn early own to stop letting them intimidate you into silence … you will not win them over with good behavior – remember, your good reputation and good behavior did not help you in the first place. It’s likely the matter was decided well before you step into a courtroom. Again, do all of these things BEFORE any final hearing or it’ll take YEARS to get back on any solid ground and lawsuits, reporting, ethics, commissions, review boards, are all AFTER you’ve lost your children’s childhoods. You’d much rather have their childhoods.