In this case our client was the father of a twelve year old boy whose mother resided in our county. Our client and the boy resided in another part of the state. The father and mother had separated soon after the child’s birth and had been engaged in litigation almost continually ever since. The mother apparently had significant mental health issues that had been undiagnosed and untreated. The guardian ad litem (court-appointed neutral child’s representative) thought so. My client knew so. Her behaviors seemed to confirm this suspicion at every step. Our client was going crazy.
The mother and her actions were so detrimental to the child that the guardian ad litem recommended she only have supervised visits by the child’s therapist and only if the mother remained strictly compliant with the recommendations of the therapist.
In addition, we had obtained from the court an order requiring the mother and father to submit to psychological evaluations as part of a more comprehensive custody evaluation, often used in parenting plan disputes where mental health issues are prominent.
In this case the mother refused to finish the evaluation with the psychologist. Other than the emotional toll, the financial toll on our client was significant. The mother had gone through a half dozen attorneys, mounting one bid after another to regain custody. We were able to work our fee agreement with the client to tailor it so that we would assist him in a very limited capacity and only for the most critical matters as we headed to trial. With this tailored approach we kept the costs low and still provided enough legal “fire power” for him to protect his child through the court system.