Let me share a little Louisville networking that’s been going on. Our best friends since the dawn of time are Rick and Pam. Rick’s a criminal defense attorney but he’s done odds and ends for us over the years and has never charged us a cent. Don’t get me wrong…we’ve offered, but he wouldn’t take it. Making a will, DS’s charges against DIL for assault and hers’ against him. I understand though because I tutored his son in math all the way through high school and his first couple years of college. It’s a give and take relationship. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us. We helped them paint their house and lay a flagstone patio. It’s what friends do.
When DS went through the whole saga with DIL the first time, Rick represented him. Never charged him a cent. Two years of battling for custody and many headaches for Rick but DS finally got custody of the kids and DIL should have been out of his life except for visitation and paying child support. Then he took her back. We all felt totally betrayed and used. And, of course, humiliated. I was totally humiliated that my son would put all of us through two years of Hell and then let DIL back into his life. He still loved her and had this idiot dream that they’d be able to work it all out and be a “family”. I love him dearly but, when it comes to DIL, he just doesn’t get it. It was heartbreaking for all of us and Rick, although he said he wasn’t angry, told David that he was heading for disaster and he wasn’t going through all the drama again. It made our relationship with Rick and Pam feel strained. They don’t blame us and they still care about DS but I’ve always felt badly that Rick worked so hard for him and he threw it all out the window. When all this crap started all over again in June, Rick told DS that he would represent him in the first couple of hearings but then he would have to find someone else. I don’t blame him. Not one tiny bit. Rick told me, “Patty, you and I have worked our asses off for him. He had everything going his way and we’ve both been telling him for the past year that it was a train wreck waiting to happen. He let it happen and now it’s all come back to hurt you all over again. If you ask me to represent him, I will. If you want me to go through this whole thing again, I’ll do it. For you. Not for David. I’ve known David since he was a little kid and I know he’s a good man and a good father but I’m not going to represent him this time. We both know Stacy is a psychotic slut and he knew that when he let her come back. I hate that bitch. I know what she’s done from a first hand perspective and I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about her. I don’t want to get involved in it again. Unless YOU ask me to.” And I told him I wouldn’t. As much as I love David and the kids, Rick is right. He brought this on himself in spite of all the warnings. He just didn’t listen. And I love Rick, too. He’s a dear friend and I’m not going to ask him to go through this again. I asked him what he would suggest and he suggested David use a court appointed attorney.
DS met his court appointed attorney the day of the temporary custody hearing and he seemed like he did a decent job so we decided to ask him to represent him for the entire case. Rick said he didn’t know him very well but he’d been around for a long time and seemed decent. Of course, that hasn’t turned out to be the case. He doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Both times DS has contacted him, he’s spent several minutes having DS explain who he is and what the case is about. About DIL cancelling visitation just because she felt like it “That’s between you guys and the caseworker” about DIL “no longer being bi-polar”, I’m just an attorney, I can’t do anything about that” about the caseworker being so obviously biased and unfair, “Some of them are good and some of them aren’t. There’s really nothing we can do about it.” Our only contact has been the one meeting when he discussed his rates and we hired him and the one phone call when it became obvious that he doesn’t know who DS is and doesn’t seem to be doing anything. So, we decided to look for someone else. Of course, I don’t know anyone except Rick and I don’t want to involve him in this so I have to try to figure out who’s a decent attorney. The only other attorney who’s ever worked with us was one of Rick’s associates who stood in for him a few years ago when he was out of town. She was a fire cracker. I thought about calling her but felt, somehow, like that would be a slap in the face to Rick. She’s not only an associate, she’s a friend of his and we’ve met her a few times at parties with them. Very awkward.
I talked to a friend at work whose wife is an attorney up in Indiana. She hasn’t practiced in Louisville for quite a while but she knew of two women who were really good. One of them had twins six months ago and has taken a year off to raise them. The other got married a few years ago and she can’t remember her married name but she had an office on Poplar Level Road. She said she called the number but it had been disconnected so she wasn’t much help to us.
Next, I had a friend at work who said her neighbor had used a fabulous woman named “Mary Jones” when she went through a difficult custody case five years ago. She didn’t know where her office was located but thought it might be on Poplar Level Road. She gave me the phone number. I called “Mary Jones” and got a message that said, “You have reached the law offices of “Mary Smith”. I’m sorry I’m not in to take your call. I am located at 101 Main Street. Please leave a message and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.” I left a message and then told DH that I thought this woman and the one Bob’s wife had been talking about might be the same one. They both used to have an office on Poplar Level Road but the recording said she was now located at 101 Main Street. DH said, “What? That’s Rick’s address!”
Long story summed up…We’ve come full circle. Rick’s associate who stood in for him several years ago is the woman everyone has been referring us to. The little fire cracker that impressed us the first time we met her. The woman the attorney in Indiana said was great but had gotten married and changed her name. The one who used to be on Poplar Level. The one my friend’s neighbor said was fantastic. All the same woman. She’s gotten married and has a different last name and has been working out of the same office as Rick for almost four years now.
It’s like kismet. Like it’s all come full circle. DS called Rick and said he wanted him to know what was going on. Rick said he understood completely and even thought about suggesting “Mary” but he wanted to stay out of it as much as possible. He said she’s really good and does a lot of custody cases and he thinks DS should use her.
It’s going to be awkward. I feel strange paying one of Rick’s close associates to represent David when we never paid Rick. It feels a little bit like a betrayal. Still, I’m glad DS called Rick to let him know what was going on and I’m not going to turn away from what seems like exactly what we need just to avoid feeling awkward. Rick is a dear friend and he assured DS that he’s not angry with him, only disappointed, and that he thinks he should use “Mary”.
We have an appointment with her on Sept. 3. I wish it was sooner but, from what I remember of her, she’ll make sure she’s got a good handle on it before we go back to court Oct. 1.
small world, isn’t it?