I really enjoyed the Netflix film Marriage Story, and I recommend watching it. For me, it was fairly realistic depiction of hundreds of divorce cases I have been involved in over the past 40 years as a private investigator.
In the film, husband Charlie (Adam Driver) and wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are typical in actions and dialogue of what happens when the wheels fall off in a marriage. They parrot the oft-sung song of “Let’s do what is best for our son”, Henry (Azhy Robertson). Unfortunately, their good intentions are outweighed by their hatred and acrimonious actions toward each other. All typical behaviors, very common, and the result is always the same.
With divorce, the single most important decision for you and your children is who you select as your family law attorney.
In the end, they lawyer up.
As private investigators, we have performed hundreds of surveillance jobs on cheating spouses that end up in divorce. We have been retained on countless family law matters to conduct asset searches to insure a reasonable monetary distribution. We have watched parents both overtly and covertly to obtain evidence for a trial judge to render a fair and equitable child custody and visitation rights. We have followed drug users and alcoholics in family law matters to deny a parent the right to visitation.
Our investigators have used their expertise in the interview and interrogation process to speak with minors about family life before a court-appointed 730 evaluation. We have been appointed by a trial arbitrator to divide properties and possessions between a petitioner and respondent. I have written two books that include this subject matter, been interviewed many times on radio and television and lectured often in seminars to family law attorneys. We have partnered with forensic accountants to insure a monetary settlement is fair to both sides. We know and have recommended the best family counselor/therapist, so the often tortured minor children, by their poisonous parents, have a fighting chance.
While choosing the right PI can be are really important in the divorce case process, the single most important decision for you and your children is who you select as your family law attorney. This can be a life-changing event. Don’t select anyone like the three attorneys in “Marriage Story.” They are fairly typical of the “ilk” you want to avoid.
In Marriage Story, Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern) is a self-absorbed, narcissistic, know-it-all cutthroat attorney. Similarly, Attorney Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta), is a bombastic ego-maniac whose hourly rate is outrageous. You may think having such a gladiator on your side would be beneficial, but don’t be fooled. The court/judges do not like people who don’t play well on the playground with others.
Attorney Bert Spitz (Alan Alda) might be a character you would gravitate towards and want to represent you. Don’t be fooled, nice guys who are honest and fair but not street-smart, rarely prevail in family law matters.
So where does one find the best fit for them when going through the divorce process? Do your homework. In Orange county California there are hundreds of family law attorneys. We recommend 16 only. The same is true in Los Angeles county where there are hundreds more but we only recommend 22. The same statistics are prevalent throughout the United States.
In this regard, a seasoned private investigator can be your best friend for a recommendation. You can also go the family law court in your area and speak with the deputies at the security entrance, the bailiffs throughout the courts and the administrative clerks in the courtrooms. Most of these people know the best attorneys and are often very pleased to provide their recommendations. You may refine your search by advising any of them the nature of your case. Do you have minor children? What is the nature of your assets? Determine, as best you can, a seasoned professional who is experienced both as a trial attorney and skilled negotiator.
Don’t use an attorney referred by your son’s coach, daughter’s teacher, your hairdresser or the local barista at Starbucks. You can always call our office and speak with any of our investigators if you are in Southern California. If you are in other locations throughout the U.S., we may be able to refer you to our nationwide base of top-echelon private investigators in our network who can make a solid recommendation.
Be patient and do your homework, as the effort will be totally beneficial.