Divorce is Difficult, But Not as Hard as the Custody Fight
Divorce is difficult. The slow, painful, dismantling of a relationship that once seemed unbreakable is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. The pain of divorce is multiplied when children are involved.
I was raised to believe in the justice system. Do what is right, follow the rules and you can’t lose. Watching my father put on the uniform of the San Antonio Police Department for 30 years reinforced those ideals on a daily basis.
Going through a tough divorce and custody fight has shaken my faith in the system that I was raised to revere. Do what is right, follow the rules seems to be replaced by hire an attorney, pay for an attorney and you will win if you can outlast your opponent financially. The realization that justice can be bought is one that has shaken me to my core.
Bexar County is an extraordinarily difficult venue for child custody fights. There are several basic reasons for the difficulty in dealing with the Courts in Bexar County.
First, the Presiding System that Bexar County Courts employ is a major stumbling block for anyone that is trying to argue an ongoing and complicated case. Rather than working with one judge to craft a solution to a custody issue that is in the best interests of the child, you often see a different judge for each hearing.
The result of the Presiding System is that it allows for a myriad of miscommunication issues and a lack of understanding of previous rulings on previous issues before other judges. Basically, it is impossible to make your case to one person and the result is a patchwork judgment that could never be as thoughtful and comprehensive as it should be.
Secondly, attorneys are allowed to drag cases out far longer than they need to. This is done for several reasons. One is that they can bill for each hearing. Rather than prioritize a quick and equitable resolution to a divorce or custody issue, it is financially beneficial for an attorney to break up each issue and present it in a separate hearing. Dragging cases out means more billable hours.
Another reason attorneys choose to drag cases out is to financially deplete an opponent. Having a lawyer by your side is expensive. Each hearing can cost you several hundred to several thousand dollars per hearing. If an attorney knows that an opponent is short on money, adding meaningless and expensive hearings can mean an easy win for the better funded party.
Finally, Bexar County is known for its fostering of a profitable racquet that it has created with required Parenting Classes, Social Studies and Psychological Evaluations for people (mostly fathers) that have no reason to be ordered to complete these financially prohibitive evaluations.
Sure, in cases of domestic violence or a history of mental health issues, these evaluations are vital. But, the numbers show a different story. These evaluations are often forced on people that have no history of mental health issues, domestic violence issues or any other concerning issues. They are in a sense used to make custody fights so expensive that once again, an attorney can win by default against an opponent with lesser resources.