Something about getting a divorce can push people over the edge. One man (Anthony Morelli) decided to blog about his experiences dealing with his ex-wife on a site called ThePsychoExWife.com. His manner of expression on this public site – to use the judicial system's tendency toward understatement - lacked tact. The site attracted over 200,000 followers a month and the wrath of the said ex-wife. Not surprisingly, the issue became part of the couple's custody battle over their two young children.
The Judge asked the husband to take down the website because it was not in the best interests of the children. This site has since been removed and replaced with a savethepsychoexwife.com website to urge support for the protection of freedom of speech. On this site, the blogger posted the transcript from the family court: http://www.savethepsychoexwife.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Transcript-Redacted1.pdf.
This transcript reveals how the New York Family Court values the well-being of children and how bad behavior toward an ex could affect a custody decision. In Family Court, judges make decisions for the best interests of the children. Here is how the Judge describes the situation in this case:
Anything parents do that could have an impact on the well being of their kids, including alienating the children from the other parent, could affect a custody decision. The Judge explained: "I hold a hearing and I decide that your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public that will be something I have to take into account in determining where the children should be." (page 7-8)
Both parties argued for modifications to the custody arrangements. Reading between the lines, I suspect a judge had already carefully considered this family's circumstances and made thoughtful recommendations accordingly. The judge hearing this case was confronted by parties who both appeared to be antagonizing each other and was becoming exasperated that the parties were not heeding instructions to "grow up". Irritating a judge is not a winning divorce strategy.
According to the transcript, the ex-wife in this situation is self-represented. Given her ex-husband wrote for a website called "ThePsychoExWife.com" she has no doubt been provoked. Given these facts, she should have the edge in this dispute. However, being self-represented she probably does not have the experience or the emotional detachment to effectively make her case. In the transcript the Judge repeatedly tells her to sit down. There are also indications that the wife interrupts the Judge. An experienced lawyer would not make these mistakes. A lawyer familiar with courtroom protocol knows when it is appropriate to speak. Because a good trial lawyer is not going to get flustered in court, such an advocate could make stronger arguments that are better phrased and present the client in the best light.
In summary, consider how the Court will view your dealings with your ex in a custody dispute. If your spouse is antagonizing you, it is particularly important to be represented by a lawyer who can effectively defend the interests of you and your children at trial.