My mentally spouse just got a bogus restraining order. What do I do?

What can I do when my mentally ill lawyer wife wants a divorce, and just got a bogus restraining order on me?

Assuming that you are resigned to divorce and not to trying to salvage the marriage, here are some ideas. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should point you in the right direction.

First, do not sell your soul to the devil or give in to desires for vengeance in the course of defending yourself.

Divorce lawyers generally are some of the most morally bankrupt people on earth, and if you want one that engages in dirty tricks to “win”, you won’t have to work terribly hard to find one. But resist that temptation. A lawyer who will lie and cheat for you will lie to you and cheat you too. Find a lawyer who can succeed virtuously. It’s not worth your good character to sell out in your divorce defense. By all means, defend yourself vigilantly, but with dignity. You don’t want the regret of selling out to haunt you the rest of your days; that just makes divorce doubly depressing and defeating.

Next, consider that because your wife is a lawyer, on that basis alone the case could either tip unfairly in your favor or hers.

If unfairly favoring her it’s because she’s both a woman and a lawyer, so she has the cultural bias working for her as well as potentially the “non-lawyer husband’s not in the club” bias that could work for her, depending upon how popular she is with the court or how much contempt your judge has for non-lawyers (this is why you must get the best lawyer you can possibly afford. Don’t try to represent yourself. And get a woman lawyer, if she is the best lawyer (or second best lawyer, as long as the difference between best and second best is very close).

If unfairly favoring you it’s because A) the court won’t want to appear to show favoritism to a lawyer over a non-lawyer; B) the court knows or believes she’s mentally ill; or C) both.

Regardless, do the following, and do this with class. The idea here is not to embarrass and humiliate her, it’s only to defend your innocence and prevent her from running rough shod over your rights (and, frankly, she needs to understand that if she’s going to accuse you unfairly she opens the door to her dirty laundry getting aired in public):

Unless you and your (good and tough) lawyer convinced that you can’t persuade the court that you’re innocent, fight the restraining order.

Don’t stipulate to keeping it in place while noting you deny the accusations (that’s often a trick the lawyers on both sides will use to get the matter resolved, but at your expense). Nobody believes the guy who says, “Yes, I have a restraining order against me, and yes, I agreed to its being entered against me for now, but I denied the accusations. I’m innocent.” People stop listening at “Yes, I have a restraining order against me,” and can you blame them?

Move the court for an order for rigorous and comprehensive mental health evaluations for both of you and your wife (you need to get one to show that you’re not asking anything of her you’re not willing to ask of yourself).

Obtain her mental health records.

Find as many “character witnesses” for your and her mental health as you can. You need to show that the restraining order is bogus because your wife is living in a fantasy world, and one of the ways to do that is to show how weird and unstable she when she thinks no one’s watching. If her former clients thought she had a screw loose, find them and get them to testify. Note: this is when you discover the difference between your real friends and your fair weather friends.

As they say, you can’t argue with a crazy person, so knowing how to beat a crazy person’s “arguments” means coming at it from a perspective you simply don’t have at this point. Find a good psychologist and meet with him/her to get a better understanding of your wife’s mental illness. Share what you learn with your lawyer as you both figure out how to prevail against crazy.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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