​Finding the Divorce Lawyer to Win My Case (Part 7)

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​The right divorce lawyer can win or lose your case.  

They can waste your time, and hence your money, by letting you run after things you can't win, stirring up conflict, ​dragging their feet in compliance...

The battle for compliance in child support court.

I used to think that once a Judge orders something, you pretty much have to do it or suffer  the consequences of the legal hammer. 

Essentially that's true, but it ​can take forever to get there.

​And while most people comply, some become even bigger asses in court proceedings and must be forced to comply.  

This means loads and loads of motions, court time, and legal fees way more than should have been necessary.

During the summer and fall of 2014, we fought the battle of compliance. 

Even after the Judge had ordered things to be done and handed over, we still had to go back, and back​... AND BACK to court to force the other side to comply.  

There was ​outstanding discovery:  certain elements of the request for production and unanswered interrogatories.  

In the request for production (RFP) I sent to Mr. X, I asked for various things such as bank account statements, credit card statements, proof of purchase of his boat, proof of sale/transfer of the boat (since he alleged no longer owning it).  

These things seemed important to prove that Mr. X had more income than he was stating AND that he was lying.

On the bank and credit card statements I received (again, Oct 2012 was missing), there weren't any major withdrawals that would explain purchasing a boat or paying Marty's retainer.  

I envisioned Mr. X with his usual wad of cash. 

Scrutinize it all.

To say that I combed over his bank and credit card documents is an understatement. 

I spent many a night with a glass of wine reading over each charge and entry:  $1200 in marina and boat shop expenses for the summer of 2013 (after he allegedly got rid of the boat), a couple hundred dollars spent at a gun shop, and low to no charges on food (approximately $100/month, usually on two to three meals at IHOP).  

I also matched up all his deposits with his annual income on his tax returns.  

In my mind, how could a guy who 'couldn't afford' his son's school tuition have $1200 to throw at boat shops in a two month period?  

How could he sustain himself on three meals a month without any grocery expenses?  

I was looking for the wad of cash income that he had during our marriage.  

I was looking for every detail to prove that he was living beyond his traceable income. 

I sent all my ideas to Karl and let him sort through what he thought was most appropriate. 

Our case could easily succumb to death by detail.  

This wasn't the Trump divorce.  

We weren't talking millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars.  

While it was more like 'chump change,'  It still added up to a couple thousand dollars here and there.  

But, it was important to remember this and not drown the Judge in tedium.  

Instead, we chose to reveal a few select big holes​:  ABC Gear was the big one.  The boat was a smaller one.   Ihop was too tedious.

Our goal, as in the beginning, was to impeach Mr. X, and thereby get the Judge to impute income. 

Keeping the Judge focused on a few big-ticket items (and not that Mr. X didn't have any grocery bills) was the approach we took.

Impeaching is 'calling into question the credibility of a person.'  Basically, it means showing him/her to be dishonest and thereby not reliable or credible as a witness. 

Imputing income essentially means operating under the assumption that this person has more income than they show on their tax returns. 

It can be based on what a parent "should" be earning in the case of them actively reducing their employment to lessen their support payments.  

In Mr. X's case, the goal was to attribute ABC Gear income to him.  

This would make the base of income for child support calculations approximately double what he was showing on his tax returns.

In the interrogatories I issued to Mr. X, I asked the standard questions along with pointed questions designed to poke holes in his story (my non-legal phrase for 'impeach him').  

At first, Mr. X refused to answer key questions, claiming that I had over-shot my allotted questions in the interrogatories.  

There is a federal law limiting the number of interrogatories, including subparts, that may be submitted to a party.  At the time of our case, it was 25.

Karl fought this in court and Mr. X was forced to answer.  

The great thing about interrogatories is that they are answered under oath. Mr. X held out on two questions:

Question:  How much have you paid to retain Marty to the present date?  In what form was he paid (cash, check, credit card)?  From what account did you pay Marty?

Answer:  $2500.  Cash

Really? Interesting. 

I tallied all of Mr. X's claimed income against his deposits and withdrawals and I couldn't squeeze out an additional $2500.

Plus, at the time he responded, we had been in court for about eight months. Seriously, only $2500 was paid? 

Now, if you factor in that he only traceably ate 2-3 meals a month and paid Marty $2500 that just manifested out of the air, oh yeah, and had $1200 in traceable income to spend at the marina and boat shop, you're left with... what? 

In my mind, a wad of cash and other monies.

Mr. X also continued to claim he 'couldn't recall' the specifics of the Keystone Job requested in the below interrogatory. 

Question:  List all jobs and contracts that you worked between January 21, 2014 and February 21, 2014.  Please answer the following for each such job and contract:

(a) Production company name and contact;

(b) The name of the job or contract;

(c) The product or client;

(d) The job or contract number;

(e) The  job or contract dates;

(f)  Job title and description of the work/services/items;

(g)  Pay amount of each job or contract;

(h)  Name and/or entity under which you billed for the job/contract along with any invoice numbers issued for such pay;

(i)  Name and address of the payroll company or other issuer of payment for the job or contract.

Mr. X's Answer 1:  "I do not recall any other jobs.  I did work on one occasion prior to 2/7/14 but I cannot recall the date or the job number."

He left himself a soft out, basically claiming that he didn't "recall."  But Karl pushed. 

Mr. X's Answer 2:   "On 2/7/14, I worked a commercial project for Anonymous Productions as a Gear man; I do not recall the contact person..."

Then he went on to state the details of another job that we knew about and had an invoice for with his cell number on it.  Still no Keystone Job admission.

But Karl kept pushing and he sent the following to Marty:

Marty,

It [interrogatory answer] is incomplete.  That's not a complete answer and "I don't recall" is insufficient. Further, not recalling the date or job number does not address all the subparts in the question.

He can look at the subpoenaed documents if his memory fails him.

​Mr. X's Answer 3:  " See attached call sheet."

That's right. 

Instead of answering the question he sent a call sheet.  

THE CALL SHEET!

The Call Sheet where Mr. Ex was listed in two places, essentially pointing to 2 separate incomes.  

A call sheet contains all contact information for the crew, cast members and the equipment vendors.  It enables producers to have a simple way of finding people and getting answers.  The crew people are listed AND the vendors, along with the all vendor contact persons, on one long sheet. 

​For example: A commercial has a cameraman (the person running the camera) and the camera equipment (coming from a rental shop).  The cameraman is listed by name.  The camera rental vendor contact would usually be another name.  Unless the cameraman ALSO owns the camera that production company is renting. 

Usually vendor contact people are owners of the rental gear or employees of the equipment shop.  You only see the same person listed as crew AND vendor IF that person OWNS the equipment production is renting.  Otherwise, there would be a separate person listed as the vendor contact, not one of the crew people.

The very call sheet for the Keystone Job.  The job where he transferred his pay to ABC Gear and launched this rocket and started this whole process to modify child support.

Wait a minute.  I thought he didn't keep call sheets. 

Now here he was submitting a call sheet as proof of one of the jobs he worked during this time period, the one job he couldn't remember.  

And yes, the one job that he didn't get paid for, because if you recall, he had his pay included in the check issued to ABC Gear.  

Could he be this stupid????

Karl and I were shocked that he submitted the call sheet. 

We couldn't believe that Marty hit "send" on that email.  

But he did.  

They did.  

Hello?!?!  

​Mr. Ex was smart enough to concoct this whole business, get an EIN under his G'friend's name, and lie up and down, but here he admitted to working the job that linked him and ABC Gear in a major way.  

AND then, not to get ahead of myself, during the trial, he then claimed that he didn't work this job and the call sheet was wrong.  

Yes, the call sheet HE HIMSELF SUBMITTED.  

Eventually he admitted, "Ok, I dropped the equipment off, but didn't work."  

Oh, he dropped off the equipment that just ran itself?!?!?!  Do they make this kind of equipment for the kitchen?

Something I forgot to mention about this job (the one that Mr. X worked, didn't work, used magic self-working equipment on) was that I had a witness who would testify that he worked that job. 

She was the friend who had sent me the call sheet.  

She was willing to testify to his working that job and that the checks were issued directly from the company, and not through payroll.  

At this point, this job was about nine months in the past. 

How could my friend remember this one job you ask? 

Well, she and Mr. ​Ex had an intense argument on this particular job, causing her to later be reprimanded by the alderman.  

She left this interaction somewhat distressed.  

Mr. ​Ex can be extremely intimidating when he wants to be.  

And while my friend was not enthused about testifying, she was willing.  

Our plan all along was to have her testify.  

However when Mr. ​Ex submitted the very call sheet as his response to the interrogatory, her testimony was no longer necessary.  

He openly and officially admitted that he had worked that job. 

Crazy, right?

Back to the subpoenas.

September 3rd 2014, we had the hearing on Mr. ​Ex's G'friend's  Motion to Quash the Subpoenas issued to ABC Gear.  

Our response basically pointed out that the G'friend had come to court with "unclean hands."  Meaning, she was guilty of wrongdoing or unfair conduct relating to the subject matter of her claim.  

More specifically, she had evaded subpoena service several times and was now 'flaunting' the very subpoena she claimed she hadn't received.  

Instead, it was clear that she had gotten the subpoena, but chose to ignore it.  

And then, she used it as "evidence" of my "relentless harassment" in her Motion to Quash, hence her "unclean hands."

Let's take a brief moment here to discuss ​G'friend's strategy. 

Obviously she's on the other side, so I'm glad she was such a dope.  

​She should have kept pushing that she was a non-party to the proceedings instead of lying in a way in which she'd get caught.  

Here's what I mean about finding a good divorce lawyer... well any lawyer.... Super Bowl Jackie (​G'friend's attorney) should have advised ​G'friend that she signed off as a liar by saying, "I never got the subpoena," (when she didn't want to comply).  "Oh, but wait yes I did, but didn't think it was serious.  I felt harrassed by it."  WTH!?!?

At the hearing, Karl reminded the Judge that not only had ​G'friend lied about not receiving the original subpoena, but that she had chosen to use that very subpoena as her grounds for defense.  

He also cited case law ​supporting greater latitude in the scope of discovery, reaffirming that the evidence thus far supported ABC Gear documents being relevant to ​our case.

Mr. ​Ex's name and contact information was on all of the call sheets and company invoices.  

G'friend's name was nowhere to be found.

The Judge agreed.  

​Motion to Quash DENIED... AGAIN.

​The Judge gave us a win and ​G'friend a small win.  

He agreed to the "in camera review."

​Basically G'friend was ordered to bring the documents requested by the narrowly defined subpoena (the one with the two month window) to court for ​the Judge and the attorneys ​to look over (in camera - not with a camera) the bank statements and financial records right there at the Judge's bench or in his quarters.

While this wasn't ideal, because I personally work best reviewing documents when I have time to scrutinize and digest, we were finally going to get to see paperwork - or Karl would at least.

I would have bad dreams before each court date when I represented myself, or there was a major decision coming down the pipe​;  so of course, the in-camera review was anxiety-provoking.  

The question in my mind remained,  "What happens after the in-camera review?  How do we move that forward into seeing all of the income and paperwork?  What else do we need to get to that 51% (the majority) of evidence pointing to Mr. X as being the man behind ABC Gear?"

In civil cases, the court weighs who has the greater preponderance of evidence. 

When the trial begins, it's a fifty/fifty split.  

As the trial progresses through its end, the court decides who has presented the greater weight of evidence.  

Ultimately, the winning side just needs slightly more - 51% of the weight of evidence - to win. 

​How I Tripled My Child Support Payments, Including All My Divorce Papers and Court Documents.

In Camera Review

On that day, Super Bowl Jackie showed up with two months worth of business records from ABC Gear, bringing ONLY BANK STATEMENTS and INVOICES

G'friend wasn't there. 

I don't present the invoices here, but the "invoices" Super Bowl Jackie showed up with were printouts created in Excel or QuickBooks. 

They looked NOTHING LIKE the professionally printed invoices with an ABC Gear logo on them that we​'d received from the production company subpoenas.  

This all reeked of Mr. X and G'friend pulling an all night college cram session​ recreating ​every invoice for the last two months ​in excel and hurriedly printing them up for delivery to court.

I was beside myself, watching my months of sleuthing and court time swirl down the toilet if the Judge believed these were real.

I took out the INVOICES I got from the companies whom I subpoenaed and showed them to the Judge.  

​"These are ABC Gear invoices, your honor," I nearly cried.

Super Bowl Jackie ​glanced at them, ​"Oh, those aren't invoices.  Those are cost sheets." 

"What is a cost sheet?"

Super Bowl Jackie replied,  "I don't know.  My client uses them and she's not here to answer that."

Waving the ​REAL INVOICES again I said, "These are invoices!  They say 'INVOICE.'" 

Super Bowl Jackie countered,  "Your honor, my client has nothing to do with these proceedings.  This is a jealous vendetta fishing expedition."

While I neared a fevered panic attack, Karl sifted through the pile Jackie had and discovered the Keystone Job "invoice" and a copy of the check issued.

Why do I keep referring to the Keystone Job? 

To me, and I think to the courts, it unlocked the evidence that gave us the 'preponderance of evidence.'  

The thing that made this one job extraordinary is that it happened to be a job on which the production company issued checks at the end of the day straight out of their checkbook.  

They didn't run it through payroll.  

Basically that meant, the crew and vendors handed in invoices for the work they did and/or the equipment they used, and got checks on the spot.  

If Mr. ​Ex had been smart, he would have said, "Write  a check for my labor to me, and a separate check for the equipment to ABC Gear."  End of story. 

But he didn't, because he isn't.

Instead, he said, "Write one check to ABC Gear to cover my labor AND the equipment rental."  Beginning of story.

Now let's just say for arguments sake, that ABC Gear was the G'friend's company. 

Then she should've turned around and issued a check to Mr. ​Ex for his labor pay.  

But she didn't.  

I'm shocked that they didn't even think of that.  

All Mr. ​Ex ​probably thought at the time was, "Rachel will never find out about this job.  This way I get to keep more money without paying the 20% child support on this job."

He couldn't even imagine that by having the check issued all to ABC Gear, he was leaving a financial link between himself and the business.  UGH!

So back to the in-camera review.  Small wins?  Big wins!

The Keystone Job was ABC Gear invoice #1403. 

It listed two items it billed for: digital recording package and mixer.  

"Mixer" could mean a mixing board or the person who operates the mixing board.  

The total on this invoice was $1,566.45.  ($1,041.45 for the mixer).  

The copy of the cancelled check issued to ABC Gear had in the memo area "paid line 73 and line 191."  

When I emailed the CFO of the production company (the guy who signed the check) asking what those two line items were, he responded, "line 73 is labor and line 191 is equipment."  

​Karl pointed out that their bank records (copies of deposited checks) exactly matched our subpoena results.  Their invoices didn't. ​

Karl then prompted me to walk through my process and what led me down the path of connecting Mr. ​Ex and ABC Gear.  

Note: Karl said that all we needed to do in this hearing was to show the Judge that my process of uncovering this connection between Mr. Ex and ABC Gear was logical AND that there was enough relevance there to warrant us seeing all their records.  That's why he walked me through my process in court in front of the Judge.

​I also let the Judge know that when I issued my original subpoenas, in particular for the Keystone Job, I requested all copies of invoices and cancelled checks for both Mr.​ Ex and ABC Gear.  

However, I hadn't received invoices issued from OR cancelled checks issued to Mr. ​Ex from that job because he wasn't paid as Mr. ​Ex, but as ABC Gear. 

Quickly, with the Judge watching and asking, "What is the relevance of...?," Karl rattled off the significance of various documents. 

He matched each of the invoices I had to deposits and invoices from ABC Gear.  

​Karl also pointed out that all the checks flowing out of the ABC Gear account were written to cash or G'friend, with an occasional one to pay rent.

​He openly accused ABC Gear of generating new invoices for the court's benefit.  

The production company invoices we received through our subpoenas were COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than those ABC Gear presented then in court.

Super Bowl Jackie kept falling back on G'friend's right to privacy and my "harassing" her  as part of a "jealous vendetta."

Once again, Karl cited case law pointing to greater latitude in discovery urging the Judge to "pierce the veil," especially in light of the blurred lines, if any lines in fact existed, between Mr. ​Ex and ABC Gear.  

It was seriously tense - A huge part of my petition hinged on proving Mr. X's hidden income, and for that, we needed to see all the records. 

The Judge ​paused and sighed, "She [G'friend] may not have known what she was getting into when she started dating Mr.​ Ex."  

He then ruled that the information was relevant and therefore he was enforcing the wider-scope subpoena that requested all business records going back to 2012.  

We had shown evidence that dissolved "arms length" between Mr. ​Ex and G'friend, and he would therefore "pierce the veil."

Motion To Quash DENIED - AGAIN and AGAIN!    

​Now G'friend was forced to show all ABC Gear records!  Huge Victory.

The only win the Judge gave them was a Protective Order. 

All the business records submitted by ABC Gear could only be viewed by Karl and myself, ​and they ​had to remain in Karl's office under lock and key.  

They ​couldn't be photocopied or scanned. 

I think the Judge saw the desperation in my eyes. 

But not only that, and more importantly, he saw the bullshit they were flinging.  

He kept the subpoenas in play, but allowed for their Protective Order. 

"Copies of all business records for ABC Gear from 1/1/12 to present date, including, but not limited to:  All monthly bank statements with deposit and withdrawal details, complete tax documents, names of all employees, contractors, or any other compensation persons or entities, copies of accounts receivable and payable, copies of all invoices, copies of all business registrations, including but not limited to EIN registration, business licenses, business registrations...."

Waiting for Godot? 

No, waiting for entry of the Protective Order.

Before we would get the documents, the Protective Order had to be written, agreed upon, and entered. 

Super Bowl Jackie said she would have it within the week.  

  • Well, that didn't happen.  

After three weeks of her dragging her feet, Karl drafted it himself.  

She, of course, balked at the wording, and after many attempts at communication, Karl filed a Motion to Compel the Entry of the Protective Order and Other Relief.  

Mid-October, a month after the Judge upheld our subpoena, we were back in front of the Judge to compel the entry of the Protective Order so that we could get ABC Gear's business documents.  

Interestingly, Marty was there, but Super Bowl Jackie wasn't.  

 Waiting for Godot? 

No, waiting for entry of the Protective Order.

Before we would get the documents, the Protective Order had to be written, agreed upon, and entered. 

Super Bowl Jackie said she would have it within the week.  

Well, that didn't happen.  

After three weeks of her dragging her feet, Karl drafted it himself.  

She, of course, balked at the wording, and after many attempts at communication, Karl filed a Motion to Compel the Entry of the Protective Order and Other Relief.  

Mid-October, a month after the Judge upheld our subpoena, we were back in front of the Judge to compel the entry of the Protective Order so that we could get ABC Gear's business documents.  

Interestingly, Marty was there, but Super Bowl Jackie wasn't.  

She was 'stuck in traffic' and requested we reschedule for another four weeks out.

Note:  This is why I say that BAD LAWYERS cost you extra money.  Instead of simply sending the documents over, Mr. Ex and G'friend's respective lawyers consistently forced us back and back to court to compel compliance.  And don't think that their lawyers didn't bill for all these additional court hearings and written up motions - because they did.  GOOD LAWYERS don't waste your money doing these kinds of things.  

Karl was happy to continue the matter to the following week, but he objected to any further delays. 

He cited their constant obstructionism, to which Marty objected.  

Nonetheless, the Judge told Karl to cross out the word "agreed" at the top of his drafted Protective Order and it was entered.  

G'friend was ordered to comply with delivery of all the requested business documents (bank statements and all dating back to Jan 2012 within 5 days, versus the original fourteen - although with all the delays it took her four weeks).

Of course, Super Bowl Jackie miraculously turned up at court right after we had left.

She got the court's permission (without notice to my attorney) to force all future subpoenas to need the court's permission before being issued.  Ugh.

This actually ended up working to our benefit.

The strategy of the two opposing attorneys could be summed up this way:  Make shit up through exaggeration and lies.  Then, drag your feet.  

They were aware that seeing people over and over again wore on the Judge.  

He expressed aggravation over that several times.  

But they continued to pull us back into court over every little detail.  

Even more frustrating was how they would take their sweet time so we had to force them back to court to get them to comply.  

Then they'd come up with some BS story and actually lie to the Judge about what they had done.  

Too bad Karl was too straight up to indulge in mud slinging and refused to call out their deception.

Hidden Income - Found

Follow the Money!...ABC Gear business record Bonanza!

FINALLY, nearly two months after the Judge upheld our subpoena, the ABC Gear documents arrived at Karl's office.   

Looking at all of the bank statements and 'redrafted invoices' showed that within the first ten months of operation, ABC Gear, went from zero to over $50​,000 in income.  (With no monthly overhead, no website, no nothing). 

Then, in its second year, it went to over $65K.  

And if you believe their story that it was owned and operated by G'friend, you would have to stretch your mind to contemplate someone without any contacts OR experience entering a very tight-knit industry and making $4,000-$6,000 a month without any branding, marketing, online presence... nothing.

We're talking achieving a full-time paycheck without a hair of anything.  

Who wouldn't like a little side business like that?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad would be ecstatic over this sort of passive income.  

Basically, G'friend could be in a coma and run this business!

The bank records ​revealed the flow of money.

Deposits would go in... And then the account would be drained to near zero, with checks written out to 'cash' or 'G'friend' or the occasional check issued to rent.  

No checks were issued to any other businesses - ehem... the businesses for whom she supposedly arranged rentals.

If you recall, ABC Gear, according to G'friend's written plea, was only a middleman.  

​​9) XXXXXXXXX is a sole proprietorship owned entirely by XXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXX has no interest therein and receives no income or other perquisites therefrom.  The company does not own any equipment, but arranges for the rental of film equipment to various other production companies. The rental rates are set by XXXXXXXXX and controlled by XXXXXXXXX alone.  The revenues generated by the business are received by XXXXXXXXX and only XXXXXXXXX.

​It rented gear (that it claimed not to own) and inserted itself between the production companies and the equipment owners.  

I worked in the film industry for over a decade and never EVER encountered that set-up.

There were no middlemen.

There were only the equipment shops and owners renting directly to production.  

But even if she managed to do this (NOT), the bank records showed absolutely no payment for any equipment.  

They showed ZERO, yes ZERO, checks written out to anyone other than what I listed above.  

They also showed ZERO invoices issued to them.  

They showed ZERO accounts payable.  

They showed ZERO receipts.  

ZERO!  

The ABC Gear bank account was a money printing press for cash.

Cash, glorious cash!   We're anxious to hide it!

Once litigation heated up, the checks written to "cash" stopped. 

Instead, the checks were written only to G'friend for $3000-6,000 at a time and to some credit card (for which we didn't see statements). 

Having been married to Mr. ​Ex, I knew he would never trust leaving the money in an account to which he didn't have access. 

It didn't matter that G'friend was sucking him off at night.  

Money is money, and his money is HIS MONEY.  

So let me tell you how this worked, which was supported by too many to name purchase orders, invoices, call sheets​ ---- Mr. Ex was ABC Gear.  

How He Hid the Income from Child Support

G'friend was only on it to shield it from child support.  

Mr. X worked the jobs, booked the jobs, delivered the gear, used the gear, and owned the gear (for around $10-15K investment in equipment, he would have a $700/day package for rent).  

He owned equipment while we were married and probably purchased more with cash from his 'side businesses.'  

The income was all paid to ABC Gear, an account under only G'friend's name.  

Then, all the money would be drained as fast as it came in.  

I'm sure he threw her a couple hundred a month for her front woman services.

​But all the money came out of the account and into Mr. ​Ex's hands.  

All this so that he didn't have to pay another penny more in child support.

Hey, Big Spenda, spend a little...

Then in February of 2013, Mr. ​Ex worked the Keystone Job for which he WAS NOT PAID because he submitted his fee on an ABC Gear invoice.  

No check had been issued to Mr. ​Ex for his labor.  

He and G'friend thought they were clever in never issuing Mr. ​Ex a check from the bank account.  

But why didn't he get paid for his work that ABC Gear billed for?  

Simple.  

Because ABC Gear was and is Mr. X's company!

Ok, so now what? 

Early on, Karl said that this wasn't really a 'smoking gun' situation. 

Our approach was looking for the "preponderance of evidence" of a consistent and pervasive pattern.  

But at this point, we only had bank statements, ABC Gear doctored invoices, a handful of actual invoices from clients (four) and call sheets.  We needed more. 

Go wider and deeper.

Using the doctored invoices we received from ABC Gear, we identified other local companies to whom we would issue YET MORE SUBPOENAS. 

Initially, we anticipated that the Super Bowl Jackie would hit back to quash this batch of subpoenas, so Karl suggested we cherry pick and only do two or three.  

But knowing that they would most likely do that, I pushed to drive wide to get every local company.  

I was tired of being meek.  

The reason local was so important was because we could easily compel the companies to comply without dealing with out-of-state attorneys and courts (huge expense and more time).  

If a company didn't comply, we would simply be back in our local courtroom and not dealing remotely with attorneys and process.  

Predictably, Mr. ​Ex forced us back to court in late October on another matter.  

At this hearing, Karl prudently used this time in front of the Judge to get leave to issue these additional subpoenas.

We also reissued the one local subpoena that I had done Pro Se because I failed to include an Affidavit of Authenticity. 

Worst-case scenario, we ​the company accountant who issued the invoices would have to testify.  

​Added bonus, all the reissued subpoenas ​yielded purchase orders (which I hadn't received from my Pro Se subpoenas).  

The purchase orders were written up on every job and used for internal accounting purposes.  

Of course every purchase order ONLY had Mr. X listed as the contact of ABC Gear, along with his, AND ONLY HIS, cellphone number.  

G'friend's name was nowhere to be found on any of these documents!

At this point, Super Bowl Jackie filed a lie-filled Motion to Extend the Protective Order.

This was their flailing about trying to keep us from uncovering the truth - but ​they couldn't stop the flood of incriminating information from making its way into our hands.

With a trial seeming imminent, Karl asked me to compile a list of things I wanted Mr. X to confirm or admit. 

This is known as a Request for the Admission of Facts and Genuineness of Documents.  

These were really things that we needed to establish as 'facts' that contributed to and/or proved our case.  

We had evidence and/or my testimony to back up any facts, should Mr.​ Ex have chosen to deny any of them.  

​Here are a couple key statements:

1.  Mr. ​Ex operated a film equipment company under the name of "Mr. X Gear"

2.  The check attached as Exhibit "A" is a true and accurate copy of the check issued to Rachel Beck by Mr. ​Ex Gear.  

This was a check that Mr. ​Ex had given me once from his former Mr. ​Ex Gear business account to cover child support.  He wrote it and then stopped payment on it.  My bank returned the check to me.  The beauty of it was, it was written out mid-2010.  Mr. ​Exclaimed (on signed-under-oath documents) that he closed Mr. X Gear in 2005/2006. 

3. Mr. ​Ex, whether present or past, had the following phone number "XXX-XXX-XXXX"

4. Mr. ​Ex, whether present or past, had the following email address: "XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com"

5.  Mr. ​Ex's phone number is listed on the attached call sheet.

6.  The attached call sheet is a true and accurate copy.

​You'll also notice that he was asked to admit the authenticity of several call sheets.  

The plan was to get Mr. ​Ex to admit to them.  

If he didn't, we'd subpoena witnesses from these companies who would admit to them.

But we hoped Mr. ​Ex would admit to them because working with witnesses on the stand makes an already potentially costly process even more costly. 

Mr. ​Ex was given a limited time to respond.  

If he chose to not respond, he would, by default, have 'admitted' to everything in it.  

The Request for the Admission backed Mr. ​Ex against the wall.

The floodgates opened as documents poured in from the newly issued subpoenas, revealing a gorgeous pattern:

Old invoices with Mr. ​Ex's phone number on them were the only invoices companies sent us from ABC Gear up until shortly after litigation began.  

Then ABC Gear revamped its invoices out of QuickBooks and put G'friend's phone number on them.  

They were trying to cover their tracks once I was onto them.

Mr. ​Ex's name was on EVERY SINGLE purchase order as contact for ABC Gear equipment - even after litigation heated up.  

He mustn't have thought about that.

Every single ABC Gear job included Mr. ​Ex.  NONE included G'friend.

ABC Gear didn't work with anyone except Mr. ​Ex:  All work came in from him.

G'friend's name was absent from ALL DOCUMENTS. 

The only place her name appeared was on the W-9 form for each company.  

Plus even this document appeared to be something signed once, then Xeroxed and submitted to each job.

Mr. ​Ex created ABC Gear to hide about $60,000-90,000 in income from child support. 

Of the subpoenas we issued, three reaped (what is aptly termed) THE MOTHERLOAD

All of these documents showed the depth and breadth of the financial involvement of Mr. ​Ex with ABC Gear.  

We got exactly what WE NEEDED.  

The preponderance of evidence!

Here is the exact email I sent to Karl:

Karl,

I looked at all the subpoena records.  I'm not sure what to say except it seems there is clear evidence of Mr. ​Ex's involvement in ABC Gear. I think that he's paying G'friend for being the front man. I'm sad that he's elected to pay her, and not his proper child support. That really bummed me out when I went through the stuff. But, I'm ready to move forwards and go for the jugular as much as possible.

It leapt out at me that none of the documents have G'friend's name on them (beyond the Xerox copy of the W-9 form that seems to have been repurposed on each job). I would venture to say that, unless she and Mr. ​Ex have begun having her contact clients, companies wouldn't even know she is associated with ABC Gear. Look at the ABC Gear purchase orders from Oct 24th - just a couple weeks ago - Mr. ​Ex is still listed as contact.

Also, if you notice, when Bob (another equipment owner) is on the call sheet - before ABC Gear came out - Bob is the equipment contact. Even if Bob isn't on the call sheet as a crew person (if his company BOB's Gear is listed as a vendor) he's the contact person and not Mr. ​Ex. So clearly this isn't a case of Mr. ​Ex being the contact person of whichever vendor if he's working as a crew person.

Will you now ask Mr. ​Ex to admit to all the subpoena results we've received thus far? And when will that document forcing him to admit/deny be ready to go out?

Also, unless other things have come in, there are three companies that didn't comply with the subpoena, Correct? My opinion on that is to keep moving toward trial without pushing those companies. I think we've got enough evidence for our case. And, unless you think that we need those other documents to make it, (which if you do please let me know), we should just forget it. I don't want to spend more money forcing their compliance (again unless you have good reason to want to do otherwise).

Regarding asking for attorney fees, will you be filing that petition once we have a court date? Or is that filed after the hearing? (Sorry I forgot which).

Thank you.  I'm very pleased with the results of the subpoenas. Money well spent. I think Mr. ​Ex and G'friend may try to swing their story now and say "Well OK.  He's involved in half of the company." or something else to spin it.  I've been trying to think of how they'll work this. Question the validity of the POs? I just don't know.

Also, I don't know what G'friend does for a living, but I'm confident she has a full time job. Her involvement in ABC Gear is just a face - as the documents reveal.

Let me know what you need me to do and what next steps are.  

Thanks,

Rachel

Karl and I had a follow up conversation covering every angle of our strategy relating back to the amended petition that he filed.  

Additionally, he served Mr. ​Ex with the Request for the Admission of Facts and the Genuineness of Documents.

​Child Support Court - Moving Forwards to Trial

Finally, over a year after I started the process, Karl moved us forward and set the case for trial in January. 

Marty pushed for a pre-trial, but Karl said, "Let's lock in a court date."

Thinking forwards to the trial.

Karl and I discussed the Judge's position. 

​Based on the doctored invoices and twisted stories, Mr. ​Ex and G'friend would probably deny that he has anything to do with her business, bombarding the Judge with bullshit.

Note:  Since the G'friend ​wasn't a party to the original support case, she couldn't have her attorney question anyone.  Super Bowl Jackie would be on the bench for this game.

Unfortunately, I thought the Judge would be hard-pressed, and the expectation unrealistic, that he would factor child support against the entire income ABC Gear generates (about $5-7k/month). 

But I did believe that even if our evidence didn't impart on the Judge that ABC Gear is wholly Mr. ​Ex's company, he would at least attribute half of the company to him.  

As in our four-count petition, if the Judge wouldn't give us a win on one, he would likely give us a win on another.  

Karl reminded me that we only need the Judge to side with us 51%.

Divorce ​Checklist Lessons:

  1. ​Stay on top of your lawyer.  It's not that they're not looking out for your best interests, but they're human.  They make mistakes.  They get tired.  They cut corners.  They forget.  Also, family law court can be an excruciatingly long and tedious experience, so you need to keep your attorney motivated to work.  I would suggest routinely checking in (via email) and inquiring about upcoming issues to expedite them efficiently.
  2. Bring your binder to every court date.  Organization is everything.   If you have evidence but you don't have it on hand or you're fumbling with it, you really DON'T have evidence.
  3. As far as discovery goes, Karl advised me that we might never get all of the documents we requested.  And we didn't.  For example:  We NEVER got bank or credit card statements for the fateful month of October 2012.  This was the month Mr. X reportedly sold his boat AND used it to settle a debt.  It's also when G'friend filed for the ABC Gear EIN.  Since Mr. X didn't show financial records for this month, it planted a seed that possibly there was a large amount of money flowing through his hands at that time.   If you don't get something you request in discovery, remind the Judge and your attorney of it and that it's probably because the your ex is hiding something
  4. The Request for the Admission of Facts and Genuineness of Documents is a discovery device used to establish 'facts' without the necessity of 'formal proof' for trial.  This includes the evidence you've been discussing with your attorney.   Take time to comb over all the elements of your case because you know it best.  Make sure you've got all of your angles covered and that they feed back to your goal and petition.  Karl and I labored over the selection of 'facts' that supported our petition and eroded Mr. X's credibility.  He was forced to fess up or lie.      

Child Support Modification ​Documents Mentioned in this Part

​​​​​Motion to ​Quash Subpoenas (​3rd Time with 3rd Lawyer)

​​​​​Yes, by this point there were THREE DIVORCE LAWYERS:  mine, Mr. Ex's, AND his girlfriend's.  Mr. Ex had transferred his business to her - so she too got in the mix now trying to block the subpoenas.

​​​​​​​Interrogatories (for Divorce & Child Support)

Interrogatories are part of the discovery process of divorce.  They allow you and your soon-to-be/already ex spouse to ask questions that must be responded to in writing under oath.  These answer are then used to determine facts in the case, as well as to question each side if/when the case goes to trial.

​​​​​​​​Request for Production, aka RFP (for Divorce & Child Support)

​A request for production ​is a legal request for documents and an integral part of the very important discovery process in divorce.  ​It's ​used to gather evidence, as well proof of assets and income, of each of the spouses.  A good attorney will use a request for production to strategically support their case.  In my case, I issued the first round of Request for Production myself, without an attorney.  

​​Usually protective orders are court orders requiring that a person stay a certain distance away from another person.  In my case, in a play of smoke and mirrors, Mr. Ex and G'friend attempted to claim that I was harassing them.  Now, I was quite persistent with the subpoenas, I will give you that, but this play was to paint an image of me, attempting to damage my image to the Judge.

​​​As we moved towards trial for our child support modification case, we used this legal discovery device in our case as well.   Sometimes this is referred to as the Request for Admissions.  Again, this is signed and answered under oath - even if you are filling this out at home and then going to the notary.