Family Law, Divorce Lawyers, and the Gateway to Hell

Ann Bradley

Ann Bradley

The system of family law is inherently flawed. It is adversarial where it need not be, and when it needs to be strong it often fails the client.  Civil Codes and family laws are ignored. Lawyers perjure themselves for their clients, make character assassinations and other heinous acts as routine as filing a motion. Lawyers are abusive, expensive and when they become the problem instead of the solution, it’s time to say so.

I first learned this in my own divorce – where better to learn than firsthand?

I was caught in a huge attempt at concealing fraud, with my husband and his attorney in collusion to conceal it, then Kafkaesquelike, planning to blame it on me. They announced this at a settlement conference when asked by the pro tem judge, “Why are you going to trial, there is evidence of the fraud?”

With breathtaking nonchalance, opposing counsel prepared to assist my husband in implicating me in fraud.

At the time I thought I was the only one anything like this happened to. Over the years I have come to learn how common it is.

It took a lot of discovery to unearth the fraud including subpoeanas of clients. I won, but the cost was high. If opposing counsel not been so malignant in encouraging the fraud upon the court, it is possible we might have settled. But how would he earn his $350.00 an hour if we settle? Greed and ego play a big part in the cash cow known as family law. After losing at trial, he wanted an appeal, which they lost. Still on the warpath, opposing counsel wanted to go to the Supreme Court. However by now, my ex had spent enough on his losing battle and stopped the war.

Recently in Dallas there was a judge so incompetent she thought she had the right to eliminate evidence proving sexual abuse. She was exposed and did not get re-elected, but the trauma to the people in her court is severe and they suffer still.

In California, I recently read a transcript where the judge knowingly begins a trial at the wrong time and without both sides present. He ignores this and proceeds without the mother. This was a custody trial. Can you imagine the lack of judicial ethics to begin a trial at the wrong time? Due process? Gone. Constitutional rights? Ignored. This is family court.

In another case, a Silicon Valley attorney announces she is a ‘prima donna’ as if that excuses her abusive treatment of clients, and worse, the outrageous billing for doing nothing. She told one client: “Don’t do discovery. Go ahead and lose and we’ll get the money later.” Really? I hope one of her clients files a bar complaint or sues for malpractice. She should be flipping burgers not bon mots.

In My Divorce

Shocked, stunned and filled with rage at the lack of human compassion, at the malignancy that was this process, I felt trapped. But slowly, a change was washing over me. The more I learned about narcissism and evil, the more I gladly wore the badge they pinned on me labeled “target” . They were working very hard to “get me”, so hard that they had to recreate a world in which I am expendable and they are to get their way. Oh, dear husband, you never focused on me during the marriage as you did then. With humor and grace, as Richard Cohen puts it, I look with amusement at how much time, energy and money he directed at me now.

I was distraught, depressed and angry. Alexander Hamilton said, “The first duty of society is justice.” Where the hell was it?

Divorce lawyers taught me not only are women supposed to be inferior, they run their cases as if we actually are. Divorce is a paternalistic system, even with many female attorneys. It is built on control, concealment of information, and a swirl of paperwork that makes the process understood only by the anointed few.

Sometimes I think “law” is an acronym for lawyers against women. While all the men exit stage left, let me say I also believe the law can be an equal opportunity bastard and be unjust, unfair and biased against anyone or anything.

Why is Divorce Often Harder for Women?

Women are not trained to fight and divorce can be war. Women do not believe it will get dirty and nasty. They do not see their spouse as one who can and will do things which harm everyone including the children. But when money and ego are involved spouses can act without a conscience. You may be amazed at the transformation of your spouse, morphing from someone you knew as kind and compassionate to a stranger who fights with a passion.

With an aggressive, greed driven attorney behind him, he can become brainwashed and encouraged to whip himself into a frenzy.

Money translates into power in the legal system. It allows those who want to punish their spouses the ability to do so legally. As long as there is money, there is someone to represent them.

Inquiring minds want to know: is it possible to have a positive legal experience when dealing with a group of people who believe the truth is a manipulative?

You can read the entire story here: Divorce and Lawyers 

Ann Bradley


  1. So glad I found this website. I have seen you on you tube and admire your success in handling your own divorce. I am going through a complex divorce after 17 years of marriage . He spent the majority of our marriage trying to emotionally abuse me and finally lead to him physically abusing me in 2012. He broke my wrist in a drunken rage. I did get a PFA.

    He filed for divorce before I could. I remain in the marital home and he cannot come here thank God. We have a large amount of assets and money involved in the case. He is a narcissist with deep pockets and likes to pay attorneys to harass me. He uses the legal system to get at me since he can’t do it himself anymore.

    The courts hear anything he wants to lie about in court. I am a retired private investigator so I am pretty familiar with the family laws here in Pa having worked for other people on their divorce cases. I am on my second attorney hoping she can cut to the chase and get this divorce/ settlement moving.

    He pays the min.in spousal support and has found a way to have our joint annuity income stopped so I have to live on the small amount of support. The law says the annuity is in both names and we were collecting it prior to the divorce so they should not allow his attorney to collect these 2 checks for 7,500.00 a month and hold it in her offices escrow account. It is now over 100,000.00 sitting there not collecting interest.

    I have been forced into financial hardship by not having access to my own annuity money to the point where I had to stop paying on the marital credit cards that were due from before we separated. For the first time in my life my credit is ruined.

    There are case laws to prove they are wrong in holding that money but the county where I live case laws do not mean anything. Judges make decisions on their gut feelings instead of enforcing laws that are clear to prevent dissipation of assets and even if you can prove the guy has already lied under oath in a deposition and on interrogatories he still maintains a position of having more credibility than me. Because his attorney presents motions filled with lies that make me look uncooperative and I have followed every order, been patient waiting for the laws we have to protect us to be used in my case to get this going and over. That is still not happening. I have now way to make his attorney give me my own money and I am wondering if the insurance companies that pay out our annuities could step in and force them to give me my money, so I could at least pay my home taxes. If you have any advice please share it with me. I would like to join you in exposing the corruption in the family courts that happen here in Pennsyvania. The laws are ignored, domestic violent victims are more at risk , due to the good old buddy system the cops live by and the judges do not even have backgrounds in family law. They make life changing decisions on what they think, not what the law states. Attorneys do not follow the rules of conduct and play dirty and even when caught or exposed nothing happens to them. My Phone numberis 724-322-2590 I would love to hear from you and join in changing the way these issues are handled.

    • Please consider filing bar complaints against attorneys that violate or ignore the family code and or law. I recently did this in a contested custody case with a lying lawyer and everything got dropped. She dropped her client also. She was investigated by the state Bar although in the end they took no action. That was of little consequence – the important part was to stop her actions and make sure she knew we – and the Bar = knew she was playing fast and loose with the rules. These people (lawyers, judges) get away with what they can because no one stops them. I recently spent some time this holiday with a friend from college who is now a Judge and does about 1/4 Family Law. She confirmed my thoughts that lawyers just go on and on throwing all sorts of crap out there because no one stops them.

      Corruption is in every court in every state. In PA, you might like to talk to Richard Ducote – http://www.ducotelaw.com Tell him Ann Bradley referred you. He should remember me but in case not tell him we met in San Diego for the Motley Crue case and both worked on the big Dallas case in Judge Rankin’s court. Best, Ann

  2. Thank you Anne,

    I actually just found your reply to me. I have been in a state of total confusion since the beginning of this. There have been so many more things my ex and his rambo ette attorney have done to delay this divorce process . They have delayed me doing discovery and nose that I did start to get it done after 3 years they did an ex parte exclusive posession of the home and this judge we haven ow hates me because I got the first judge recused while I was pro se. The master threatened me to take a deal with my husband without doing discovery and when I turned it down that is when they did the ex parte motion to make me move. Now I have until only March 11, 2016 to leave my home when I am broke since I have been maintaining everything and the ex gets 18,000.00 a month has his own place now for 2 years, he has been stalking me I showed my attorney video and photos and he said they won’t give me a PFA because the judge said so. The master who held me in his office in May trying to force me to take a deal with the ex and move from the home threatened me that if I did not take the offer he was sending the abusive husband home . The master is aware that the husband was removed from the home via PFA after attacking me. Well since I did not take the offer he did send him back here, not in the house but all around the property. Driving through the yard sitting in front of my bedroom window I have told the judge this is happening and he still ordered me to move. I am sorry for rambling but what they are doing is legal extortion, and now forcing me to be homeless. Thank you for your reply I will contact Richard Ducote. I have reported all of this illegal public corruption to everyone I could and had no assistance. Again Thank you

  3. I had another attorney recently I paid 15,000.00 to and he is now quitting because he won’t do an appeal on this interlocutory order to give my ex exclusive pos of the home and he said he won’t continue if I want him to file contempts against my ex for not signing release to review 22 financial documents that the ex did not include in his inventory and asset form for discovery. He said my ex’s attorney won’t ever make him sign it. My attorney refused to subpoena his attorney or him for the records. I have a forensic accountant that has just found there is 2.3 million missing and told them they have to provide him with the information as to where it went. Shortly after that I got tis order to move and if I don’t they will have me removed via the police. I am trying to figure out how to do an interlocutory appeal and stay so that they can’t force me to move yet. I asked my attorney to do this before he goes to court Friday to withdraw to do this before he leaves and he said no. He said he is not doing it because the judge will say no we can’t appeal and it is a waste of the courts time. OMG what did he think this ex parte exclusive possession of the home hearing that the recused jude passed on to the new judge.was while we are in the middle of the divorce masters trial. The recused judge assigned me this new judge and he really hates me. I understand it is not legal for the recusing judge to be the one to send you to a new judge but one of the laws matter here.

    • Looks like you should file a report to the Bar on your attorney. Bar complaints can be wildly successful. I filed one against my appeals attorney and he was suspended for 4 years. Did one for a family member and the opposing counsel quit the practice of law. Got 90K zeroed out of a bill for a client in LA. Filed 2 bar complaints against opposing counsel in my case. Each time he stopped the games and played straight while being investigated. Much got accomplished.

      Note well: I had more than sufficient evidence of misconduct in each case. I did not bring drama or emotions into the complaint. I always sent a copy of the complaint to the attorney and sometimes to opposing counsel. It is amazing how they suddenly stop treating you like a doormat and saying things like, “I’m quitting and there is nothing you can do about it.”

      Your attorney has no way of knowing the judge will think something is a waste of time. However, have you asked him how he plans on accomplishing the goal without wasting time?

      I don’t know whether what you are asking everyone to do is good or not – I don’t know your case – but it sounds like they have tagged you a nuisance litigant in their minds and want your money, not to do the work. Of course, I also don’t know how much time they have already put in your case.

      Criminal attorney? Or file a criminal complaint for missing funds?


      • Hi Anne , Thank you again , for your advice. I met with an attorney from Ducote Law firm today. Her name is Erica Burns, very nice and thinks she can help me . The only thing she can’t help me with is getting this judges order vacated that states I have to move from the marital home by this Friday. She was surprised too that this judge would even do an exclusive pos of the home hearing that came from the recused judge at this point in time. She thought it was odd to give the ex exclusive pos of the home since he has been out for over 3 years after I got a PFA . I have kept everything up to date all bills and the property. He get s 18,000.00 a month so he is not hurting for money to live on. He and does not need to move from where he is and were are in the middle of a masters trial . This judge could not have considered the factors to decide this because this will case more of a delay, it will cause me more hardship financially. It just seems so wrong that they are making move from the marital home we both own when I have no credit to rent a place, no money to pay for the moving and no where to go. I have to put my furnishings in storage and truly be homeless until the ED happens. The majority of domestic violence victims never are told to leave and certainly when they have no access to their marital funds until after the ED. I have been researching cases where the judge made an improper ruling like this to see how to vacate it. My time is running out. There has to be a civil law that we have that prevents the court from denying you the right to live in your own house when you have no alternative way to find housing. This judge just really hates me and all women he had a really bad divorce and acts like he hates all women. If you can think of anyway I can get this order vacated I would appreciate it very much. I can’t imagine having to move my entire 18 years of things in 2 days into a storage unit. This is so crazy.

  4. Thank you so much for your advice, it means so much to me, I am meeting with Erica Burns tomorrow at 2:00 she is an attorney at Ducote Law, I called them as soon as I saw your message. How about this on Friday my attorney was denied his motion to withdraw from my case. This judge wants him to stay because he does not represent me as he should like not showing my evidence that could have prevented the judge from ordering me to leave my home this coming Friday or he will have the police remove me . I can prove through my docket that I have not been the nuisance delaying this case , I maintained the marital home completely and followed every order. I had him removed via PFA so this means the judge will force a victim to be homeless with no access to her own funds since they are in the end stages of the masters hearings. The only thing holding that up is the husbands attn won’t let him sign a release so we can learn the true value of the estate. How can they order you to leave your home when that is your safe place from the abuser and the abuser has more than enough money to stay where he has been for the last 3 years. I want to hire Erica from Ducote and fire the one who has been working more to hurt my case than help it. There just has to be a way to do some kind of emergency stay to void the order to evict me and have me homeless. I will have no way to pay to move my credit is gone and I won’t have a place to go and the judge knows this so does the attorney. I am so sick I have been forced to be in limbo for 3 years with the ex and his attorney with meritless requests. They really denied me access to my own money so I could not do discovery. There are 3 other women like me from the same county and same judges that are abusing their power. We work together to help each other but this court has no rules they follow. It is a kangaroo court. The only reason I have stayed in the home is because I can’t afford to move and felt that I would only have to move after the equitable is done. If I am forced to leave now I will loose everything in the house I have had for over 18 years. Once the ex moves back in all my things will be gone. There are no factors the judge is suppose to consider when doing this that points to moving me. It seems so unfair that the one who has perjured himself repeatedly, is hiding assets, has had a PFA on him , and has more money available to him is the one that will be rewarded by making me homeless. My docket shows that the only thing I repeatedly asked for was my own money to do discovery or pay my taxes. I did not think it was unreasonable to stay in our home until discovery is done and he can have the house if he wants it. When my attorney told me he was denied the motion to withdraw, I told him I do not want him as my attorney if he still refuses to go after the release we need and to find a way to revers this order to force me to meow. It is unheard of making a victim of abuse move during the divorce especially since she has maintained the home very well. My attorney did not respond because he thinks thats ok to just let them not have to show the entire financial documents we need. I cannot believe this is happening . I am really afraid this is so unthinkable that they will really throw me out of my home when I have no access to any marital funds until after the divorce to find a new home or allowed enough time to get a new place, to live. I think my ex has your ex beat as far as narcissism goes. He had dragged this out as another way to abuse me. He loves that he has been in total control of the finances during this. I just feel so weakened and beat up that I really feel my fate will be like my mom, dad and sisters. They all died instantly from sudden heart attacks. That was my entire family. Just gone in a minute. What this judge has ordered is inhumane to do to someone. I would really love to talk to you if you have some free time . I can call you or you can call me. Thank you so much Anne.

  5. I’m happy to find blogs about this kind of abuse and how it hurts in the family law system. Can anyone tell me how judge rankin in dallas rules? I am currently in a case of custody with my mother. I have determined that she shows the characteristics of a narcissist. So far our case has been in court 5-6 times and has been ongoing for a year now. Our final isn’t until the end of the year. I am a fit parent and nothing has show otherwise, yet here I am with limited time with my son and every road block I hit, there is another right behind. My mother has gotten ugly to the point of lYing to the judge and denying me time with my son for his birthday. I get monitored, blocker in communication and blacklisted with his school. Police won’t help, judge wont step up and see the problem and fix it, lawyer bills keep piling up, and my son is emotionally and psychologically hurting. I’m lost at what else to do. I’m terrified to lose my son.

    • You had to mention the one judge I have experience with – Not personally, but because I wrote about her for a very long time when she was up for re-election many years ago. She lost, Lynn Cherry won.

      I don’t think there is much left online about what I wrote – but you can read this https://medium.com/@annbradley/jesus-and-the-judge-acd79814111e#.qkw8rpx8m

      Please write to me at annbradley@gmail.com and I will see who or what I know can help you. I’m in California but know people in Dallas.

      If you google some key words you will find things. I just did bad judge “Susan Rankin” (put the ” around her name) You can also do corruption or custody – pick and choose words to put with her name and you will learn a lot.

      Please read the link I gave above before contacting me. Ann

  6. Hi Ann,
    Your article struck a chord. My daughter lives in CA and is going through a contentious divorce. She has 2 children and has been the primary caregiver for 5 years. Her husband took the girls and went home to momma and daddy. His parents hired a vicious lawyer and stunned my daughter with an Emergency Hearing (we were told later that if this had been filed in any other county, there wouldn’t have been an Emergency Hearing due to lack of evidence, but the county she lives in is a whole different place and the judge is very aggressive and not well-liked)which she went to without legal assistance because we only had a 24 hr notice. We live 2000 miles away and she has no family in CA. So, she went after only talking to a lawyer by phone who told her to throw herself on the court’s mercy! She was a little smarter than that, but not much. Her husband’s allegations, which she only saw minutes before facing the judge, included alcoholism and neglect. She ended up losing all custody rights and having supervised visitation.
    We finally were able to find her an attorney, but now are wondering if we got the right guy. They had a custody hearing 2 weeks ago and he was intimidated because the lawyer and the judge are pals and basically walked all over him. He’s a young attorney and I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. He finally got discovery but its incomplete. The most important information is not there! He has 7 days until mediation and they NEED that information and he’s doing nothing. They allowed her husband’s attorney to type of the Court order from the hearing and of course, she’s dragging her feet. Meanwhile, my daughter’s husband is coming up with every excuse under the sun to keep her from getting the girls for the prescribed day visits the Judge allowed her from M-F. Her husband keeps trying to get her to admit things and is very big and intimidating to her. She has told her attorney she’s afraid of him. ( He is a Navy vet who used to be one of the guys on the boarding crews who were the first to board pirate ships. He’s pretty tough I hear)But since he has full legal and physical custody and she only has visitation he does what he wants. And he tells her that he doesn’t have the Court Order so he will do what he wants. He also said the Judge is on his side and he’s right!
    They lived in a home owned by his parents. When he took the girls and left her they gave her a 60 day notice to vacate. She has had to get a PT job, move all of the things he allowed her to have, and find a home to rent in a very difficult area to find anything safe but affordable. She’s also had to clean the entire house she is vacating with NO help from her husband though his things are still there and he lived there too, while trying to get her new home ready for his inspection before he will allow the girls to visit. Meanwhile her attorney twiddles his thumbs. She asked him where is the Court Order? He said he had to wait for opposing counsel to type it. So finally they got it last week and surprise, surprise, there are things missing! So now it has to go back to opposing counsel and her attorney had to call and tell the attorney to fix it. I have no doubt that they will drag their feet until after the mediation. And now they are alleging serious neglect and even trying to insinuate sexual abuse because of infantile gratification disorder as they call it!! But that’s a normal thing many kids do and its NOT sexual! They also accused her of planning to abduct the girls! She visited last summer with one of the girls and now I know why he and his parents didn’t allow the other one to come for a visit. We only see our grandbabies about every other year and only one at a time. So after she visited she called and asked if she could bring both girls this summer for about 6 weeks. We were overjoyed! We said sure and began planning. She had NO intention of abducting them! She has always maintained that she would NEVER take the girls from their father because no matter what, hes a good dad. But since he took the girls, he has been systematically trying to erase her from her girls’ lives. His parents hired a “counselor” for the 5 year old and more and more she is acting distant from my daughter. They haven’t told her about the divorce so of course she is confused and when her father decides at the last minute that the plans my daughter made with the girls the next day are not going to happen, (days the court assigned her visitation),he doesn’t allow my daughter to tell them that it was HE that ruined their plans. So OF COURSE the little thing is confused and blames mom. Heaven only knows WHAT she’s being made to think of her mother by her father and his parents and their counselor! During supervised visitation they wouldn’t even let her change her baby’s diaper or feed her and even now, she has to ask him if she wants to feed the baby something other than what he allows.
    Ann, my husband and I are paying for her attorne,y such as he is. We have many questions and our daughter is literally running her fanny off every day jumping through hoops to try to show the court she is a good mom. She’s going to counseling, AA, parenting classes, you name it even though she was assessed for alcohol abuse by a very respected abuse counselor and found not to have any alcohol issues. But her husband took pictures of liquor bottles from the house and says she is still drinking! It was liquor from their cabinet that they use for guests! She’s even being tested for alcohol weekly now and we are paying for it. Meanwhile, he has anger issues and was supposed to have anger management assessment but they only turned over half the report! The baby they say is anemic too and has a leg movement issue. Well, that’s inherited but they don’t want to hear that. And if she’s anemic why won’t they turn over her medical tests? My daughter asked the doctor for them and was told she has no rights to them. Her attorney wants her to go back and ask again so he won’t have to file a motion to compel! I told my daughter to tell him we need an expert witness to counter all the medical garbage they are alleging, His answer was for my daughter to find a doctor who will give her a second opinion. Ive got news…doctors don’t like doing that especially if they even THINK there’s a possibility of a lawsuit. And even if he does rebut what the other doctor is saying, if he won’t testify what good is he? That’s why her attorney should find an expert witness.
    Anyway, Ann, we are in real trouble here. And her attorney just keeps blowing sunshine. But we can only afford a payment plan. We are paying a grand a month to watch this attorney cower and lose this case! My daughter is so emotionally and physically exhausted she’s lost 25 lbs in a month! She can’t sleep because she’s scurrying around trying to get everything just right so they will let her have her kids and then boom! he decides he didn’t like something and tells her she can’t see them the next day! It’s sick. And I can’t do a thing to help her. We just can’t afford for me to go out there. We are paying for part of her rent, food, attorney and everything else we can and we are not in financial shape for that.
    Right now, I am getting ready to have a phone call with her attorney tomorrow after much fighting back and forth because even with my daughter’s permission, he didn’t want to talk to me or my husband. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.
    I know we could change lawyers but it would be difficult and with hearings only a few weeks away, I don’t know if it would be good. Plus we don’t have any money for two weeks and that would shorten the time considerably.
    We are desperate. My daughter is a Navy vet. She has a bachelor’s degree. She went into the Navy at age 30 and out worked boys who were 19 years of age! She was harrassed and dealt with it. She’s tough. But she can only take so much and that’s what they want. His parents have a lot of money, they are stingy, but willing to try to drive her into the ground. They thought she would fold and come home because they know we don’t have much money and she didn’t have any support in CA. Well, they were wrong. We are fighters and we aren’t letting them take our grandchildren from their mother without putting up a fight. But I think she chose the wrong attorney to do this. He is a smooth talker but it looks like in court he’s a mouse.
    We believe she is going to be stuck with the daytime visitation she now supposedly has. And if she is and her husband retains all legal and physical custody, he will just continue playing games and using the children as pawns like he is doing now. And her attorney won’t tell the court. He says the court isn’t interested in that kind of stuff and it just makes her look bad to bring it up!
    I’m sorry this is so long! We would appreciate any advice you could give us. I know its not legal advice.
    Thank you.

    • Hi, A nightmare this is. I understand. First, go here and make friends. http://www.protectiveparents.com This is for moms in your daughter’s situation. Based in California but they do national as well. Reach out. If Connie Valentine is still there, talk to her. I met her once but she knows my former client in Dallas very well. First name, Janay. (It was Janay that introduced me to Connie, but that was a few years ago.) Second, call Alternative Legal Services of San Jose. 1150 N 1st St, San Jose , CA (408) 293-1396 Roy Re runs this. He does not act as attorney of record but he can act behind the scenes, write motions, etc. He is fantastic in family law. I sent him a client who represented herself in a custody case, he wrote the motion, she filed it, and got custody overturned and back to her. Amazing. I used him in my divorce – I’ve sent lawyers to use him, an actress in a difficult case, and he just wows everyone. He works part time now as he is at the end of his career – but he gives all his attention to you. Tell him I referred you. He will listen. You can abbreviate the story into important bullet points – Roy knows full well what the husband is doing.

      It sounds like Parental Alienation Syndrome – you need to fight back – I strongly urge you to call Roy. He will call you back if he’s not in. He does his own phone..He can advise you whether to let the current atty go or maybe Roy can work behind the scenes, with him.

      Also, look up William Eddy of High Conflict Inst (in CA). He’s both a lawyer and an attorney. He deals with NPD – might get some help from his site.

      On this site, http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm at the bottom you can purchase their plan on fighting PAS. It has how to deal with the judge, with opposing counsel, etc. I don’t know it personally but it sure might get you up to speed on the strategies and tactics you need.

      Good luck – you are doing your daughter a huge favor – wonderful!

      Best, Ann

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