“My husband and I are divorcing. He is taking everything that I have done over the past 10 years and twisting it around and basically lying. He made accusations that I am a drug user, but when I said I would go in for hair folicle testing, and if I passed he would have to pay for it, he backed down. But because he made these types of accusations, it worries me that if mediation does not work and we end up in court, it may be hard for me to get shared custody of my daughter. Can he just flat out lie like that? He is also telling me where I can and can’t take our daughter. We have a temporary schedule right now – I just don’t understand how he gets to dictate what I do and when. And why he is lying. He has also taken every friend we have and turned them against me. He does nothing but bad mouth me to everyone and I worry he is going to do it to my daughter as well. She is 5. We both have lawyers and mine is more laid back while his is not. I just want to get through this divorce as quickly as possible and try to get along but he doesn’t seem to want to do that – he wants a war. What should I do? Do I need to hire a more agressive lawyer? Do I just stay calm and hopefully he will calm down too?”
Yes he can lie. People do it all the time. Will he get away with it? Maybe. False allegations tend to come back and bite people, whether it is an unfavorable ruling or an award of attorney fees in the future.
Put your children’s best interests first in mediation. Remember, for mediation to work, you need to come to an agreement. Keep track of what happens and when. Have a support person with you as a neutral observer at exchanges.
As far as bad-mouthing, you should have the mediator include a “neither parent shall make disparaging remarks about the other parent in front of the child or allow others to do so” claus in your custody and visitaiton agreement.
There definitely are different styles of attorneys. It’s up to you whether your needs as you see them are being met. In general, I would not suggest getting sucked into a war, but you do need to protect your rights.