Family Law: Interview With Attorney Padideh Jafari

Attorney Jafari joins MNG for a engaging conversation around the stigmas regarding family law, divorce, and child support on the Farewell, Mr. Nice guy Podcast

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MNG: Welcome to Farewell, Mr. nice guy. I’m your host MNG, and today we have a very special guest that has come on to the show, and we’re going to talk about some of the things that are concerning but we don’t really think about. So, I have Attorney Jafari with me here, and she is a divorce attorney, divorce and family attorney, and she has 20 years of experience in family and family law, and that is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that we’re bringing to the table for the audience. So, I want to be able to allow her to give her the correct introduction. Attorney Jafari, with your background, you know, 20 years in law, psychology, and a wealth of accolades that you have. Could you just kind of give us a brief overview? I don’t want to do you any kind of disservice with your background.

Attorney Jafari: Okay, well, thank you for having me on your podcast. So, yes, I’ve been a divorce attorney for over 20 years. I almost can’t believe I’m saying that. I have a psychology background, and that proves to be very important when you’re dealing with families and high conflict, and especially, you know, divorce, which is really one of the worst situations and life events that someone can go through. And I’ve also worked for the District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, particularly with child abuse and molestation of minors. I’ve taught at NYU in their real estate program for a number of years. So, yes, I’m very happy to share my wealth of knowledge with your audience today.

MNG: And we definitely appreciate having you on the show, and I would like to thank you for coming on to the show and having this conversation with us. So, one of the things I want to say is, and if anybody watches my show, know that I have statistics. I like to come to the table with statistics. There’s nothing more perfect than a person coming with facts to have a conversation, and when you’re coming into a debate, you want to have your facts together. So, I have some facts here, and I kind of want to discuss them with you.

So, here are some stats that I researched about divorce. So, the most common reason for divorce, according to Forbes, is that there’s a lack of commitment, which is the cause of 75%, infidelity, which is 60%, and then domestic violence comes in at 24%. So, in your experience, when we’re thinking about those numbers, how many marriages resulted in divorce in regards to these particular stats?

Attorney Jafari: Well, I think you really have the basis covered because I also looked into this in anticipation of our talk today. And really, I mean, lack of commitment is sort of a catchall, right, for a lot of things. And so, when you, if you could remember your marriage vows, which is For Better or For Worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, right? And so, the lack of commitment is the lack of following through with these vows. And, obviously, there are other reasons too that people get divorced, which is, you know, cheating, which is also could be under that lack of commitment, right? Lack of commitment to your particular spouse. Domestic violence, as you mentioned, and then really just sort of growing apart.

We see a huge uptake at our firm with what they call Gray divorces, which is people getting divorced at age 50 and up. So, that’s just, you know, people just grow apart, right? And so, I guess you could put that lack of commitment too under lack of commitment. But, you know, this is sort of what we’re seeing at the firm with the gray divorces. And then, obviously, domestic abuse should be its own category at 24%.

MNG: Now, when we’re thinking about, you know, these marriages and these things you just referred to, like the gray area of marriages, you know, people that are divorcing after 50, and I know in other generations, people were married for years. So now, are we getting into a more superficial stage when it comes to marriage? You know, we’re not getting too in-depth. You’ve been married for 20 years, and you realize, well, maybe we’ve grown apart, maybe the finances are not there, maybe there are a few other things that are occurring that I can no longer deal with, but you’ve been in this situation for 20 years and no longer want to give the energy for it to continue.

So, would that be looking at the situation superficially? I know this can be opinionated, but just from some of the conversations that you’ve heard, especially people that have been married 20-25 years and they’re separating, it sounds like it’s kind of superficial, like you put all this energy in, and now you’re walking away.

Attorney Jafari: I hear what you’re saying, and I think as divorce attorneys, it’s important not to judge, right, why they’re getting divorced because then we would like rack our heads on why are you getting divorced. But I will be honest with you, I have been in court sometimes with my client, and I’ve said to them, “Are you sure that you want to file for a divorce? Like, are you sure you want to go through this?” because I’ll see the other spouse, right, and usually, it’s a type of spouse that’s very agreeable, is like, “I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t want to hurt the children.”

And being a divorce attorney, I mean, we’ve seen it all, right? And so, I’ve told clients before, like, “The grass is not greener on the other side.” Because sometimes when you’ve been married 20-25 years, you’re like, “You know, maybe I should take another shot at this,” right? And I’ve said that to them, and believe it or not, couples have reconciled because I’ve said that to them and said, “You know what? The person you’re divorcing is not a bad person.” So maybe with some counseling, maybe reading some books, maybe take some separation but start to date again because, you know, dating is really fun, okay? Right. And so, they have gotten back together.

So, um, and I don’t know that most divorce attorneys, honestly, would give that type of advice, but I do believe in, like, I tell everyone, I’m a hopeful romantic myself, and I have a great marriage myself. So why not, right? If I could give that or impart that type of wisdom to a client and say, “You know what? Take another look at this,” you know, type of thing. But to your point, it’s, I don’t know if it’s superficial necessarily. I just think that, like our parents’ age, you know, their generation, they had that commitment, whether there was love or money or whatever, whatever they were lacking, it didn’t matter. They had that commitment, and now that commitment seems to not be there.

MNG: You know, I like that response. I like that. And one of the things I like that you said was that, you know, you have a great marriage going on, and you’re imparting that wisdom on other people, people in other relationships and other marriages, and that’s great because that is showing that, you know, I, your leading by example, and you’re able to change these people’s minds based on what you’re seeing and what they’re going through in a courtroom and their relationships. So, before even getting into divorce, what are some proactive activities to avoid some of these pitfalls that are leading into divorce?

Attorney Jafari: Right, so, obviously, having a psychology background, I believe in going to marriage counseling. I believe in individual counseling, which, you know, people don’t emphasize that enough. But when you have people, two people that go into a marriage that have unhealed trauma from their past or their childhood, you’re going to run into problems, right? Because sometimes, people go into marriage thinking the other person is their savior. Well, those just never work.

They just never work because you can’t rely on another imperfect person to be the savior of the marriage, right? And so, over time, that builds resentment. So definitely, the marriage counseling, individual counseling to work out your own issues and your own traumas is important. Really working as a team, I know that’s what my husband and I do. We work as a team, right? So, um, that’s really important. Really, I think not becoming resentful, and that just goes through communication.

Obviously, I have a communications background, so it’s not hard for me to go to my husband or even to my friends and say, “You know, I have a dispute with you. Like, how can we resolve this?” right? But a lot of people, they lack the ability to just communicate, or they, you know, get defensive, and, you know, that never works in a relationship. So, this is what I think marriage takes a lot of compromise, obviously, trust, and communication.

MNG: Now, now, I will agree that communication is one of the biggest things when it comes to the foundation of a relationship. And I actually, now, now I realized that my communication wasn’t the best, okay? And it took me years to understand how communication works and how effective communication is. And not only is communication about speaking, but it’s also about listening and having that active listening engaged in a conversation, especially when you’re talking to your spouse because some things can be said or body language could be shown, and it’s not conveying accurately what you’re trying to interpret or what they’re trying to tell you.

So, you have to kind of interpret the conversation because their communication may not be the best. So sometimes, it requires listening to what they’re trying to say to make sure it’s like, “Okay, they’re saying, they’re trying to tell me this, but maybe I’m not grasping. Let me ask a few more questions.” A good friend of mine had told me that he had to learn this one rule, and he was like, “Well, I have to listen for understanding.” He was like, “Do you listen to understand?” I was like, “Listen to understand? It’s like, no, I don’t listen to understand. Like, why, why am I listening to understand? What is it like, like, we’re communicating.” That’s, he’s like, “No, you got to, you got to take your time, listen to understand before you respond.

You got to take in what they’re saying, comprehend what they’re saying before you before you go ahead and respond to what they said.” Because as you stated, it becomes more defensive, and when we become defensive, you know, we lose the engagement of communication because we now, we get into a back-and-forth, right? And I, oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Attorney Jafari: No, you’re absolutely right. I’m listening. This is, yeah, this is wisdom. This is really true.

MNG: Yeah, yeah. So, it took me a long time to understand that when it comes to communicating, you know, we definitely have to work on ourselves to better communicate. We have to take in the listening part. We have to take in the understanding part. We have to be able to comprehend our partner before we engage in a conversation. And one thing that I like to do is, even in my spare time, you know, I like to go to different seminars that talk about communication, that talk about relationships.

I went to a seminar recently that was talking about communicating within a relationship and how to ask, um, to ask for a, a well, how to make a request versus making a complaint. So, you turn your complaint into a request. So instead of walking to a person and saying or walking to your spouse and telling them, “Hey, can you, you haven’t done the dishes. Why aren’t you doing the dishes? I need you to do the dishes.” Put it in the form of a request, like, “Hey, can you go ahead and do the dishes for me on these particular days because I have XYZ going on?” And this kind of softens the blow of the conversation. This kind of softens the blow of the complaint because now it’s, this is my request. This is the reason why I’m making this request, and then further and go further on. So, I do really think that communication plays a dramatic role when it comes to being able to communicate with your partner.

The other thing I would like to throw in there is trust, and I know a lot of people think trust and loyalty and communication, they’re all separate, but I believe that they’re all the same because if I can communicate with you, then we should have a level of trust that goes along with it. And once trust is broken, then the communication is not there anymore because I can’t no longer trust what you say. They can no longer trust what you’re saying because now there’s no trust, so the communication is gone.

Attorney Jafari: Yes, absolutely. That’s my thought on that. That is my perception of communication, and it’s taken me a long time, just from my own personal experience, it took me a long time to understand that communication is such a big part of a relationship, and without communication, you lose a lot of the other pieces, the other pieces of the relationship.

What I, you know, and part of communication too is knowing when not to speak, right? Like, that’s really important. I feel like even in my own relationship, it’s, you know, if your partner is tired, if they’re grumpy, if they’ve had a hard day at work, like when they walk through the door, not the best time to start communicating, right? And so, knowing sometimes, like, I, I’ve had, you know, long days in court. Like, I’ve been in trial for a couple of days, and I’ll come home, and I’ll say, you know, my husband will say something, and I’ll say, “Can we just table this until tomorrow? Like, I just, I don’t even have the words to communicate or think about this right now.” So, but that, to your point, is part of communication because knowing when to speak and saying, “I just can’t do it today. I have nothing to give to this conversation,” but tomorrow, we will, we will address it, and then really addressing it tomorrow, not just, you know, putting it under the rug, right?

MNG: Right, right. So, absolutely. You know, and then obviously, compromise, you know, that compromise is so vitally important, and it’s just important to be respectful and compromise and know that you’re not going to get your own way. I mean, if you know, for people that are extremely selfish, yes, marriage doesn’t work, right? Because marriage is so much about compromise. And the funny thing about that, the funny thing about you mentioning the compromise, that we actually recently just did a show about settling and compromising, and is compromising subjective? Is settling subjective? Just the whole narrative and idea of what is compromised and what is settling.

And if you’re compromising, if you’re compromising too many of your ideals and morals to be in a relationship, then you’re subjecting yourself to losing your identity or supposedly losing your identity in a relationship. And it’s different for everybody. Some people feel like over-compromise is good in a relationship because they’re making strides, or they’re growing together, and then some people may look at it and say, “No, that’s incorrect,” because if I’m making a compromise, I shouldn’t compromise who I am in order to be in a relationship.

I should be genuine. I should be authentic. I should be able to be myself. And it’s kind of difficult. It’s kind of a thin line, um, of understanding that whether you’re compromising or you’re settling in a relationship because you could be settling for who a person may be versus, you know, compromising on certain aspects in order to have a healthy and growing relationship.

Attorney Jafari: Right, well, I don’t know. Let me jump back to that, to that conversation, that that was a long, long-standing debate that we had on the last show. So, my next question to you is, what are some challenges that husbands and fathers face when going through divorce settings? Now, some of the things that I know is in Michigan, some of the guys that go, some of the fathers and the guys I know that have gone through divorce proceedings, you know, they’ve lost everything. You know, they lost their house, they lost their car, they find themselves, you know, living, living in their friend’s basement, their mom’s basement, their brother’s basement. And I’ve heard all the stories, and it’s as traumatic as it sounds because they were in love, and it didn’t work out for whatever the situation was, and they lost everything. Now, how can they protect themselves, you know, from these challenges?

Attorney Jafari: Right, so, you know, I’m going to say something that, you know, a lot of people would not tell you, okay? But we’re going to be really frank, right, on this podcast. So, there really is a general bias against husbands and fathers in family court. There just is, okay? Okay. And statistically, fathers have to fight for custody and parenting time, whereas most mothers don’t, right? And so, husbands and fathers are less likely to receive alimony and child support. That’s also frowned upon when we hear that. Now, there are celebrity husbands, right, that receive alimony, but that’s different. We’re talking about, you know, people that are not celebrities. And so, and the general public.

And then, like, some states in Florida now have a presumption of 50-50 child custody. So, the laws are changing, but it’s very slow moving, as you know. So, there is sort of this presumption now in certain states. We’re in California, so we don’t have that presumption. But we know that courts want to do 50-50, and that’s what they claim, but whether they do it or not is a different discussion, right? So, now you’re asking, you know, what can be done, right? What can be done for fathers and husbands? And really, as far as child support is concerned, not much, right? Because child support, there’s a statewide child support guideline that courts go by, and that takes into account the both parents’ income and the time share that they have with their child. So, that’s, there’s not much wiggle room there, and it cannot be avoided, right? Because it’s the law.

But alimony payments or sometimes referred to as spousal support, that can be avoided or reduced in a prenup. So, that goes to, you know, you have a prenup that’s signed prior to marriage, and now you’re either limiting the spousal support or alimony, or you are just saying neither party gets alimony once the divorce happens, once the divorce is filed if the divorce is ever filed, right? Prenups are sort of like insurance policies. And, you know, that’s also debatable, right? A lot of people are either for prenups or they’re vehemently against them. So, you have to make a decision with the person that you’re going to marry. Do I want a prenup? Should we have a prenup? Do I have assets, you know, enough assets that I want to protect them? Or is my spouse also going to be working, and so there isn’t a situation where there’s unequal income, so I shouldn’t really worry about doing a prenup? And different states have different laws as to what is a valid prenup. So, you have to be really careful and make sure the state you’re in, you check off all those boxes.

California has one of the most stringent prenup laws. Each party has to, for instance, each party has to have their own attorney. The prenup cannot be signed seven days before the wedding. There are just certain things that, you know, can’t be, you know, there has to be no duress and things like that. So, when we draft prenups, and we do, do them in California, we’re very careful. We have to have them videographed. We have to have a court reporter. We have a notary present. Like, we want to make sure that the prenup is as ironclad as possible because we don’t want later on, and remember, couples can stay together for a long time, and then divorce rears its ugly head. So, like, you know, 10 years, 15, 20, 25 years, you want to make sure that in 25 years, your client isn’t coming back and saying, “Why did I sign this prenup?” or the other part saying, “Now, my spouse is trying to take me to court to, you know, put away the prenup.” So, you have to be really careful. And a lot of attorneys, believe it or not, in California will not draft prenups.

MNG: Really?

Attorney Jafari: Yeah, they don’t want the, it’s a really high legal responsibility to draft them, and, you know, their insurance, their malpractice insurance actually doesn’t cover it. So, a lot of, yeah, so a lot of California lawyers will not draft prenups for that reason.

MNG: That is interesting. I didn’t know that.

Attorney Jafari: Yes.

MNG: Is that only in California, or…

Attorney Jafari: Well, I mean, I can only speak to California law, but some attorneys will review a prenup that has been drafted by someone else, but they won’t actually draft the prenup themselves. I mean, that’s how, you know, attorneys are really careful because, you know, about drafting the prenup. So, I love this idea that, you know, especially on social media, we see, “Oh, you know, just get a prenup, just get a prenup.” It’s not always that easy, and it’s really expensive, right? So, um, make sure you need, you know, you really need a prenup. So, um, it’s not, it’s not that simple to get, at least in California.

MNG: Okay, well, I know that in the event that I decide to get married, I’m definitely getting a prenup. I don’t have too much money to my name, but I’ve heard the horror stories, and I’m like, “You know what? Prenup.” I, I, honestly, but you know, all joking aside, I did see a statistic that basically stated that relationships that had prenups were less likely to end in divorce than those without a prenup.

Attorney Jafari: Yeah, go ahead.

MNG: Yeah, that would make sense.

Attorney Jafari: Sure, yeah. And, and, and I started thinking about it, and I was like, “Man, I was like, it makes, it to me, it’s like, I would definitely would like to have a prenup in place because of whatever, you know, challenges that we may have going down the road.” And the other party does not want to, wants to resolve them. I, I’ll be honest, I don’t believe in divorce. It’s probably why I’m not married now because I, because I don’t believe in divorce because I want to make sure that if I’m going to marry, I’m going to marry for the right reasons. I don’t want to marry just to be, just so I can have somebody or just so, you know, I, I just like this person, and three months, we’re, we’re walking down and get hitched and everything. I don’t want to do that. I, I don’t think that would be fair to myself or, or them.

So, what, I’ve met people that are actually in disagreement with prenups. They believe that prenups, the stigma with prenups is that they feel like that you’re already creating a situation where you believe that the relationship is going to end before it even starts. And I don’t understand, and I’ll be honest, I was the same way. I thought about it like that, and I was like, “You know what? I think, I think if I, if I sign a prenup, then basically I’m telling her that the relationship is going to end, you know, before it even begins, you know, you know, because we sign this prenup, I can leave, and I can leave with all that stuff I want.” I’m like, “You still gotta go through the worst proceeding. That’s sometime it’s quick, sometime it’s, it’s long.” Yes. So, I don’t think prenups are a bad idea. I think everybody should have the conversation of a prenup, especially when you have, um, you have properties, or you have, you know, you have high incomes, or, you know, in any situation that, as you stated, whatever the situation is, make sure that the situation is right for you to have a prenup. Um, I, and I also, I do want to jump back to something that you had stated about, you know, when you’re in a marriage, have that, know, have a counselor.

So, I do believe in having going to, um, going to a counselor prior to getting married, um, and having those conversations and having those dialogues and addressing a lot of, a lot of things that are normally not addressed before you get married, you know, finances, if you, if you’re having a blended family, how you plan on raising the kids, you know, some, some conversations, some people need a, a, a mediator to kind of be in the middle and kind of sort out some of those things. So, but, but yeah, I, I, I do like that. Um, now, when it comes, when it comes to that prenup, and the prenup helps avoid some of the pitfalls so far as alimony, but how much help does it do with child support? Because I know when you go through divorce proceedings, whether you’re, you know, you’re a husband or, um, well, if you’re a husband, you’re going through divorce proceedings, and you’re like, “Well, I’m going to be there for my kids,” and we know that there’s a calculation.

Attorney Jafari: Okay, so I guess one of my questions is, is, is that calculation different from when you’re married versus when you’re just in a relationship?

MNG: No, so the statewide child support guideline is the same, whether it’s a paternity action when you’re not married to, to the, to the parent, um, or when you get a divorce. So, it’s the same, you know, whether you’re just a paternity action or a divorce proceeding. Um, and that, you know, in California, obviously, that child support can’t be included in the prenup. It’s against public policy. And so, yes, even if you had a prenup, you’d have to figure out what the income is to base child support on.

So, um, that does, that doesn’t help you in, in our state. Um, but you know what, I, I really, I think, you know, it’s funny, like, you and I have had a couple of conversations, and you are, you know, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve had your relationship, you have a child, um, you worked in the court system, you are about as educated as it comes to this topic. But I think what you’re doing, and what I’m trying to do as well, is educate the public, right? Because they don’t know, they don’t have our experience. And so, you know, I think the conversation should be had, you know, would you, would you sign a prenup, you know?

It doesn’t mean that I, I, I’m forcing you to, it doesn’t mean mean that if you don’t sign it, I’m not marrying you, but at least let’s have that conversation. And if the person you’re having that conversation with is like vehemently against it, I want to know why, you know? I want to know why, you know? And so, that’s what I, you know, that’s because sometimes people come to us for a prenup, and then they don’t, they don’t end up getting one, right? Either it’s too expensive, or they change their mind, or, but it, at least, you should be able to speak about it, just like you should speak about everything, right? Like, how are we going to raise our children? What are we going to do with the finances? Um, but as far as, you’re right, there is such a stigma on prenups, but I think with the newer generation and the millennials, I think they’re, they’re going to want to have those conversations because they’ve seen their parents get divorced.

MNG: Yes, yes. So, they’re becoming more educated about it. So, um, I think that’s at least a conversation to be had. You’re absolutely right. I do think it’s a conversation to be had before anybody decides to get married because the end result is that everybody should walk away from the situation whole. I don’t think anybody should walk away from the situation. I mean, of course, you’re going to have a broken heart. Of course, you know, you want the relationship to work, but it doesn’t always work that way. But in these situations, I don’t believe that a family that’s broken apart and one part of the family is doing better than the other side of the family, and you hear the horror stories over and over and over again.

And you’re definitely right. We’re in the business of educating the masses because going into the court system, from my experience, not knowing the law, not being able to communicate your ideas and intentions because you’re a nervous wreck because you don’t know what’s going to happen, you know, you’re, it’s almost like being on stage, and you have to perform, and you have to, you know, put out there what your intentions are and what you’re trying to do, but you feel like the laws are against you. And the laws are not against you. They’re designed, they’re designed to protect certain individuals in the situation, mainly the child. And that’s that, and that’s what it’s for.

And I want to kind of speak to a lot of the guys out there that are watching this podcast and let them know that one of the things you have to understand is the court system is a tool, and to utilize it because it’s just a mediator. So, you have to utilize it to your best benefit when you’re going through the proceedings, whether you’re going through a divorce proceeding or you’re going through a family matter for your child. You have to be able to understand the situation that you’re in, and laws are made to up to be upheld in a fair manner. Now, it may not always seem that way, but these laws are in place, and you have to educate yourself as best as possible when it comes to dealing with child support court or you’re going through divorce proceedings. Yes, it’s great to have an attorney, but it’s also to be well educated yourself about that same thing. And it’s not easy.

Um, I could be the one to tell you that it took me three to four years before I actually got custody of my son, and it was a long process. It was not short. I built my case, and you know, I never really publicized the things that I’ve done until now. And now, my son is 17, so we’re talking about, you know, 15, 16 years that I’ve had him in my custody, and the things that he’s doing now is amazing. And I’m very proud of him, and I’m very proud of what I did with him and did for him. Um, I don’t know if he would have had the same opportunities had the decision went the other way, but we, but we’re here now, and you know, I love to tell my story, and I love to make sure that other guys have that same information and can go forward and do the same thing. Like, it’s, it’s so beautiful. Um, yeah, so, but I’m going to get off my soapbox. You know, I’m getting off a soapbox. I’m getting a little passionate over here.

MNG: All right, so, one, one of the other things I want to talk about because we, we talk about divorce, we talk about the prenups, and we talk about all those type of situations, but one of the stats that did stick out to me was domestic abuse. And there are several types of abuse. We have done a podcast about all the different types of abuse that are out there. But I know that, you know, one of the things that you do have that we, we’ve talked about, um, is narcissistic abuse and the traits of it. So, can you just kind of go over the traits of a narcissistic abuse?

Attorney Jafari: Yeah, so, I mean, there are different abuse, obviously. There’s physical, verbal, um, spiritual abuse, you know, through the church. There are financial types of abuse, and then there’s mental abuse. I put narcissistic abuse in the bucket of mental abuse on the innocent child, on the innocent spouse, sorry. And so, a narcissist really lacks empathy, um, by definition. Um, they’re very manipulative. They’re very, um, they gaslight their spouse. Um, they’re extremely selfish. Um, and as you can imagine, this type of spouse, um, is awful to live with, right? Right. Um, and you’ll see, um, if you follow a lot of our social media accounts, which I know that you do, yeah, we just plainly call them evil. Um, and I know some people say, “Well, if they have a mental disorder, um, can they really help being evil?” BEC, and I’m like, “Yes, they can,” because actually, um, it’s been found that people that have narcissistic, um, you know, personality disorder, they know right from wrong. So, they know when to turn it on, and they know when to turn it off.

And so, um, I’m obviously not a therapist myself. I don’t have a PhD. Um, I can’t diagnose someone, obviously, but I can see the signs. And, um, we go out of our way as a law firm to vet our clients because everybody that walks through the doors are not going to be somebody that we represent. I do, you know, a one-hour consultation before I accept the client. Um, if I have questions, I might, you know, extend it another day and do like a two-hour consultation. If they’ve previously had an attorney, I want to see all the paperwork that was filed before we accept the client. We want to make sure that we’re on the right side of the law, and we’re not representing the narcissist because what happens with these people is if they don’t get their way, they will come after their attorneys, right? So, we do a lot of vetting, um, ahead of time. And so, you know, I, I, I sort of get a lot of flack from, um, these, these, these types of, you know, potential clients because they keep saying, like, “Why won’t you accept my case? Why won’t you accept it?” And to be honest, after 21 years of practice, I have to go with my gut feeling, right?

And so, if I feel like you, you, you’re not about fairness and equity, and if you’re trying to keep the child away from the other parent, or you’re talking nonsense, or you’re playing victim in a situation that you created, I can spot that fairly quickly. Um, and so, these people tend to be very charming. So, you know, they do the love bombing in the beginning, and there, you know, they’re just so great in the beginning. They just give you that emotional high, but man, when they are done with you, they are so good at the discard. You know, and that’s like what you were speaking about, you know, some of these fathers that you’ve seen, um, you know, living in the basement, living on people’s couches because they have been taken to the cleaners. I would challenge you to see who their spouse was because, listen, we do mediations. We do collaborative law at our firm, right? Those are not the narcissistic spouses. Those are people that have just decided to separate for whatever reason, yeah, right? And they don’t want, they, they actually care about the other parent. They actually care about their spouse. They’re just saying, like, “This isn’t right for me anymore.” So, um, you have to be really, really careful, even for us, to not accept these types of clients.

And I have this one video that I did for social media where I say, “Make sure you date someone at least four seasons before you marry them,” which is one year, right? And actually, what I wanted to say was, “Make sure you date someone for at least three to five years before you marry them.” And then I remember, I was like, “People, no one’s going to listen to this advice,” you know? They’re just, people don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to hear that. They want to hear like, you know, that it’s like, you know, the hopeless romantic, right? Yes, that’s, that’s what gets people’s, like, um, happy, happy hormones going. Go, go ahead. I just reduced it to four seasons, but, um, really, you have to get to know the person.

And, and your point was great. You said, “Go to a therapist with your partner before you even get married.” Like, that is, yes. I mean, imagine how many people would just walk away and say, “You know what? I didn’t know you had these five hidden issues, but for this, um, this therapy session or a couple therapy sessions.” So, um, it’s, it’s difficult, you know? It’s difficult. And then the one thing that most people don’t talk about, and I just want to make sure that we talk about it, um, here, is that these narcissists usually will get narcissistic attorneys. And so, yes, I just saw your eyes get really big.

So, what happens is, I tell my clients, “You’re fighting the narcissist, right, in family court and divorce court. I’m fighting the attorney who’s also narcissistic or has narcissistic traits.” So, it’s like, we’re both battling, but different people. They’re on their side, and we’re on our side. So, it becomes, like you said, it takes months and months and sometimes years, obviously, to, to get the, the, the divorce done, and, um, you know, finally have the paperwork signed and get the people divorced. Because as you know, narcissists, they won’t sign anything you put in front of them. They don’t agree. They’ll go to mediation only to waste your time and use that as a stall tactic. And these types of divorces take two, three, five, and nine years. The longest I’ve seen is 12 years.

MNG: What?

Attorney Jafari: For a divorce, yes. 12 years. And multiple attorneys, right? Because, like, multiple attorneys because as soon as a narcissist doesn’t like what they hear, they’re on to the next attorney, and then they’re on to the next. So, we have a case currently where they were married six months, and, uh, their divorce has taken two years, and he’s had seven attorneys.

MNG: Geez.

Attorney Jafari: And so, you know, it’s, it’s sort of like, yeah, my clients and I, you know, are just, we go to court, we just kind of, like, shake our head, like, “There they are again.”

MNG: That is unbelievable. Two years, seven attorneys, a six-month marriage?

Attorney Jafari: Yes.

MNG: Wow. See, I don’t want to go through that. I don’t want to go through that. Well, and I kind of want to jump back to something that you said because I used to have this timeframe that, you know, I would date a woman for a year and a half and then do like a year, year and a half engagement. So, then that puts us, like, at right at three years of getting married. So, you know, you have a year and a half of planning and stuff like that, and you, you still get to know, you still get to build, then you can do the counseling during that time as well. So, your three to five years actually makes sense. You know, for those that are getting married a year, after a year, you know, within that two-year timeframe, how much, how much of that person do you actually know? You, you haven’t seen them in four seasons, is correct, because people change throughout the year, you know? They may depend on what they’re going through, what they’re going through on their job, and you haven’t even lived with the person yet.

So, just imagine now, your seven days with this individual, 24/7, and now you’re seeing aspects of them that you are not aware of. Maybe it’s a hygiene thing, you know? Maybe it’s eating habits, you know? Maybe it’s temperamental type of things, you know, attitude, or however, whatever the case is. Now, you’re, you’re, you’re starting to lean more into it. So, I definitely believe that you have to take more time to understand somebody and then kind of do, and then marry them within an appropriate timeframe. I know a lot of people don’t want to wait five years to get married. I know you don’t want to wait, like, “Oh, I want to, I want to get it now. I want to get it while I’m, I’m in that high,” you know, that, that romancing high. Uh, and it’s, it’s funny because I was talking to my sister, this a little bit, this a little bit off, but it’s kind of the same thing. I was talking to my sister, and she was telling me about the new relationship that she was in, and she was talking about how, how the highlight, how the high of it was, and, and I was like, “Okay,” and I’m like, “90 days. Wait 90 days. After 90 days, you’re going to see what this person is all about.” And just give yourself, right now, go along with it, but don’t make any kind of drastic decisions or anything, like, you’re just going through the high right now, and you don’t, you really don’t understand what this person is bringing to the table within the first year. You don’t. And that’s for both sides, for men and women.

You don’t understand what is actually occurring in your circle, you know? Once you, especially if you’re dealing with a blended family, or they’re meeting your family, you’re meeting their family, you know, those type of dynamics go hand in hand. Like, I don’t, I can’t really speak for anybody, but I just know that when it comes to family and friends, you don’t want to lose family and friends over a relationship or trying to make a relationship work because once it falls apart, then you kind of going back to your family, friends, like, “Yeah, that person wasn’t the right one for me. Y’all try to tell me,” and here I am again. So, you definitely want to be mindful of giving your relationship time to grow, you know? Plant those roots, let it grow, let it, let it blossom like it’s supposed to, like, naturally, organically.

There’s no need to rush into an activity or to a marriage, and you end up losing time, opportunity, and, and maybe opportunity for the right one to come in because you’re trying to build and grow with somebody that doesn’t necessarily want to build and grow with you. They want to take, or it’s just not a compatible fit. It’s not that I don’t want to build and grow with you. It just could be an incompatible fit as well. So, um, so when you’re, when we’re talking about these narcissistic behaviors and their narcissistic attorneys and everything, when it comes to dealing with these type of behaviors, what is, what is the major effect that it has on a relationship? Because this person operates without empathy. They gaslight. They do all these different activities, whether it’s to make them feel good or make them feel in control, is what, you know, what I’m thinking. Um, it is, but when, when people are in these relationships, you know, how can they, they deal with a person that has these type of behaviors?

Attorney Jafari: Well, you know, how I said in the beginning, I’m a hopeful romantic, um, but when you’re in these types of narcissistic, unhealthy, toxic, abusive relationships and marriages, you need to get out. I mean, you just need to get out, right? These types of relationships will not go the distance. They just will not go the distance. And so, you have to make sure that you get out of those relationships. Now, you might need time to prepare to get out. Um, we know, um, we have clients where, you know, it’s taken them years just to prepare to get out. And so, we’ll do like pre-divorce consultations with them, what they need to be doing in preparation for their escape. I call it an escape because you don’t actually leave a narcissist. You have to escape them. Um, you’re sort of like a prisoner, right?

So, um, you get out of those relationships, get out of those marriages, um, because you’re going to have to at some point, right? Um, and then if you’re divorcing them and you’re in the middle of a divorce, you want to make sure that you’re documenting everything. Take videos, take pictures, um, keep a detailed journal of, you know, with your, with your child, like, when they pick up your child, when they drop them off, make sure everything is journaled. Um, you want to make sure to get on a parenting app, which I believe every state has. Um, our state has Talking Parents or Our Family Wizard, um, to make sure that all communication between you and the other spouse and your, and your co-parent, your spouse, um, is on that app. Um, and then the judge can obviously read that. You can print that out, present it, present it as evidence. It’s better than text messaging. Um, courts love these apps, by the way. And then the one thing that we tell our clients is you need to keep your side of the street clean, especially, especially when you’re divorcing a narcissist, because anything that you do, um, they will put a big spotlight on it and a magnifying glass on it.

So, you have to make sure to keep your side of the street clean, um, because, you know, you’re dealing with, sort of, you know, a mentally ill person on the other end of the table. So, they’re going to lie about you anyway, but let’s not give them reason to lie. And then, you know, now we have to prove, you know, that you’re actually the innocent one. Like, no, we want to make sure to keep your side of the street clean. Do not retaliate. I just say, “Stay away from them. Let me, let me be, you know, like you trusted me to be your attorney. Let me do all that. Let me take the shots from their attorney. You just keep your side of the street clean, you know, spend as much time with your child, document, journal.” It’s really, vitally important because later on, that’ll become evidence for, for the court of law.

MNG: Now, that is, now that is some good advice. I didn’t know that each state has a parenting app that you can utilize, so you can document because I know I’ve seen a lot of people use text messages in their court cases and not just on family domestic but also in civil cases to try to drive their point across, or they’ll use emails and say, “These are the correspondences that was going back and forth,” to try to justify whether it was a breach of contract or something that wasn’t fixed, you know, um, in any situation, real estate, how to, case, say they try to use these text messages or pictures of text messages in order to try to verify. But my question always with that was, is how can you verify something if somebody on the other side has to verify that it’s their phone number? They can easily say, “No, that’s not my number,” right?

So, what, what we suggest is, take their name out, and then just reveal what the number is. And then once they’re on the stand, you can ask them, “Is this your number?” You know, and because a lot of people will put their name, and so, you know, they’ll put, like, “Dad,” or, you know, “Co-parent,” or whatever, right? Or something derogatory, but just put the, you know, take the name out, and then that way, they’ll see just the number, and then you can ask them, “Is this your number?” And if they lie, then obviously, you go get the phone records, you know? You go, all that, that route too, you know, the phone records. But, um, so, that’s just a, you know, just, you know, a couple of things that we tell our clients, especially with high-conflict clients. You want to make sure that you document. The most important thing that your audience, um, should, should hear today is to document as much as possible in a high-conflict, um, either parenting, um, case, or, uh, divorce case.

MNG: And that is absolutely correct. My thing with even, for my child support case that I had to go through, it was consistent documentation. It was consistent conversations, you know, writing down the schedule when she picked them up, when she dropped him off, if she canceled this weekend, was she following the parenting order? Um, even before my son got into my custody, you know, there was a lot of things that was happening up into the courthouse until the court date. And, and I’ll be, and I’ll be quite honest with you, like, some, it’s not the court system that some people are going up against.

Sometime, it is the ideal of the judge you’re going in front of and how they interpret the law. And, and that’s why I try to, and that’s why, and that’s what’s most essential that people understand is the court is a tool, but the interpretation of the law comes from the person that’s sitting on the bench. And what you bring to the table is not always is going to hold as much weight as you think it will. So, I tell, so, so one of the things I like to tell my audience is, when you’re building a case, you got to do it just like officers going to build a criminal case. They’re going to ask all the questions. They’re going to get all the documents in order. So, when they go and file for a warrant, it’s all right there. There’s, there’s no question. It’s beyond a reasonable doubt, and they’re going to get their person, man, woman, and different. They’re going to get their person because they have compiled enough evidence to send this person away for the crime that occurred.

And I think that’s how we should all approach our cases, is that we need to build evidence, whether it is to support why we’re trying to take custody of our child, support why we need to leave a relationship, support why there’s a certain level of abuse, just anything. Anything when it comes to the court system, you definitely want to be able to build a case to allow yourself, whatever, to allow yourself to have a reasonable doubt, without a reasonable doubt, to, to justify why you need to do whatever you need to do. Um, that, that is a great point that you made there.

Attorney Jafari: Yeah, really early on in my career, I remember I was, um, in judge’s chambers, that’s kind of like their office, and so I was discussing a case with the judge, um, and opposing counsel was there too. And I remember the judge said this. He said, “Documents,” um, he said, “People lie, documents don’t lie. So, bring me the documentation for what you’re saying.” And so, from there, and I was a really brand new attorney, um, you know, I think in my 20s, my late 20s, right? And I always just remembered that. That this is how a judge think. And exactly what you’re saying, that’s why document everything, okay? Because if you have the documentation and they don’t, guess what? That’s better for your case.

And so, um, document everything. It’s vitally important. Journal, take pictures of your child, you know? If there’s allegations of abuse, take pictures of your child. Video, video your child, you know? Make sure your child doesn’t have bruises, you know, when they, when, when you, you know, take the child to the other, um, co-parent, or we say parallel parent, in high conflict cases. Make sure the child doesn’t have bruises. Like, you might want to do all of that, right? Initially. So, it’s vitally important to document, again. And, and I’m so glad that you were successful in your, you know, in your custody case. But I know, came with blood, sweat, and tears. And, and it does sometimes. It does sometimes.

MNG: Yeah, it, it really does. Um, I, I can’t describe the feeling or the emotions from that time. Um, is indescribable, you know? It’s not what I did wasn’t a win for me. You know, it was a win for my son. And one of the things I always tell people when they say, “Well, go put her on child support,” it’s not about just putting her on child support. It’s about doing what’s in the best interest of the child. And that doesn’t mean crippling her income so she can’t be an effective parent. That’s unfair. I have no control of her being in his life. I have no control of the financial capabilities or, or abilities that she has, whether she goes off and be financially, um, financially stable and grow. That’s great. Is it going to come back to my son? I don’t know. So, but, um, but that is definitely another story for, for another time. Attorney Jafari, I would like to thank you, um, with deep appreciation for coming on to the show and having this conversation. Um, I know my audience is going to love it. Um, is there anything else you would like to say before, uh, we log out of here?

Attorney Jafari: Um, just, just to keep fighting. I mean, I think, um, you know, whether you’re a mother or a father, just to keep fighting, um, for the best interest of your child, just like you said. It’s not going to be easy. Um, every case is different. Um, sometimes you have a great mediated case, right? Where both people are taking the child into consideration, but just keep fighting. I, I know, um, there’s some father’s groups that are like, they’ve given up. They’ve given up hope. And that’s those are the ones that really just tug at my heartstrings because I’m like, “You’ve got to fight.” Um, and even more so in those cases, you know?

And so, your child, when they grow up, they will know who the problem parent is. I promise you that. They will know who the problem parent is. And so, you just need to be there and, and do what’s in the best interest of your child. You’re the parent. So, um, if there’s anything I can do, you know, we’re going to put our website, um, on this, and our social media. If there’s anything that I can do, um, definitely reach out to us. We’re more than happy to help your audience and your listeners. And, um, thank you for having me. This was a wonderful discussion. You know, we could talk hours, you and I. Um, but maybe we’ll do this again.

MNG: Oh, definitely. Definitely, definitely. Well, this is Farewell Mr. Nice Guy. I’m your host, MNG. Our special guest, Attorney Jafari. I will see you on the next recording. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share the video. Take care.

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