I am @ParkerLawyer, a divorce lawyer most recently known for my experience in Parrot Custody arrangements! Ask Me Anything!
My name is Lady Lawya, I'm a divorce lawyer, and someone made it to the front page of /r/law yesterday when they "borrowed" my tweet. Ask me anything about what it's really like to handle a divorce case involving pet custody.
Who hurt you?
Would you go toe-to-toe in bird law against Charlie from It's Always Sunny?
"I know a lot about the law and other lawyerings" but I would give Charlie the lead on that one. However, clearly the expert in bird law in Philadelphia is @madler9000
Would you like to do a TV show about pet custody battles? Kind of Judge Judy meets The Planet's Funniest Animals.
What is the funniest thing a client has asked you?
I've had a client ask me out on a date. BEFORE HIS DIVORCE WAS FINAL. I declined.
Ever dated a client post-proceedings?
No. I have never dated a client.
So you think Twitter needs to do more to protect its content creators? Even something as simple as flagging a tweet and being able to link the original tweet would help.
I think Twitter should consider a report button that indicates a stolen tweet. As it stands now, there isn't an option for that. It would be an easy add for Twitter, and also an easy verification for them.
I despise jelly beans.
What motivated you to become a lawyer?
I lost my job while I was pregnant with my first child. I knew in my heart it was discrimination and illegal, but I couldn't prove it. I went to an attorney and they told me "you just don't understand how the law works." So I went home and signed up for the LSAT and the rest was history.
Did you take your former employer to court once you became a lawyer?
No. But ironically, ten years later, a woman came to me regarding a pregnancy discrimination case. It was against my former employer. It was one of the best days of my life. And that is all I will say about that.
Awesome, I'm glad justice was served!
It was. And I am a true believer in "what comes around goes around."
That's really inspiring.
Thank you. It was a very difficult time in my life. I lost my job and had just bought a house. I had to move into my parent's basement (with my newborn and husband) and rent my new home because I couldn't afford the mortgage after losing my job. That motivated me in ways I didn't know were possible.
What was the craziest divorce case you've handled?
I've had so many cases where people burn each other's belongings. That is always disturbing to me. I always thought that happened only in movies, but actually it happens a lot... in the South.
Wow. How could you think that's a good idea??
I don't think people are actually looking for a good idea in those moments.
Ok let's say me and my hypothetical wife have two cats. One is epileptic which requires twice daily medication and one just has a sinus infection so it's always sneezing and leaving boogers everywhere. Seizey was mine before we got married, Sneezy was her brother's until we decided to care for her because he was terrible at it.
We both want custody of both cats and want the other to pay for half Seizey's medication every month.
How would you handle this case? If you have questions and want me to expand on the scenario I can.
You are not going to believe this. I've had a case similar to this regarding pet medications. The payment of medication can be spelled out in an agreement. However, custody of the pets per se, is going to be more difficult since the pets are viewed as property. A judge could order that you share that property, but it is unlikely that a true visitation schedule would be implemented. Depends on the judge and the jurisdiction.
You are welcome!
Semi off topic questions..
How often do you actually go to court?
Are most of your cases settled before court?
The ones that have gone to court, was there a common reason between those ones as to why they couldn't settle pretrial?
I am in court an average of three days a week. It depends on the court docket, there are many weeks where I am there five days a week. Also there are weeks where I may not be in court at all.
The system is geared to force parties into settling. And that is a good thing. In my jurisdiction, all divorce cases are ordered to mediation prior to being set for trial. I would say that 75% at least, settle at mediation.
Some cases, when the parties are standing in their corners and refuse to come out, won't settle. Most of the time, when one party is caught in a compromising situation, i.e. adultery, the other party refuses or simply can't get past it, to settle.
Does parrot custody fall under bird law?
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, isn't it?
Well, there's been a dark cloud hanging over this one guy's head the past two days, so...
True, true. I hope for his sake that his story about the Parrot case is true.
What's your impression of all the fun social media going on?
What kind of parrot was it that was able to pick up phrases so easily? Was there actually a phrase it had learned that kicked off a large fight and if so what was it?
The social media circus has been overwhelming but mostly positive. People take plagiarism very seriously. I have had so many encouraging comments from so many. I feel bad for the trolling that has happened to him. The Parrot in question was not a Parrot at all. It was a case about a dog. But dogs can't talk. So I changed it to a Parrot because I thought that was funnier. Apparently for the guy that stole my tweet, it was hilarious.
As a lawyer that owns two parrots I thought it was hilarious.
When I was taking the California Bar my African Grey picked up "god damn it GOD DAMN IT" in my voice.
That is amazing.
Is this the strangest case you've ever handled or is there something even more odd?
Let me please be clear, there was NO parrot case. (at least not for me) That tweet was just that, a TWEET. It was inspired by an actual case involving a dog. I had two dog custody cases back to back and I was struck by how I specialize in child custody, but lately I've seen more pets involved. People are fiercely emotional about their pets. I was thinking of a tweet about how I went to law school for this, and I remembered back in 2003 when I was a law clerk and parties were arguing over a parrot. Then I realized a parrot is funnier than a dog because they can talk. Voila the tweet was born.
But now doesn't everyone think you worked on a parrot case?
They do. And I have to remind people that a lot of my tweets are just tweets. But everyone has been nice about it. I just tell them the truth and move on.
Do you have any memorable child custody cases that you would like to share with us?
All child custody cases are memorable, because for the most part, they are gut wrenching. But the most memorable are the ones who lost custody of the child(ren) in previous cases and I was able to facilitate the parent regaining custody.
What makes them especially gut wrenching?
The children go from two parents in one house to two parents in two houses and schedules and vindictive parents who want to pollute their head about the other parent, they often get used as pawns... I could go on...But mostly it's that.
How bad is it when people throw down over the pets in a divorce? Is that often a sticking point?
Interesting question. People with children and pets often will come to an agreement about the children before they do the pet. It is almost like a power play. And yes, it can be that "one" thing that the party refuses to budge over. In a way, the pet becomes a way to directly hurt the other party.
Did the guy ever respond to the you or anyone that was tweeting at him about the theft?
Not to me. He responded to the BBC and to the Billypenn.com and said the tweet was not stolen. It was his original thought. "Allegedly"
Isn't family law the worst?
I don't see it that way. In my opinion, I think real estate is the worst. I like excitement.
Do you ever suggest people try to work it out and stay together? Or have you seen people stop the divorce process and get back together?
All the time. At least once a month, one of my divorces reconciles. And here's the thing about that: I don't sell divorce. I want my clients to be happy. And if reconciliation is what makes them happy, then I have done my job.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job for you personally?
What is the most rewarding?
The hardest thing about my job is leaving it at work. And frankly, I do most of my "paperwork" at home after my kids are in bed. So it is literally at home with me all the time. But I have a very supportive family. My husband is also a lawyer and we have a blended family with seven kids. It's a zoo most of the time so the hardest part of my day job is not letting it permeate over into the night.
The most rewarding part is when my client's are able to get the closure they need to move on with their life.
Ever watched Drop Dead Diva? That's all I can think of reading this.
I haven't seen that show. Do they handle crazy legal cases?
Drop Dead Diva is an American legal comedy-drama/fantasy television series that aired on Lifetime from July 12, 2009, to June 22, 2014. The series was created by Josh Berman and produced by Sony Pictures Television. It stars Brooke Elliott as Jane, a plus-sized lawyer whose body is inhabited by the soul of a fashion model.
The cases are all fake, I think, but there's one where a husband demands the kidney he donated to his wife back as part of a divorce settlement, which this made me kind of think of.
That is so funny! (And sounds about right!)
How did you start out on Twitter?
I opened my account back in 2012 I believe. Not sure exactly. But I wasn't active on twitter until 2013. I tweet about my Husband snoring a lot.
Say one of the divorcees teaches the parrot a bad phrase about the other. How would that play out in court and would you please make this happen?
LOL. That tweet was just a TWEET. It wasn't real life. See above for the explanation. But this would not be enforceable by the court in my opinion, however, I would LOVE to try.
Is the pet considered property or a being with needs? and if so, how do they figure out who can best meet those needs after defining somehow what the needs specifically are ?
In my jurisdiction, pets are considered property. And a Judge can use his or her equitable powers to make whatever decision they choose.
Judges have too much power. Who polices the judges ?
The voters. Judges are elected in my jurisdiction.
What's the most absurd demand you've had to try and help one of your clients win?
I had a client who wanted breast augmentation. She got it. He paid for it.
Do you hate reinventing the wheel as much as I do? Because I would have said: "Each owner shall encourage the parrot to love, respect, and obey the other owner. Neither parent shall call the other owner names or make derogatory comments about the other owner in the presence of the parrot."
I think every case is different, but it can feel redundant. But even in its redundancy, I love what I do.
Do the people treat their pets like real children in the case?
Sadly, sometimes better than the children.
I've received hours of joy from this over the past two days.
What do you think Bear Bryant would say about this fiasco?
"I aint never been nothin' but a winner."
You should really call an attorney in your area and get proper consultation in a forum different from this one.
So was it treated like a child where one party has the bird some time and the other party has visitation or something?
The parrot tweet was just a tweet. But parties do often come to their own agreements regarding visitation of pets.
Did this experience changed the way you feel about Twitter?
It has. I have found friends I didn't know existed, and people willing to stand up for me no matter what. It has been a very good experience for the most part. There have been the occasional trolls, but just as soon as they posted, someone came to my defense. It has made me realize this community is even bigger than I thought.
According to you which law is "the" worst?
I think all lawyers find their own niche. To me, I couldn't imagine doing something like real estate law. But to a real estate attorney, family law is probably the worst. To each his own.
I hope you don't blame me. Blame the IRS for the generation skipping tax.
If you were standing face to face with the guy who stole your tweet, what would you say to him?
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